David Geffen Hall

(Redirected from Avery Fisher Hall)

David Geffen Hall is a concert hall in New York City's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts complex on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The 2,200-seat auditorium opened in 1962, and is the home of the New York Philharmonic.

David Geffen Hall
View from the Plaza (2019)
Former namesPhilharmonic Hall (1962–1973)
Avery Fisher Hall (1973–2015)
Address10 Lincoln Center Plaza
LocationNew York City
Coordinates40°46′22″N 73°58′59″W / 40.77278°N 73.98306°W / 40.77278; -73.98306
Public transitSubway: "1" train (all times)​"2" train (late nights) at 66th Street–Lincoln Center
NYC Bus: M5, M7, M11, M20, M66, M104
OwnerNew York City Government[citation needed]
Typeconcert hall
Opened1962; 61 years ago (1962)
ArchitectMax Abramovitz

The facility, designed by Max Abramovitz, was originally named Philharmonic Hall and was renamed Avery Fisher Hall in honor of philanthropist Avery Fisher, who donated $10.5 million ($69 million today) to the orchestra in 1973. In November 2014, Lincoln Center officials announced Fisher's name would be removed from the Hall so that naming rights could be sold to the highest bidder as part of a $500 million fund-raising campaign to refurbish the Hall.[1] In 2015, the Hall acquired its present name after David Geffen donated $100 million to the Lincoln Center.[2][3]

Renovations edit

20th-century renovations edit

The interior of David Geffen Hall (2007)
Known as Avery Fisher Hall (2005)

The Hall underwent extensive renovations in 1976, to address acoustical problems that had been present since its opening.[4] Another, smaller renovation attempted to address still-unresolved problems in 1992. Both projects achieved limited success.[5]

Acoustic ceiling baffles during construction
Detail view of acoustic wood wall paneling

21st-century renovation edit

Lincoln Center invited nine architects to submit plans for Avery Fisher Hall's renovation in 2002,[6] selecting three architecture firms as finalists that June.[7] In May 2004, the orchestra announced that the building would undergo renovations in 2009.[8] Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank, was hired in 2005 to design a renovation of the Hall,[9] but he later resigned from the project.[10] In June 2006, The New York Times reported that the construction had been delayed until the summer of 2010.[11] By 2012, the project's start date had been postponed to 2017. The shell of the building was to be left intact, and work was to focus on improving the hall's acoustics, modernizing patron amenities, and reconfiguring the auditorium.[12]

On November 13, 2014, Lincoln Center officials announced their intention to remove Avery Fisher's name from the Hall and sell naming rights to the highest bidder as part of a $500 million fundraising campaign for its refurbishment.[1][13] Lincoln Center chairwoman Katherine Farley said, "It will be an opportunity for a major name on a great New York jewel."[1] Fisher's three children agreed to the deal for $15 million.[1][13] In September 2015, Geffen donated $100 million for the Hall's renovation, and the Hall was renamed for him.[14][15] Geffen's donation of $100 million was seen as a jump-start for the planned renovation, but on October 3, 2017, the Philharmonic announced that existing renovation plans for the Hall had been scrapped.[16]

In December 2019, it was announced that the plans to renovate the Hall would finally proceed, with construction beginning in 2022. The work included acoustically and aesthetically redesigning it, removing over 500 seats, adding balcony seating wrapping around the entire stage, and making the stage tiered and moving it farther forward. Deborah Borda, the president of the New York Philharmonic, said, "We have to do it right this time, and this, I think, is the plan to do it."[17] Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects were hired as collaborators with Diamond Schmitt to renovate the hall's lobby and other public spaces, add more areas for viewing the plaza, socializing area with bars, and video walls for live streaming performances and other events.[18]

Concert Hall under construction

Plans for the hall's renovation were accelerated after Lincoln Center closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City.[19] In mid-2020, Borda announced that because of pandemic-related cancellations of performances, Lincoln Center would commence preliminary renovation work on the Hall before the Philharmonic's planned return to performances on January 6,[20] The orchestra later canceled all scheduled performances at the Hall through June 13, 2021.[21] On October 3, 2022, the main concert hall was renamed the Wu Tsai Theater in honor of a $50 million donation from Joseph Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai.[22][23] The hall reopened on October 8, 2022, following a $550 million renovation.

Acoustics edit

Buildings of Lincoln Center

Buildings and structures in Lincoln Center:
Samuel B. and David Rose Building (includes Walter Reade Theater)
Juilliard School
Alice Tully Hall
Vivian Beaumont Theater (includes Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater and Claire Tow Theater)
Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center
David Geffen Hall
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (includes Bruno Walter Auditorium)
Metropolitan Opera House
Josie Robertson Plaza with Revson Fountain
Damrosch Park
David H. Koch Theater
David Rubenstein Atrium
Jazz at Lincoln Center

Architects hired the acoustical consulting division of Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) to design the original interior acoustics for the hall. Their acousticians recommended a 2,400 seat "shoebox" design with narrowly spaced parallel sides (similar in shape to the acoustically acclaimed Symphony Hall, Boston). Lincoln Center officials initially agreed with the recommendation, and BBN provided a series of design specifications and recommendations. However, the New York Herald Tribune began a campaign to increase the seating capacity of the new hall and late in the design stage it was expanded to accommodate the critics' desires, invalidating much of BBN's acoustical work.[24] BBN engineers told Lincoln Center management the hall would sound different from their initial intent, but they could not predict what the changes would do.

