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Banks Music Venue To Bear Name Of Late Music Teacher

The Andrew J. Brady ICON Music Center will be built along Elm Street, near Mehring Way.
The Andrew J. Brady ICON Music Center will be built along Elm Street, near Mehring Way.

The music venue to be built at The Banks will be named for a local musician and music teacher. The Andrew J. Brady ICON Music Center will have stages both indoors and outdoors and is scheduled to open in fall 2020.

Cincinnati Symphony President Jonathan Martin says after Andrew Brady graduated from the Conservatory of Music in 1938, he taught at Rothenberg Elementary and Western Hills High School and performed around the area. He also was a regular at the Beverly Hills Supper Club.

"He was dedicated to the idea that music should be part of everyone's life. To that end, Andy voluntarily gave adults lessons to those who had never played an instrument."

Martin made the announcement at a Wednesday morning press conference at Paul Brown Stadium.

Martin says in their later years, Brady and his wife Frances lived at what is now known as the Twin Towers Senior Living Community. Brady often played piano in a common area at the facility. Martin says Brady's mantra was "Music should be a part of everyones life." He died in 2004, a week after turning 89.

Andrew J. Brady was music director at Western Hills High School for 32 years.
Credit Courtesy of / MEMI
Andrew J. Brady was music director at Western Hills High School for 32 years.

"We are proud that this great Cincinnatian's legacy will inspire generations to come to Cincinnati's newest icon," Martin says.

Music & Event Management Inc. (MEMI) CEO Mike Smith says the $27 million venue is designed for live music. "It will fill the region's need for a year-round, mid-size flexible capacity concert venue," Smith says. "With a capacity of up to 4,500 people, this new music venue will create connected experiences for fans, their favorite artists and their peers."

The Brady Icon Music Center will also have space for 8,000 people with an outdoor stage. When the outside area isn't being used, it will be open to the public as part of Smale Riverfront Park.

Bob Castellini, Reds majority owner and chair of the Joint Banks Steering Committee, says the venue is expected to host nearly 170 events a year, drawing about 300,000 people, "mostly during the October to May months, just when our businesses need them the most," he says.

"This is a momentous thing for The Banks. It puts us over the top. We needed some density down there and some entertainment with the Bengals and the Reds aren't there, and this is going to do it," Castellini says.

Mayor John Cranley says it's fitting that the venue will be under construction as The Who returns to the area, for the first time since the 1979 concert tragedy that claimed 11 lives.

"It is a time to remember that sadness but also to think about a new day. The fact is that prior to The Who tragedy, Cincinnati was one of the most important stops in the concert rotation of this country," Cranley says. "Candidly we lost a lot of concerts after that tragedy, but as we honor our past and The Who comes back, there's an opportunity to reimagine the great musical history of this city."

Hamilton County Commission President Denise Driehaus thanked music lovers for being patient. The process to reach agreement on the location and who would develop and operate the center took years.

"Hallelujah! Here we are! Hallelujah," she says.

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