Avery Fisher Hall's Extreme Makeover

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When the news emerged last week that Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center is to finally go under the knife in 2017, reaction was swift and vocal. "Tear the place down!" wrote more than one commenter on a recent WQXR.org blog post. "The dimensions are all wrong," said another.

Some familiar complaints about hall were heard — concerning its acoustics, uncomfortable seats, dated restrooms and even the lack of a pipe organ. Others argued that a facelift should respect the integrity of the 1962 building while using the latest technology or acoustic principals.

A concert hall renovation is an exceedingly long, complex and costly project involving numerous constituents — patrons, musicians, staff, boards — and Avery Fisher is home not only to the New York Philharmonic but many other presenters.

So just what does Avery Fisher Hall need? How can it become more welcoming to new audiences? And what risks confront Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic as they embark on the process? (Over 80 percent of concert hall renovations experience significant cost overruns.) In this podcast, guest host Jeff Spurgeon puts these and other questions to three experts:

  • Justin Davidson, classical music & architecture critic at New York magazine
  • Carroll Joynes, a senior research fellow at the Cultural Policy Center of the University of Chicago
  • Pete Matthews, editor, of the blog Feast of Music

Please share your own thoughts on Avery Fisher Hall's planned renovation below.