Academy of Music History


Since opening, the Academy has seen a number of historical events and legendary performers in its time. Including a speech on women’s suffrage by Susan B. Anthony and performances from such figures as Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Pavarotti, Pavlova, Piaf, and Mahler. In modern times, the venue hosts a range of performances, from classic orchestral shows to rock concerts. Hundreds of thousands of Philadelphians and visitors attend annually.


Construction began on the Philadelphia Academy of Music in 1855. The architect Napoleon LeBrun was tasked with building the musical theater, taking inspiration from other classical venues in New York City, London, and, in particular, La Scala Opera House in Milan. The work took two years.


First inaugural ball held in January 1857. The first opera took place at the Academy in February 1857.


President Ulysses S. Grant’s second term nomination in 1872


During the 1895 baseball season, the Academy even hosted a scoreboard that informed visitors of the Philadelphia Phillies’ road games.


The first public performance of The Stars and Stripes Forever in 1897


Due to its extensive history, the Academy of Music was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962.