As construction finished in the spring of 2003, the Philharmonic postponed its grand opening until the fall and used the summer to let the orchestra and Master Chorale adjust to the new hall. Performers and critics agreed that it was well worth this extra time taken by the time the hall opened to the public. During the summer rehearsals a few hundred VIPs were invited to sit in including donors, board members and journalists. Writing about these rehearsals, Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed wrote the following account:
The walls and ceiling of the hall are finished with Douglas-fir while the floor is finished with oak. Columbia Showcase & Cabinet Co. Inc., based in Sun Valley, CA, produced all of the ceiling panels, wall panels and architectural woodwork for the main auditorium and lobbies. The Hall's reverberation time is approximately 2.2 seconds unoccupied and 2.0 seconds occupied.
The hall met with laudatory approval from nearly all of its listeners, including its performers. In an interview with PBS, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, said, "The sound, of course, was my greatest concern, but now I am totally happy, and so is the orchestra," and later said, "Everyone can now hear what the L.A. Phil is supposed to sound like." This remains one of the most successful grand openings of a concert hall in American history.