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Ambassador Auditorium is located on the historic Ambassador College campus (the Ambassador Auditorium is owned by HRock Church continues as a special events venue and as home to many of Pasadena's symphonies) in Pasadena, California, United States. Its architectural design has been noted to be somewhat similar to that of the Temple of ancient Israel. The auditorium's main hall has a capacity of 1262.
Called by some concertgoers "The Carnegie Hall of the West", this relatively small yet beautiful concert hall hosted 20 seasons of the worlds' best musicians and performers from 1974 to 1995. It was built under the guidance of Herbert W. Armstrong as both a facility to be used by the Worldwide Church of God for church services, college functions for the then adjacent Ambassador College, and as a concert hall for public performances celebrating the performing arts. It is estimated that 2.5 million attendees heard and saw over 2,500 concerts at Ambassador Auditorium by Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, Claudio Arrau, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Horacio Gutierrez, Alicia de Larrocha, Arthur Rubinstein, Andrés Segovia, Yo-Yo Ma, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Junior, Frank Sinatra, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan (including for their last visit together to the U.S. in 1982 - Mahler Symphony No. 9 on one program) and many others during this period. With regard to classical music, the intimate feel of the venue was especially well suited to small ensembles, and soloists such as guitarists Julian Bream and John Williams.
At the time of its construction the building was furnished with Iranian onyx, African teak, wool carpet from India, and splendid gold overlay. It seats 1262. On January 26, 1996, National Public Radio staged a battle of the bands between the contending cities in Super Bowl 30. Pittsburgh's River City Brass Band played Semper Fidelis by John Philip Sousa and the Battle Royal March by Fred Jewell in concert at Ambassador Auditorium, followed by a performance from Dallas at the Meyerson Symphony Hall.
After 2,500 concerts and recitals, the Worldwide Church of God (WCG), which operated the college and auditorium, ceased operation of both in the 1990s and sold the property. Under Joseph W. Tkach Sr., they shut down the famous performing arts series in 1995, saying they could not afford to subsidize the program and that it had nothing to do with the mission of the church. The WCG later relocated its operations to nearby Glendora.
On May 14, 2004 the church announced the sale of approximately 13 acres (53,000 m²) of its former 31-acre (125,000 m²) campus to Harvest Rock Church and Maranatha High School. The sale included the Ambassador Auditorium, now under the sole ownership of HRock Church of Pasadena, CA. HRock Church (HRC) is a Charismatic church founded in 1994 under senior pastor Che Ahn. Since the acquisition of Ambassador Auditorium HRC has re-opened the venue to the public and hosts many regional ensembles including the Colburn Orchestra and the Pasadena Symphony. HRock Church's services, conferences and special events are also held at the Auditorium along with Maranatha's.
From 2010-2016, the Ambassador Auditorium surroundings underwent massive change as the original Ambassador College campus was parcelled up and sold to developers who tore down most other structures on the campus including the Fine Arts Center, Hall of Administration, library, and so on in favor of apartment and condominium structures.
- Facebook Group about Ambassador Auditorium
- Pasadena Symphony and POPS
- HRock Church
- Ambassador Auditorium Collection (ARS.0043), Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound
- The Doug Russell Collection of Ambassador Recitals (ARS.0054), Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound