New York, NY—The new David Geffen Hall opens to the public on October 8, 2022, the home of the New York Philharmonic and new welcoming cultural home for New York. Completed two years early with a transformative design by Diamond Schmitt Architects and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, the project represents a statement of faith in New York and its artistic community, while delivering jobs and economic development at a crucial time for the city’s rebound.
Opening will be marked throughout the month of October and feature many firsts, beginning with the World Premiere performances of San Juan Hill: A New York Story by composer Etienne Charles, commissioned by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for the New York Philharmonic, and performed by Etienne Charles and Creole Soul alongside the orchestra, conducted by Music Director Jaap van Zweden.
Choose-What-You-Pay tickets for San Juan Hill: A New York Story are now on sale. In addition, a limited number of free tickets will be available on October 8 at the Welcome Center at David Geffen Hall, opening at 10am. More information is available here.
In addition to two celebratory galas held on October 26 and October 28, the crescendo culminates with a free open house weekend on October 29 and 30 featuring hundreds of artists animating the entire hall with performances, participatory activities and family events.
Below is an overview of the project, supplemented by in-depth materials in this media kit.
“A huge community came together around the idea of a bright future at a dark time for our city. Now, we are able to celebrate an economic engine, a vibrant creative hub, and a cultural home for both the New York Philharmonic and all New Yorkers,” said Katherine Farley, Chair of the Board of Directors at Lincoln Center. “We are so grateful to the many people who helped bring us to this moment—chief among them David Geffen for his original generous and catalytic gift and Clara Wu Tsai for her gift that enabled the acceleration of the project by two years.”
Peter May, speaking also on behalf of his NY Philharmonic Board Co-chair Oscar Tang, said: “The NY Philharmonic looks forward to ushering in a new era for our great Orchestra at David Geffen Hall. It’s been a long journey that has well been worth the wait.”
“David Geffen Hall is for New York and for New Yorkers—proof of our resiliency after a tremendously difficult time,” said Henry Timms, President and CEO of Lincoln Center. “Finally, our hometown orchestra has a home that lives up to its immense talent and creativity, boldly built through some of the darkest times in New York’s history. To the thousands of New Yorkers who made this project a reality, thank you. To the millions of New Yorkers we hope will find inspiration here, welcome.”
Deborah Borda, the NY Philharmonic’s Linda and Mitch Hart President and CEO, said: “Thanks to our partners at Lincoln Center and our committed Board and dedicated donors, and a visionary and resourceful team of architects and designers, we are celebrating the dynamic, new concert hall constructed during the pandemic. NY Phil musicians look forward to reuniting with old friends and welcoming new ones to David Geffen Hall.”
“The new David Geffen Hall is a once in a generation opportunity to create a new, more equitable, and more inclusive foundation for the arts in New York,” said Shanta Thake, Ehrenkranz Chief Artistic Officer at Lincoln Center. “A cultural center that our great city deserves, it beckons communities from across the city to come and make it a home. At its core, this project is about coming together, learning from our past, and beginning to open doors to a new kind of welcome. We are grateful to our friends at the New York Philharmonic for their ongoing collaboration towards this vision.”
New York Philharmonic Music Director Jaap van Zweden said: “This is a very special time in the history of the New York Philharmonic, its musicians, and in my personal history as well. Our dream has finally been realized! I am honored to be here to usher in this new era, inaugurating a hall befitting our world class musicians and institution. The moment we have all been waiting for is here… the return to our long-anticipated new home!”
David Geffen Hall is for NYC.
Accelerated during the pandemic, the hall is opening two years before scheduled and on budget – the result of a close collaboration between Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic, and supporters across the city.
The project supports $600 million in ongoing economic development and 6,000 jobs for New Yorkers. The team secured 42% participation from minority- and women-owned businesses during the course of construction; 51% of the workforce derived from underrepresented communities.
David Geffen Hall is a statement of faith in our city across a massive team of people who believed in the enduring power of New York’s cultural landscape, even in moments when the city’s future was unclear– and came together to make it a reality:
Lead donors, including David Geffen, whose initial catalytic gift gave the project its original momentum, and Clara Wu Tsai, Lincoln Center board member, whose timely gift in the darkest days of the pandemic and her commitment to this project and to New York enabled the project to move forward. The Wu Tsai Theater and Wu Tsai series showcasing performances that celebrate interdisciplinary and socially-engaged works from diverse voices are named in honor of this commitment. Full donor sheet here.
“This must be the first NYC building project that is finishing early! And on budget! I want to congratulate all those who stepped up to get this done, especially during such a tough time. It is a remarkable achievement. This is great for Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic, and the arts. Most of all, this is great for New York. It is so much more than a renovation: it is a true re-imagination,” said David Geffen. “This new hall is not only about great music, it is also about creating a welcoming destination for everyone in our community.”
“I believe in the power of the arts, the importance of inclusion, and – most of all – I believe in New York City. We were able to accelerate this project and ensure that 42% of the contracts were with Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises. That is an important tribute to the people and resilience of our city. May we see many experiments, collaborations, and triumphs of art in this space,” said Clara Wu Tsai, Founder of the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation and member of Lincoln Center’s Board of Directors.
The project team: Lincoln Center, the New York Philharmonic, and a landscape of consultants had a vision of a new David Geffen Hall that would not only be a superb home for the New York Philharmonic, but would present many disciplines, provide exciting community space, and create extraordinary experiences. The project team collaborated in a unique way to deliver a David Geffen Hall that can meet the diverse needs of both institutions.
