The Hall Formerly Known As Avery Fisher

The Lincoln Center finally released the names of the acoustician and theater designer firms, Akustiks and Fisher Dachs Associates, tasked with the massive Avery Fisher Hall renovation. The 11/13/2014 edition of the New York Times published an excellent article by Robin Pogrebin which reports that an actual design has yet to be determined and that naming rights for the renovated venue are up for grabs.

Adaptistration People 095The venue formerly known as Avery Fisher Hall is seeking a new namesake and is certainly a crown jewel of institutional and cultural naming rights; consequently, it will be interesting to see if one of the rarest of prizes is tagged with the ubiquitous donor name or perhaps something a bit more off the beaten path.

If nothing else, the pairing of Akustiks and Fisher Dachs Associates is a good sign; both firms have an excellent reputation and track record for both joint and individual projects plus one of Akustik’s principals, Christopher Blair, has authored a number of superb guest articles here at Adaptistration on the subject of concert hall acoustics and audience development (don’t miss this one); all of which remain among the most popular articles in the archives.

In 2006, I published an interview at Neo Classical with Akustiks principal’s Paul Scarbrough, Russell Todd, and Christopher Blair during the Nashville Symphony’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center opening gala. It’s still a good read and thanks to the clarity of hindsight, provides a broader understanding into why the firm has been so successful.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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6 thoughts on “The Hall Formerly Known As Avery Fisher

  1. It’s hard to get around the $500 million part. I do have a “special seat” in Avery Fisher Hall, keeping in mind I don’t know what things are like behind the scenes for the players. If an improvement came at $75 million, and you knew that would make all the difference to the sound, that might be different. Maybe it’s wrong to see it like this, but looking at what the Met needed, or NY City Opera needed – I mean I wish we still had the NY City Opera. One can dream pretty big with $500 million.

  2. No argument here that it;s a big number. At the same time, it’s a pricey project in a city with some of the highest construction costs so I certainly wouldn’t call the figure egregious. If anything, I’d bet that the $75mil ballpark is a much lower ROI. One way or another, time will tell.

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