Ungrateful bastards: Lincoln Center seeks new name for Avery Fisher Hall

Ungrateful bastards: Lincoln Center seeks new name for Avery Fisher Hall


norman lebrecht

November 13, 2014

There’s no nice way of putting this.

They want to raise more  money by renaming the hall. So they’ve paid back $15 million to the original donor’s family and are pretending everybody’s okay with it.

Morally, it sucks. Everyone knows it, but the New York Times would never dare say that.

Read more here.


avery fisher hall


  • Boring Fileclerk says:

    The true story will come out soon. Can’t imagine what transpired. I only hope they don’t name it Issac Stern Hall.

  • Tom T says:

    I share your horror Norman. But the Fisher family are also complicit in this

    • norman lebrecht says:

      After 12 years of resisting Lincoln Center’s foul scheme, they have given up the fight. Not complicit. Defeated, Tom.

  • Herrera says:

    Blame the heirs, greedy but stupid. Granddad gave $10.5 million in 1973, which is equivalent to $56 million today, for perpetual naming rights. (Which is a bargain, since naming rights in New York go for $100 million these days, so grandpaw was a brilliant businessman.) Lincoln Center suckers the grandchildren into taking $15 million back which is about 18% of grandpapa’s original gift in order to erase gramps’ name forever from the building.

    Think the Carnegie heirs would be so dumb?

  • yjtsui says:

    Oh on… It’s not going to be the David Koch Hall, is it???

  • Boring Fileclerk says:

    If they’re taking suggestions, I’m all for naming it Norman Lebrecht Hall.

  • David Boxwell says:

    There ain’t nuthin’ in these here United States that can’t be “re-branded.” Which means Lincoln Center facilities are just the same as cattle stolen by them low-down yellow-bellied varmints from over the next ridge.

  • Galen Johnson says:

    There is only one name possible for the home of the New York Philharmonic: Gustav Mahler Hall.

  • Lauren says:

    Awful. What is going on at Lincoln Centre? Wasn’t this the same hall that caved into the Union so that janitors and lighting tech’s now are paid more than the performers? I am so disappointed in the moral and cultural decay of my country. Well, time to save up for a migration to the UK or EU; you still value culture over there.

  • Milka says:

    I am positive Mr. Lebrecht has seen Cabaret -that great duet on money making the world go round –a truth
    no matter how disguised. It is about buying immortality- look at the vulgarity of Carnegie Hall.That Stern
    was instrumental in saving the hall is a given and it could have been acknowledged with a plaque prominently displayed but no …we have the Stern auditorium the Perelman stage .Will the urinals be next ? It truly is about the vulgar wanting to be remembered in the best light . How about this for the next
    billionaire saviour of the arts leave it
    as Lincoln Center Hall with a prominently displayed donor plaque.
    I am sure it will get them into heaven
    or whatever is next port of call .

  • Brian says:

    Why anybody would want their name on that acoustical POS, especially one who devoted his life to audio, I can’t imagine. They should have paid heed to George Szell who, after rehearsing a few bars of Brahms with his visiting Clevelanders, reputedly turned around to the beaming toffs in the hall and said, “Well, you’d better tear it down and start all over again.” Would have been cheaper in the long run.

  • Paul Pellay says:

    Call it Leonard Bernstein Hall. After all, he did inaugurate the building when it was just plain old Philharmonic Hall.

    • Diana Medford says:

      Fine. Write a cheque to Lincoln Center for $200 million or so and I’m sure they’ll let you name the hall whatever you please.

  • Boring Fileclerk says:

    I second that motion. It only makes sense.

  • Edward Alley says:

    A true philanthropist would donate the money and have the name changed to “Leonard Bernstein Hall” in honor of the 25th anniversary of his death in 2015, and let it be that henceforth.

  • Alex says:

    You are so negative Norman….get over it!

  • stopthemusic says:

    You omitted the best part of the Szell quote, which made reference to the unfortunate color-scheme of the original Philharmonic Hall. Szell quipped: “You’d better tear it down, and you can start with the s–t colored seats!”

  • Fromthepit says:

    While we’re at it, who was that Lincoln guy? How much did he give?

  • Peter Freeman says:

    I agree with BF on both his points and Milka, and was going to suggest LB until getting down to PP’s excellent contribution. After all, the Royal Albert Hall wasn’t named after a Rothschild or Baring or Coutts! But I feel London’s Eurostar terminal ought to be renamed Betjeman Station; what did the locally-buried saint have to do with its construction or salvation centuries after his death?

  • Robert Holmén says:

    Are they going to build a new hall or just rename what they have?

    What deaf philanthropist is going to pay to have their name on the current hall?

    I’ve heard the NY Philharmonic in Avery Fisher Hall and it’s hard to imagine how they maintain an international reputation when the end product sounds so lame.

  • Marshall says:

    Why get worked up about the name? (it should have remained Phil. Hall)
    How they got the Met so right-acoustically- and this place always and forever a disaster.-Yes better than when it began, but the NY Phil should have moved back to Carnegie.

    If this is the kind of money they have access to, let’s hope they tear it down and start over

  • Jeff says:

    It’s pretty amazing that no one seems to have read the entire article. To do the kind of job they need to do, which is tear down the interior of the hall and get the acoustic and facilities right, they need a kind of investment that no one is willing to give unless they get their name on the facade of the building. Avery Fisher’s family is magnanimously allowing the home of the New York Philharmonic to finally enter the ranks of modern concert halls. Also, they are receiving 15 million dollars! I can’t imagine why anyone would have a problem with this. We don’t build concert halls in the US with public money, so this is the way it must be done. Who cares what the name of the hall is if the sound inside is great?

  • nancy says:

    Thank you Norman for alerting us! The hall’s name must remain protected. How our fine cultural institutions are maintained and cultivated play a larger role in the quality of our lives, beyond attending concerts. The act of giving is much more sincerely rewarding than an expectation that one’s name should be linked to the hall’s name — a grave mistake of the institution to sell out and lower the standard of NYC donations with one swoop.

  • Frank says:

    The Paris Philharmonie, opening in two months, cost 385 million euros including restaurants, rehearsal halls, offices, etc. While splendid, dramatic and designed by a world famous architect, the price is an absolute scandal in Paris and the source of endless diatribes. Today’s conversion to dollars = 481 million. How could an interior restoration cost more? NY unions?

    • Lauren says:

      Yes, NYC Unions where janitors and lighting tech’s often make more money than the artists on stage. And, the admin. model is very antiquated. There are many ways to raise whatever funds are needed so long as they benefit the artists and audience rather than the unions and administrators.

  • Milka says:

    It seems we will get another hall no matter what.
    Do we need one ..truly need another mausoleum considering all the other halls in NY .? With a constantly diminishing
    audience due in part to old timers dying off and younger folk barely interested in so called classical music
    who will fill the seats ? The new generation has other interests and
    it ain’t endless repetitions of the 9th .

    • Lauren says:

      The audiences are diminishing because the classical arts have been hijacked by the elites who often do not care about the art, they care about being seen as if they care about art. When you expose young people to the classical arts in a fun, engaging way, they love it. Besides, the useless, talentless “culture” of the current age will rust like the rubbish it is in the trash bin of history. One day, people will want real art that speaks to aspiration and our deeper natures and it must be preserved.