Alice Tully Hall 2.0

February 17, 2009

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Alice Tully Hall, the last of the original Lincoln Center venues to open, was so inseparably — and justly — associated with the woman for whom it was named that it used to seem unimaginable that there would ever be a day when she did not preside from her box there. This was not a case of a magnate giving money on the condition that the hall be named for the donor — an unedifying epidemic of which New York seems to see no end of in recent years. (It’s largely a new practice; even Carnegie Hall was known simply as the Music Hall until after its builder’s death.) Instead, a woman who had tirelessly supported chamber music for many decades held out for a certain kind of chamber-music hall in the new complex that the tirelessly-building Rockefellers (after first demolishing on a vast scale) were pushing through on the site of another famous, if fictional, West Side Story. It opened forty years ago and served us for many events for which it was suited and many for which is was not so well-appointed.

This evening I heard the first pre-opening tryout of various kinds of music with a full crowd inside the radically rebuilt hall. All I can say is that we’re in for a real treat for years to come at the corner of Broadway and 65th. What Miss Tully would have thought of her much-revised home for chamber music many will no doubt try to imagine. What I felt was genuine delight in an attractive and acoustically glowing room.

UPDATE: The New York Times, New York, and The New Yorker.

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One Response to “Alice Tully Hall 2.0”

  1. […] and I kept wondering during that concert how they would go over in New York. The wild applause in Alice Tully Hall tonight, on the first evening of the Hall’s formal opening festivities, certainly answered […]

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