Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The Hall Previously Known as Avery Fisher

David Geffen has donated $100 million to the "transformation" of the "iconic" concert hall in Lincoln center, so it will be renamed David Geffen Hall. (Do they mean "iconically bad," or what? I'd consider the Met to the be the iconic representative of Lincoln Center, especially when the Chagalls are on display, or maybe the fountain.)

Here's most of the press release:


Performing Arts Building, Long Known as Avery Fisher Hall, Will be Renamed David Geffen Hall
When the New York Philharmonic’s 2015-2016 Season Begins in September

NEW YORK, NY (March 4, 2015) – Music and media executive and philanthropist David Geffen has given a $100 million gift to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to lead the complete transformation of its largest concert hall, it was announced today by Katherine Farley, Chair of Lincoln Center. The renowned performing arts building will be renamed David Geffen Hall in September 2015 at the start of the New York Philharmonic’s 2015-2016 season.

The comprehensive renovation and reimagination of the concert hall will be undertaken in close collaboration between Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic. The project is on track to begin construction in 2019 at an expected cost of approximately $500 million. In addition to its primary purpose as the home for the New York Philharmonic, which has performed there since it opened in 1962, the redesigned concert hall will also feature the new Lincoln Center Hall of Fame, a first-of-its-kind institution celebrating all aspects of the performing arts and film.

“As a native New Yorker, I recognize that Lincoln Center is a beacon to artists and musicians around the world,” said Mr. Geffen. “To be involved with such a beloved and iconic institution is deeply satisfying.”

“We are extremely grateful that David has chosen to focus his generosity on the transformation of this venerable concert hall for a new era,” said Farley. “His gift provides the critical impetus for the project’s fundraising campaign. David has devoted much of his remarkable career to fostering young artists and musicians. His passion for the arts will be realized every day in the new David Geffen Hall.”

“This remarkable gift by David Geffen allows Lincoln Center to move forward with the transformation of our concert hall, and ensures that it will continue to be a world-class home for the Philharmonic and a wide variety of other artists and live performances,” said Jed Bernstein, President of Lincoln Center. “The new David Geffen Hall will be a superb venue for classical music and a place that will inspire innovations in how audiences enjoy music for years to come.”

“We applaud David Geffen for making possible the creation of a dynamic, new home for the New York Philharmonic here at Lincoln Center, something so paramount in helping us achieve our vision of an Orchestra for the 21st Century,” said Matthew VanBesien, president of the New York Philharmonic. “We look forward to working together with Lincoln Center to create a revitalized hall that will allow us to imagine new possibilities, reflecting the way in which our art form and audiences are evolving, and that will inspire the great legacy of musicians and artists who will grace its stage.”

One of the most respected and influential executives in the entertainment industry, David Geffen has made an indelible mark on the arenas of film, theater and, most notably, music over the course of his distinguished career. Geffen’s professional successes enable him to generously support charitable organizations important to him. His record setting 2002 donation to the UCLA School of Medicine, now the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, was the single largest donation of its kind to a U.S. medical school. A decade later, he once again made history with the creation of The David Geffen Medical Scholarship; this scholarship provides four-year financial support to outstanding students entering the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Geffen's total philanthropic support to UCLA exceeds $300 million. Geffen has been an industry leader in the fight against AIDS, rallying community support and making substantial contributions since the early years of the epidemic. He has been a major benefactor to AIDS Project Los Angeles, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, amfAR, God’s Love We Deliver, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and Project Angel Food, among others.

As a patron of the arts, David Geffen has made substantial gifts to the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Spelman and Morehouse College arts education programs, the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and the USC’s School of Cinema-Television. In early 2013 he contributed to The Academy of Motion Pictures for the creation of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Numerous other charities receive significant funding from his foundation, including the Motion Picture Television Fund, the Young Eisner Scholars, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the American Civil Liberties Union, National Public Radio, the Bridge School, Human Rights Watch, the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, Survivors of the SHOAH Visual History Foundation, The American Society for Yad Vashem, and Save the Children.

The symphonic concert hall, designed by Max Abramovitz, was the first building to open on the Lincoln Center campus. Originally known as Philharmonic Hall, it has been home to storied performances by the New York Philharmonic, as well as other renowned orchestras and soloists, for more than five decades. In 1973, it was renamed for the late audio pioneer Avery Fisher, a New York Philharmonic board member. Last November, in a landmark philanthropic gesture, the children of Avery Fisher entered into an agreement with Lincoln Center to enable the renaming of Avery Fisher Hall.

[I would personally be embarrassed to have a concert hall or museum or opera house named after me. If I had donated that $100 million, the name would have reverted to Philharmonic Hall or I would have asked for it to be named for one of the NYPO's former conductors.]


Anonymous said...

I used to say that they should just rename Los Angeles after David Geffen and get it over with. In the last few years, Eli Broad seems to have overtaken him as our leading practitioner of narcissistic philanthropy (with some stiff competition from the recently deceased Henry Segerstrom, who named two adjacent concert halls after himself, so that they can't be distinguished without a paragraph of explanation).

I suppose it's encouraging to see Geffen taking up the challenge: maybe it'll prompt Eli Broad to start another big project, especially since he usually builds something new, rather than buying credit, a la Geffen, for something that already exists. How about the Eli Broad Santa Monica Boulevard Subway?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Oh, hahahahaha.

Maybe he should fund the potential new London venue that the Barbican is looking into.