The Northrop Memorial Auditorium located on the
campus of the University of Minnesota is one of
the finest on-campus auditoriums in the nation.
It is now the state's largest theater and the
largest college campus auditorium in the country.
The building was constructed in 1928 on top of
a former College of Pharmacy medicinal herb garden.
The grand looking gathering place has beautiful
white majestic pillars that are now one of the
University of Minnesota's major icons and focal
The auditorium was named in honor of Cyrus Northrop,
the second president of the University (1884-1911).
The Northrop was designed by Clarence H. Johnston,
a famous local architect. Donations by University
students, faculty/staff, alumni and friends funded
the $1.35 million construction. The auditorium
was built to be used as the University's central
ceremonial site with commencements, lectures,
convocations, and performances. The Northrop was
built with 4,800 seats, this capacity allowing
the entire student body of that day to be assembled
under one roof.
Referred to as "the Carnegie Hall of the Midwest,"
the facility was dedicated on October 22, 1929 with
three concerts marking the historic occasion: the
Minneapolis Symphony conducted by Henri Verbrugghen,
the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Serge
Koussevetzky, and a performance by representatives
of the Alumni and the State of Minnesota.
The early years revolved around the University Artists
Course, which featured a wealth of classical music
by such noted artists as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Igor
Stravinsky, Vladimir Horowitz, and Marian Anderson.
From 1930-73, Northrop Auditorium was home to the
Minneapolis Symphony (subsequently renamed the Minnesota
Orchestra), until it moved to Orchestra Hall.
The Northrop is also proud to offer the finest in
professional Dance and Jazz events. On January 12,
1932, modern dance pioneer Mary Wigman gave the
first dance performance at Northrop Auditorium.
The Northrop Dance Season began in 1970 with a commitment
to become one of the country's premier presenters
of national and international ballet, contemporary,
and cultural dance companies.
The Northrop Jazz Season was launched
in 1993, offering concert hall performances as
a complement to the lively Twin Cities club jazz
scene. In its first decade, the series has featured
such acclaimed artists as Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson,
and James Carter, Herbie Hancock, Buena Vista
Social Club and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band.
Outside promoters bring an illustrious
array of performers to the Northrop stage, headliners
who have included Bette Midler, James Taylor,
Aretha Franklin, Robin Williams, Bonnie Raitt,
Sheryl Crow, Clint Black, Bruce Springsteen, Barenaked
Ladies and Nora Jones.
The Northrop Auditorium is a classy
intimate venue to see a good show. It’s
limited number of seats, make tickets to music
headliners a much sought after commodity.