As the Hall prepares to undergo an extensive renovation, the building will be rechristened with the name of a potential new donor. Avery Fisher Hall's renovations will begin in 2019 at an expected cost of $500 million.
According to the New York Times, the Fisher family will receive $15 million for permission to remove Fisher's name from the building. Lincoln Center did not reveal the name of the potential new donor. The Times also reports that the agreement marks a change from 2002, when the family threatened legal action if the concert hall was rebuilt or renovated under a new name.
Avery Fisher, founder of the Fisher electronics company, donated toward the renovation of the 1962 building in 1973, which was then renamed for him. He died in 1944, and his three children, Nancy Fisher, Charles Avery Fisher and Barbara Fisher Snow, as well as their spouses and five grandchildren, were part of the new agreement with Lincoln Center.
"We are committed to preserving the future of classical music in New York City, and recognize that Avery Fisher Hall must be rebuilt in order to preserve what we treasure,” Nancy Fisher, Charles Avery Fisher and Barbara Fisher Snow said in a statement. "While our family enjoyed over 40 years of our father’s gift being highly visible, it is now time to relinquish that spotlight and allow growth and change at Lincoln Center. We are very pleased with Lincoln Center's plans to maintain Avery Fisher’s legacy, exemplified by his great love for classical music and musicians."
"This transformative act of philanthropy enables us to pursue a new naming opportunity that will help fund construction of a state-of-the-art, new home for the New York Philharmonic and other world-class performers," Jed Bernstein, president of Lincoln Center, said in a statement. "The Fisher family’s decision reflects a passion for classical music performance and education that will now benefit further generations of musicians and audiences." In addition to the monetary agreement, Avery Fisher will be inducted into a new Lincoln Center Hall of Fame in the renovated building; a member of the Fisher Family will serve on the Hall of Fame's advisory board and on the selection committee for inductees into its Avery Fisher Classical Music Wing, which will contain archival materials about Avery Fisher; and the Avery Fisher Artist Program, which awards prizes to established American instrumentalists of distinction and career grants to emerging young artists, will receive more notice. Additionally, Avery Fisher and his family will be honored in a Philharmonic concert March 24, 2015.
The remainder of Lincoln Center, which includes the Vivian Beaumont Theater, the Claire Tow Theater, the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater and the David H. Koch Theater, among others, has undergone an extensive renovation over the years.