The New Yorker: The New York Philharmonic Mourns and Rebuilds

architectural rendering of the new David Geffen Hall in New York City with orchestra and audience

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May 5, 2021

Diamond Schmitt's design of the reimagined David Geffen Hall is featured in this week's issue of The New Yorker, in a column by Alex Ross.

"The mood was brighter the following day, when I donned a hard hat and received a tour of the Philharmonic’s home, David Geffen Hall, which is in the midst of a thoroughgoing renovation. A curse has hung over the place since its opening, in 1962. It has cycled through two earlier names—Philharmonic Hall and Avery Fisher Hall—and two previous renovations. Despite a slew of adjustments, its acoustics never rose above the serviceable, and its cream-and-beige décor seemed best suited for a convention of anesthesiologists. The latest overhaul, costing more than half a billion dollars, aims not only for a refurbished sound but also for a spruced-up look. Warm wood tones will predominate; the orchestra seating will be more steeply raked, providing a better view of the stage; curving balconies will replace rectilinear ones. The stage is being moved forward, with audience seating in the back creating more of an intimate, in-the-round feeling.

The cessation of performances during the pandemic has allowed the Philharmonic to accelerate construction; Geffen is now scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2022. Whether the hall will finally find acoustical redemption remains to be seen, but it will certainly look better—and, thanks to the mysteries of psychoacoustics, it will sound better. During the tour, it was bracing enough to see work forging ahead at a time when so much cultural activity is still suspended. After the lament, the music of jackhammers."

Read the full article here.