Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Classical music news: Lincoln Center and Philharmonic extend deal, Avery Fisher renovations still on hold

The NY Times reported on Monday that the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center had extended their agreement on Avery Fisher Hall, the orchestra's home.  According to the Times, the extension gives both sides more time to work out renovation plans for the hall.  They had a design in place in 2005 but never started on the work.  This extension pushes back any renovation plans for the hall for another few years while everyone involved haggles over the extent of the work and the cost.  From the article:

Lincoln Center and the Philharmonic have each appointed a subcommittee to address these issues over the next three years. In the meantime, both groups have agreed to proceed with plans for some possible short-term upgrades to Avery Fisher, like repaired elevators and seat upholstery.
“We’re going to make the auditorium as pleasing as we can for artists and for audiences, even as we work through the future of the hall,” Mr. Levy said.

Well, that is welcome news.  Ever since I became a subscriber three years ago I've been waiting for news of Avery Fisher Hall's renovation.  The auditorium is in serious need of an overhaul.  My seats alone are so worn out that I've thought about bringing some of those stadium cushions used for bleacher seats.  I have trouble sitting there for more than two hours for a concert.  I can't imagine how bad it can be for people older and in worse shape than I am.  I love listening to the orchestra in that hall (and I don't have any issues with the acoustics) but I'm ready to see Lincoln Center spend some time and money to update the hall.  Even if it's just minor upgrades, anything would be an improvement over what's in there now.

I wonder where the Philharmonic would play while Avery Fisher is closed.  When I lived in Washington, DC and had season tickets to the National Symphony Orchestra, the Kennedy Center renovated the Concert Hall over the course of about eight months.  The NSO played an abbreviated season in the Concert Hall and played other concerts at other venues in the city, like Constitution Hall.  I don't see the Philharmonic cutting its season short in any way, so they'd have to play elsewhere.  But there aren't many other concert halls in New York that aren't booked years in advance.  The logistics of a move like this, especially a temporary one, must be unimaginably complicated.  I'm having trouble imagining them.

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