The first of Lincoln Center's buildings to be completed, Philharmonic Hall opened September 23, 1962, to mixed reviews.[25] The concert, featuring Leonard Bernstein, the New York Philharmonic, and a host of operatic stars such as Eileen Farrell and Robert Merrill, was televised live on CBS. The opening week of concerts included performances by a specially invited list of guest orchestras (Boston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland), who regularly appeared at Carnegie Hall each season, as well as the new hall's resident ensemble. Several reporters panned the hall, while at least two conductors praised the acoustics. While the initial intention had been that Philharmonic Hall would replace Carnegie Hall, which could then be demolished, that scenario did not take place.[26]

Management made several attempts to remedy the induced acoustical problems, with little success, leading to a substantial 1970s renovation designed by acoustician Cyril Harris in conjunction with project architect Philip Johnson. It included demolishing the hall's interior, selling its pipe organ to California's Crystal Cathedral, and rebuilding a new auditorium within the outer framework and facade. While initial reaction to the improvements was favorable and some advocates remained steadfast,[27] overall feelings about the new hall's sound soured and acoustics there continued to be problematic. One assessment by Robert C. Ehle stated:

The seating capacity is large (around 2,600 seats) and the sidewalls are too far apart to provide early reflections to the center seats. The ceiling is high to increase reverberation time but the clouds are too high to reinforce early reflections adequately. The bass is weak because the very large stage does not adequately reinforce the low string instruments.[28]

Various acoustic surface strategies are employed to meet the sound requirements

In December 1977, High Fidelity magazine published an article that stated members of the Philharmonic disliked the sound so much they referred to the venue as "A Very Fishy Hall."[29] In 1992, under the tenure of Kurt Masur with the New York Philharmonic, several solid maple wood convex surfaces were installed on the side walls and suspended from the ceiling of the stage to improve acoustics. The maple was specially selected to minimize its grain pattern. The new components are filled with fiberglass to deaden vibrations.[30]

The ongoing problems with the hall's acoustics eventually led the New York Philharmonic to consider a merger with Carnegie Hall in 2003, which would have returned the Philharmonic to Carnegie Hall for most of its concerts each season. However, both sides abandoned talks after four months.[31][32][33]

Beginning in 2005 (and continuing in 2006), the Mostly Mozart Festival has experimented with extending the stage for the Mostly Mozart orchestra farther out into the seats from the main stage for the Festival's summer season.[34][35]

After a major renovation in 2022, the acoustics throughout David Geffen Hall have improved.[36]

Notable events edit

David Geffen Hall is used today for many events, both musical and non-musical. As part of its Great Performers series, Lincoln Center presents visiting orchestras in David Geffen Hall, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre. The PBS series Live from Lincoln Center also features performances from the Hall.

Composer Samuel Barber was commissioned to write his Piano Concerto for the opening of the venue, and the work was premiered at the inaugural concert on September 24, 1962 with pianist John Browning.[37] An early television concert from Philharmonic Hall featured Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in one of their Young People's Concerts. It was the first of many concerts televised from Philharmonic Hall, which had been previously televised from Carnegie Hall beginning in 1958. The 1962 program concentrated on concert hall acoustics, and, like the opening night concert, was shown over the CBS television network. It was entitled "The Sound of a Hall".

A February 12, 1964 performance by Miles Davis at Philharmonic Hall to benefit the Mississippi Freedom Summer was released on two albums, My Funny Valentine and Four & More.[38]

Bob Dylan performed at Philharmonic Hall on October 31, 1964. The concert was released as The Bootleg Series Vol. 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964, Concert at Philharmonic Hall in 2004.[39]

The Supremes performed there on October 15, 1965. The iconic poster for the show was designed by Joe Eula.

Simon & Garfunkel recorded their live album Live from New York City, 1967 here on January 22, 1967.[40]

In 1995, the star-studded charity show The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True was staged. The show, which starred Jewel, Jackson Browne, Roger Daltrey, and Nathan Lane as the principal characters from the 1939 film, benefited the Children's Defense Fund, and aired subsequently on TNT, TBS, PBS, and VH-1.

