As designed by Samuel Hannaford, the Rose Window is a dominant element of the east facade of Music Hall. It is referenced and used to represent Music Hall almost as often as the structure itself.
It is a large, circular wood traceried window (tracery is the bars or elements used decoratively in windows), and constructed of iron, weighs 15,000 pounds and can withstand strong winds.
The rose-window design originated in the Romanesque period but are best known as symbols of Gothic architecture, often used in churches throughout Europe and featuring stained glass. The window is a symbol of Music Hall. However, it is a common feature in structures worldwide. In Cincinnati, these include the Church of Immaculate Conception in Mt. Adams, Old St. George on Calhoun, and Grace Church in Avondale.
SPMH arranged for new lighting to be installed behind the Rose Window in 2000. Jay Depenbrock, who was the Cincinnati Opera's resident set and lighting designer, donated his time and talents to the effort and Music Hall staff performed the work, installing light that bounces off a reflector to produce a softer effect.
Seen today, Music Hall's rose window in 2017, after the black-brick pattern and the rose window's original grey color had been restored during the structure's renovation.
SPMH features architectural tours from May through October, which tell the story behind Music Hall—the people, the architectural style as a whole and as seen in details visible on the east and west sides of the building. Find out more about SPMH Tours.
For everyone who delights in Music Hall's rose window, the design has been used in a number of media, including glass, metal and wood ornaments, nightlights, coasters, dishes - even a tattoo.