The design team consisted of Diamond Schmitt Architects, led by Gary McCluskie, on the Wu Tsai Theater; Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects │ Partners, led by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, on all of the public spaces; acoustician Paul Scarbrough of Akustiks; and theater planner Joshua Dachs of Fisher Dachs Associates. The firms Kohler Ronan and Thornton Tomasetti provided engineering services.
Thousands of workers at Turner Construction Company—sometimes nearly 700 people at a time in the hall—worked around the clock through the pandemic to make this vision a reality.
A full list of partners—and what they have to say about this exciting project—is available here.
David Geffen Hall is the home of the New York Philharmonic – and so much more
The project re-imagines the entire concert-going experience, creating a new state-of-the-art theater serving as the home of the New York Philharmonic and accommodating a diverse range of artists and audiences. The new David Geffen Hall features improved accessibility throughout.
At the same time, thousands of square feet of new public space for diverse cultural performance and community uses has been created—much of it free to the public. The reimagined space has achieved all this while respecting the iconic exterior.
The Wu Tsai Theater has been transformed into a warm, curvilinear hall that creates a more welcoming and intimate audience experience, with optimized sight lines and exceptional acoustics on each tier. Seating has been reduced by 500 to 2,200 and wraps around the theater in order to improve acoustics and bring each seat 30% closer to the performers, in addition to new flexible seating behind the Jerry Speyer and Katherine Farley Stage, which has been moved forward by 25 feet.
The theater design’s state-of-the-art flexibility offers new capabilities and configurations, as motorized stage lifts and built-in screens will accommodate dance, film premieres, amplified rock concerts and more, ensuring new and exciting opportunities for the next generation of composers and performers. Full technical description available here.
Public Spaces: The reimagined David Geffen Hall welcomes all who visit with generosity, warmth and fun. Its public spaces, explained in more detail here, include:
- Karen and Richard LeFrak Lobby nearly doubled in size from the previous version, and is now performance-enabled for ticketed- and non-ticketed activations alike. A bar and restaurant on the ground floor gives the lobby a sense of place outside of performances in the theater, and encourages lingering and a sense of welcome for all.
- The lobby’s marquee feature is the Hauser Digital Wall, which will display visual art as well as live-streamed performances from inside the hall for anyone to enjoy free of charge.
- Chef Kwame Onwuachi, a native New Yorker from the Bronx and visionary chef, is putting his signature stamp on the restaurant at David Geffen Hall, which he has named Tatiana, and will explore Afro-Caribbean flavors.
- Kenneth C. Griffin Sidewalk Studio is an innovative venue for smaller-scale performance, rehearsals, and community gatherings, prominently positioned at, and visible from, the corner of Broadway and 65th street
- Leon and Norma Hess Grand Promenade will be the center of activity in the hall’s public spaces. Dramatic overlooks into the Grand Promenade, including from the Leni and Peter May Terrace, will allow for casual experience of performances that will happen there; access to the outdoor terrace and a large bar will encourage lingering.
In addition to being the premiere home of the New York Philharmonic, David Geffen Hall is meant to be a cultural home for everyone, with welcome extended through programming and artistic activations that memorialize and reckon with Lincoln Center’s history, as well as look to the future.
As part of the opening, two site-specific visual artworks by Nina Chanel Abney and Jacolby Satterwhite were commissioned for the hall, beckoning those who may have never interacted with Lincoln Center or the New York Philharmonic to see the institutions in a new way– the result of a partnership between Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Studio Museum in Harlem and Public Art Fund.
Abney’s San Juan Heal enlivens the building’s nearly 200-foot-long 65th Street façade with a unique iconography inspired by the rich cultural heritage and complex history of San Juan Hill. The installation features 35 icons: portraits of some of the neighborhood’s pioneers and celebrated musicians, as well as symbols and text derived from the era’s protest flyers. At the center of the grid is the word “Love.”
Satterwhite’s dreamlike video, An Eclectic Dance to the Music of Time, tells a new story of the past, present, and future of Lincoln Center. Activating the Hauser Digital Wall, the video is set into a digitally animated landscape inspired by Central Park and surrounded by buildings reminiscent of Times Square. Featuring archival materials from Lincoln Center, Satterwhite weaves these historic moments together with new footage of the next generation of performers–the diverse future audiences and performers of Lincoln Center.
Beyond Opening Month
The New York Philharmonic’s season at David Geffen Hall is broadly categorized by key themes: HOME, a monthlong, multifaceted festival where concerts activate the reinvented performance spaces, and programming reflects the institution’s ever-evolving conversation with our community. LIBERATION presents themes of social justice and equity. New York Philharmonic Music Director Jaap van Zweden takes the podium during two additional artistic explorations: SPIRIT, a musical expression of the exploration of the human spirit, and EARTH, a focus on humanity’s impact upon the planet and climate crisis.
At the same time, Lincoln Center is launching the ’Wu Tsai Series’ at David Geffen Hall that showcases performances that celebrate interdisciplinary and socially-engaged works from diverse voices that take advantage of the Wu Tsai Theater’s unique flexibility. The series will highlight synergies between art forms and cultures, inspired by Clara Wu Tsai’s commitment to reaching new audiences and championing new voices at Lincoln Center.
Full programming releases from the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center are here.