Carnegie Hall to Expand Into Studio Towers and Renovate Backstage Areas

Classic Arts News   Carnegie Hall to Expand Into Studio Towers and Renovate Backstage Areas
Carnegie Hall has announced plans for a major expansion to create more rehearsal rooms and offices and improve backstage areas.

All the studios in Carnegie Towers, two skyscrapers owned by and adjacent to the concert hall, will be incorporated into the renovation, a main point of which is to better serve Carnegie's expanding educational programs. (The studios are currently occupied by a mix of residential and commercial tenants.)

Clive Gillinson, Carnegie's executive and artistic director, told The New York Times that the cost of the expansion is estimated to be around $150 million to $200 million, financed through a capital campaign. Leases for the current tenants will not be renewed after June 30.

Work will not begin for at least two years; complete details about the renovation project will be revealed in early 2008.

Carnegie Hall's three performance spaces — Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Weill Recital Hall and Zankel Hall — will not be touched by the renovation, and schedules for those venues will not be affected by future construction.

Gillinson told the Times that Carnegie Hall is planning to help the existing tenants (of which 8 are rent-controlled residents, 10 are market-rate residents and 33 are commercial renters) find new homes.

"These are people who have lived here a long time," he told the paper. "They have an emotional commitment to Carnegie Hall. We really need to be very sensitive to that." The hall will, however, evict the rent-controlled tenants if necessary. To set an example, Gillinson, who rents an apartment in Carnegie Towers, told the Times he will move out in June.

Unsurprisingly, some current tenants are unhappy about having to move. Antonia Cimino, a retired floral designer and resident for more than 30 years, told the paper, "We're all in a terrible state. I'll have to look for a place in the city. I don't want to go back to Maspeth [Queens], where I was born. There's no place like the city."

Recent expansions of Carnegie's educational initiatives include "The Academy — A Program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and The Weill Music Institute," which offers post-graduate musicians advanced musical training and teaching opportunities in New York City schools.

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