Milwaukee Symphony unveils name of new home

$128 million raised for the Warner Grand Theater project

The former Warner Grand Theatre is being redeveloped into the Bradley Symphony Center. (Rendering: Kahler Slater)

Last updated on February 17th, 2020 at 11:07 am

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s new downtown home will bear the name of late Allen-Bradley co-founder Harry Bradley and Peg Bradley, the organization unveiled Thursday.

The Warner Grand Theater, a 90-year-old theater that’s being redeveloped into a concert hall and offices for the orchestra, will be re-named the Bradley Symphony Center in honor of the Bradley family, which gave a combined $52 million to the MSO’s $139 million project.

The gifts came from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, David and Julia Uihlein, and Lynde Uihlein. David and Lynde are the grandchildren of Harry and Peg Bradley, and the children of philanthropist Jane Bradley Pettit. The Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation also made a significant gift to the project, MSO said.

“The Bradley/Uihlein family and The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation have generously supported the MSO for decades,” said Mark Niehaus, president and executive director of the MSO. “Over those many years, they have been both tireless advocates and critical partners, pushing our leaders and our board to think and act strategically to ensure the MSO’s future and its lasting impact on Milwaukee. We are honored to name the MSO’s new performance home after the Bradley family, whose tremendous impact on the MSO and Milwaukee is immeasurable.”

The new symphony center’s 1,650-seat concert hall will also be named Allen-Bradley Hall, in honor of those who built the Allen-Bradley Company. Allen-Bradley was founded in 1903 by Lynde and Harry Bradley and sold to Rockwell International (predecessor company to Rockwell Automation) in 1985.

“The MSO and its exceptional musicians represent the very best of the values Harry and Peg held so dear – hard work, determination, and giving of one’s gifts to others,” David Uihlein said. “My grandparents believed deeply in the importance of a robust civil society and the critical role cultural institutions like the MSO have in building vibrant communities. As generations pass from one to the next, we must continue to nurture these institutions as they connect us to the past and inspire us to imagine the future.”

David and Julia Uihlein have led the donor-supported campaign to renovate the Warner Grand Theater, which has raised more than $128 million to date. The project has involved restoring the theater, lobby and concourses, along with the building’s 12-story Art Deco office tower.

The office building will house MSO’s administration and community education offices, as well as catering facilities, multipurpose studios and a musicians’ library.

The center is scheduled to open in the fall.

The campaign also will expand the MSO’s endowment to support future operations and eliminate the liability associated with the MSO’s previous pension plan.

The MSO currently performs in Uihlein Hall at the Marcus Performing Arts Center in downtown Milwaukee, and has its administrative office at 1101 N. Market St.

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.