New York Philharmonic Approves Plan for Revamped Avery Fisher Hall

Classic Arts News   New York Philharmonic Approves Plan for Revamped Avery Fisher Hall
The board of the New York Philharmonic has approved a plan to renovate Avery Fisher Hall, with a design by architect Norman Foster.

According to the New York Times, the plan voted upon by the board included the addition of a thrust stage to the 40-year-old hall. But a spokesman for the Philharmonic said that the board members did not approve a final design.

"At a meeting of a board of directors of the New York Philharmonic, a resolution was passed to proceed conceptually with work on Avery Fisher Hall with Foster and Partners, in conjunction and cooperation with Lincoln Center," said Eric Latzky, the Philharmonic's director of public relations. "We have no actual design news at this time."

The Philharmonic tested a thrust stage in rehearsal last year, and Lincoln Center announced last month that it would create a temporary stage extension at Fisher Hall for the Mostly Mozart Festival, which runs July 28-August 27. A statement released at the time said that "the concept of extending the stage...emerged in part as a result of continuing dialogue between Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic about the future of the auditorium in Avery Fisher Hall."

The stage extension allows for a "surround-concert" configuration, with seats on all sides of the orchestra. Such an arrangement has been a success at the Berlin Philharmonie, built in 1963 by Hans Scharoun, and more recently, at Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles.

The renovation will presumably include an upgrade of Avery Fisher Hall's acoustics, which have been criticized since the hall opened in 1962 as Philharmonic Hall. Interior renovations in the 1970s did not entirely correct the problem, and in 2003 the Philharmonic announced that it would return to its historic home at Carnegie Hall. The Philharmonic's agreement with Carnegie Hall eventually fell apart, however, and the orchestra agreed to remain at Lincoln Center.

Foster is known for such projects as London's Millennium Bridge, the Great Court at the British Museum, the renovated Reichstag in Berlin, and the Hong Kong airport. His performing-arts buildings include the Sage Gateshead in the north of England and the Winspear Opera House, currently under construction in Dallas. He was knighted in 1990 and made a life peer in 1999.

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