The recent surprise announcement that the New York Philharmonic will
be leaving Lincoln Center and merging with Carnegie Hall has shaken the classical
musical world. WNYC.org presents a selection of reports and opinion on the merger, including reaction from some of the key figures involved. -- Ed.
NEW YORK (2003-06-02) Forty years after it left for Lincoln Center, the New
York Philharmonic plans on moving back to Carnegie Hall. The surprise move could
come in 2006, and gives the orchestra a chance to escape the troubled acoustics
of Avery Fisher Fisher Hall without enduring the cost of renovation. It would
also make the Philharmonic a managing partner rather than rent-paying tenant.
"The merger of the 161-year-old New York Philharmonic and the 112-year-old
Carnegie Hall will create an institution of unmatched potential to achieve the
highest standards of artistic excellence and innovation, which will benefit
music lovers, musicians and audiences the world over," said a joint statement
from the Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall boards of directors.
The two boards said they "have agreed to immediately enter into discussions
toward forming a single musical performing arts institution that will be vital
to New York's cultural landscape."
Officials at Lincoln Center are said to be stunned by the deal. In a statement,
Lincoln Center said it learned last Thursday that the Philharmonic and Carnegie
Hall "were engaged in serious discussions ... about the prospect of moving there
Lincoln Center chairman Bruce Crawford and president Reynold Levy told the
New York Times they were taken aback when told of the planned switch, which
leaves them no long-term occupant for Avery Fisher Hall. Martin E. Segal, a
chairman emeritus of Lincoln Center, called the merger "a form of cultural cannibalism."
The arts complex on Manhattan's Upper West Side faces a reconstruction project
is likely to cost upwards of $260 million, and at a time when another major
constituent, the New York City Opera, is considering a move to the World Trade
Patrons have complained for years that the acoustics at Avery Fisher Hall hindered
New York Philharmonic's sound. Several extensive renovations have taken place
to correct the issue, but problems persisted.
The Philharmonic, the oldest orchestra in the country, resided at Carnegie
Hall from the hall's inception in 1891 until 1962, when the orchestra moved
to the newly opened Lincoln Center.
A Selection of WNYC Reports on the Merger
Lincoln Center's Jane Moss on Soundcheck
Soundcheck presents Jane Moss,
Vice President of Programming at Lincoln Center, on how the Philharmonic move
should free the arts complex to expand its programming in new and unusual directions.
Zarin Mehta and Robert Harth on Soundcheck:
WNYC Cultural Reporter Sara Fishko on Studio 360:
Soundcheck presents the insider's
perspective from Robert Harth, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall
and from Zarin Mehta, Executive Director of the New York Philharmonic.
Sara Fishko says this latest change shaking the classical musical world may not
be so much an abrogation of tradition but a return to it--and maybe to common
sense as well. Listen
Robin Pogrebin on The Brian Lehrer Show:
Robin Pogrebin, cultural reporter for the New York Times, says that the Philharmonic's
move back to Carnegie Hall offers Lincoln Center "a chance to invite new groups
in, to attract new audiences, and to do more unorthodox fare that might bring
in a whole new population to Lincoln Center which would be quite a positive
WNYC Reporter Alicia Zuckerman:
Not only will the orchestra make the Hall its new home, but its board will have
a voice in programming decisions.
Merger Hits a Clinker Los Angeles Times
concert halls, culture and cannabalism Kansas City Star
New York Times Coverage:Philharmonic Deal, Completed Quickly, Left Some in Dark
York Philharmonic Agrees to Move to Carnegie Hall
Analysis: Philharmonic Pact Raises Questions for Classical Music in New York