Saturday, August 6, 2011

Iwalked New York City’s Avery Fisher Hall

Iwalked New York City’s Avery Fisher Hall - Avery Fisher Hall opened as Philharmonic Hall on September 23, 1962. It was designed by the firm of Harrsion & Abramovitz with the consulting of audio specialists Bolt, Beranek and Newman. Per the advice of Bolt, Beranek and Newman the original designs consisted of a narrow rectangular design similar to Boston’s Symphony Hall with a maximum capacity of 2,400 seats. Caving to pressures to expand this capacity to just over 2,700, these designs were altered which ended up materially altering the acoustics. Critics immediately panned the new hall and musicians meanwhile complained that they couldn’t hear themselves play. Alterations began almost immediately to attempt to tweak the existing structure. After multiple failures, a complete overhaul was finally conceded. Through a $10.5 million donation via Avery Fisher, the hall reopened in October 1976.

Avery Fisher Hall
Avery Fisher Hall

Avery Robert Fisher is described as an audio specialist. He is perhaps best known for his stereo designs which led to significant improvements in existing AM-FM tuners.
Despite the significant alterations in 1976, critics still did not embrace the new Avery Fisher Hall. Finally in 1992 and then again in 2005, further renovations were undertaken. Alas a formula seems to have finally been found as Fisher Hall is now recognized for having excellent acoustics once more.

The primary beneficiary of the enhanced acoustics is the hall’s primary tenant—America’s oldest orchestra by nearly forty years, the New York Philharmonic. The Philharmonic traces its earliest roots back to 1842 when it provided its first concert on Broadway to an audience of 600 individuals. The first work performed that evening? Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Since that initial performance the Philharmonic has gone on to perform over 15,000 concerts as of May 2010. They currently perform about 180 concerts per year.

Similar to the Met’s PBS specials and in trying to keep with the times, the Philharmonic began releasing a subscription-based download series via iTunes in 2009. From this subscription, listeners were able for the first time to get numerous works previously unavailable. Overall, the Philharmonic has recorded over 2,000 works since their first recording in 1917. Of these recordings, approximately one-fourth of them are commercially available.
If you’re interested in attending a performance and cost is a concern, you may attend rehearsals here every Thursday morning on the evenings of performance at 9:45a.m. Rehearsals cost about $18 to attend versus the evening performance which currently goes for about double that at $40. Rehearsal tickets may be purchased online at or at the door.

The New York Philharmonic is not the only body however which utilizes this facility. A number of local high school and colleges host their graduation ceremonies here. And on January 22, 1967, Avery Fisher Hall was where Simon & Garfunkel recorded Live From New York City, 1967