The hall hosted the world premiere of Steven Spielberg's film War Horse on December 4, 2011.[41]

See also edit

References edit


  1. ^ a b c d Matthews, Karen (November 14, 2014). "Lincoln Center to rename Avery Fisher Hall". Poughkeepsie Journal. Associated Press. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  2. ^ Hetrick, Adam (March 4, 2015). "Avery Fisher Hall To Be Renamed for Music Mogul David Geffen After $100M Gift". Playbill. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  3. ^ "Naming Wrongs". Slate. March 6, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  4. ^ Rockwell, John (April 9, 1976). "Fisher Hall Tries Again for Sound of Perfection". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  5. ^ Kozinn, Allan (June 11, 1992). "Fiddling With the Sound at Avery Fisher Hall". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  6. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (April 16, 2002). "Lincoln Center Invites 9 Architects to Submit Redesign Plans for Fisher Hall". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  7. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (June 14, 2002). "Three Named as Finalists For Redesign of Fisher Hall". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  8. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (May 20, 2004). "Philharmonic To Give Home A New Interior". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  9. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (June 22, 2005). "Arts, Briefly; Redesign Approved For Avery Fisher Hall". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  10. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (June 6, 2006). "Norman Foster Enjoys His First New York Moment With the Hearst Tower". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  11. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (June 11, 2006). "The Philharmonic's Double Challenge". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  12. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (November 28, 2012). "Avery Fisher Hall to Be Renovated". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  13. ^ a b Pogrebin, Robin (November 13, 2014). "Lincoln Center to Rename Avery Fisher Hall". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  14. ^ Viagas, Robert; Hetrick, Adam (September 24, 2015). "Avery Fisher Hall Renamed for Music Mogul David Geffen After $100M Gift". Playbill. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  15. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (March 4, 2015). "David Geffen Captures Naming Rights to Avery Fisher Hall With Donation". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  16. ^ Cooper, Michael (October 3, 2017). "Lincoln Center Scraps a $500 Million Geffen Hall Renovation". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Cooper, Michael; Pogrebin, Robin (December 2, 2019). "After Years of False Starts, Geffen Hall Is Being Rebuilt. Really". The New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  18. ^ Russell, James S. (March 9, 2022). "Williams and Tsien Bring Colorful Reconfigured Public Spaces to Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall". Architectural Record. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  19. ^ Yakas, Ben (March 9, 2022). "Lincoln Center unveils overhauled Geffen Hall as community-oriented cultural center". Gothamist. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  20. ^ Blum, Ronald (June 10, 2020). "NY Philharmonic cancels fall season, moves up Geffen rebuild". ABC News. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  21. ^ "A Letter from President and CEO Deborah Borda". New York Philharmonic. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  22. ^ Hernández, Javier C. (August 3, 2022). "Theater at Geffen Hall to Be Named for Two Key Donors". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2022.
  23. ^ "Lincoln Center, New York Philharmonic announce $50 million gift". Philanthropy Digest. August 5, 2022. Retrieved October 13, 2022.
  24. ^ Rothstein, Edward (May 22, 2004). "If Music Is the Architect . . ". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  25. ^ name="Jinxed & reopen 2022"Kimmelman, Michael (September 29, 2022). "A Notoriously Jinxed Concert Hall Is Reborn, Again". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  26. ^ "1960 Carnegie Hall is saved from demolition". Carnegie Hall Corporation. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  27. ^ Crutchfield, Will (September 28, 1987). "Carnegie Hall vs. Fisher Hall". The New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  28. ^ Ehle, Robert C. "What Does It Take to Make a Good Hall for Music?". Music Teacher International Magazine.
  29. ^ "Yes Plugs In At The Garden" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 9, 2021.
  30. ^ Kozinn, Allan (August 5, 1992). "Details Set for Avery Fisher Renovation". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  31. ^ Wise, Brian (June 2, 2003). "New York Philharmonic to Carnegie Hall". WNYC. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  32. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph; Pogrebin, Robin (June 2, 2003). "The Philharmonic Agrees to Move to Carnegie Hall". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  33. ^ "N.Y. Philharmonic, Carnegie Merger Off". Billboard. Associated Press. October 8, 2003. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  34. ^ Oestreich, James R. (May 3, 2005). "An Intimate Stage Plan for the Mostly Mozart Festival". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  35. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (August 31, 2005). "New Vigor, New Program, New Stage: The Rejuvenation of Mostly Mozart". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  36. ^ Woolfe, Zachary (October 21, 2022). "How the Philharmonic's New Home Sounds, From Any Seat". The New York Times. Retrieved October 22, 2023.
  37. ^ Heyman, Barbara B. 1992. Samuel Barber: The Composer and His Music. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-506650-0 (cloth).
  38. ^ "How A Stressful Night For Miles Davis Spawned Two Classic Albums". NPR.org. Weekend Edition. February 9, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  39. ^ "Live 1964: Concert at Philharmonic Hall – the Bootleg Series Volume 6". Rolling Stone. March 30, 2004.
  40. ^ Live from New York City, 1967 (CD). Simon & Garfunkel. Columbia/Legacy. 2002. back cover. 508067 9.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  41. ^ "Walk the Red Carpet and Attend the World Premiere of War Horse". Delta Air Lines. November 7, 2011. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2014.


External links edit