Home to the New York Philharmonic and part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts complex, Avery Fisher Hall has worked to overcome criticism for acoustical and design problems, despite its prestigious reputation. Named after Avery Fisher, a generous member of the Philharmonic Board of Directors who donated $10.5 million to the orchestra, this venue originally opened in 1962 by the name of Philharmonic Hall.
Architect Max Abramovitz designed the building, while the acoustical consulting firm Bolt, Beranek and Newman was recruited to design the interior. BBN consultants suggested a shoebox-shaped hall with narrow sides and seating for up to 2,400 spectators. Lincoln Center initially agreed, but as critics started to speculate on this number, plans were changed to allow 2,738 seats. The engineers knew that additional seating would certainly change the sound quality, but they were not positive at the time how significantly it would be affected.
The venue's opening night was hit hard with mixed reviews. Many felt that the acoustics were off, specifically that the seating capacity was too large and the walls too far apart. Over the years, several attempts have been made to solve these design flaws including the installment of maple concave surfaces on the sidewalls, filled with fiberglass to help absorb vibrations. Because of the many problems with Avery Fisher Hall, the Philharmonic considered a merger with Carnegie Hall, which would allow the orchestra to return to its original performance ground, but this never occurred.
Today, the hall is used for a variety of concerts and events including graduation ceremonies and weddings, as well as the locale for visiting orchestras like the London Symphony Orchestra. Although the venue's interior has had some bad luck, the exterior's four-story columns and floor to ceiling windows, as well as a beautiful outdoor balcony, make this hall a notable piece of Manhattan architecture. Avery Fisher Hall is not yet complete, however, as another round of renovations is scheduled beginning in the summer of 2010.
- Box Office Information:
- Hours: Monday through Saturday: 10am to 6pm
- Sunday: 12pm to 6pm
- Also open until 30 minutes after the start of any performance
- Box office number: 212-875-5030. Tickets may also be purchased by calling CenterCharge at 212-721-6500.
- Student Rush Tickets: $12 student rush tickets are available for select concerts at www.nyphil.org/studentrush. You can reserve these up to ten days in advance.
- Lincoln Center offers tours of Avery Fisher Hall, the Metropolitan Opera House and the New York State Theater. Tours are typically offered daily and leave every two hours from 10:30 am to 4:30pm. Call the tour desk at 212-875-5350 for more information.
- Subway Stop:
- 1 Train to the 66th Street/Lincoln Center Station
- Location: Lincoln Center Plaza, at the Corner of Columbus Avenue and 65th Street, New York, NY
- Website: new.lincolncenter.org