In today’s Wall Street Journal “Sightings” column, I consider the New York Philharmonic’s plan to renovate the interior of David Geffen Hall, its home, and suggest an alternative. Here’s an excerpt.
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As most music lovers know, the interior of Lincoln Center’s Geffen Hall, the home of the New York Philharmonic, is about to be completely reconstructed. Perhaps the third time will be a charm for the 2,738-seat concert venue, whose acoustics were so poor when it opened in 1962 that the conductor George Szell called it “an insult to music.” Geffen has already had two overhauls, in 1976 and 1992, but neither one solved its underlying inadequacies, so the final design for a third try costing $550 million was announced in December….
Yes, the unsatisfactory interior of Geffen Hall should be gutted immediately, but the problem of what kind of performance space should replace it in the Covid era and beyond remains unsolved. So instead of committing the Philharmonic to the traditional “shoebox” concert-hall plan that was unveiled in December, why not install a temporary interior shell sturdy enough to satisfy city building and safety codes and use it as an experimental space—a lab, if you will—in which the Philharmonic can try out a variety of designs?…
* * *Read the whole thing here.