Major change ahead at NY’s 92nd Street Y

Major change ahead at NY’s 92nd Street Y


norman lebrecht

January 15, 2021

The Y is a venue for many international musicians. It’s about to get new faces.


Thank you so much for your friendship and generosity to the 92nd Street Y, and for your support of the Tisch Center for the Arts. Later today, we are announcing our spring classical music season, which we know will bring joy to many people throughout our global audience.

With this season announcement comes bittersweet news: our treasured colleague, Hanna Arie-Gaifman, has decided to step down from her day-to-day duties as Director of the Tisch Center. In her 21 years of exceptional leadership, Hanna has overseen our classical, jazz and Lyrics & Lyricists concert series, as well as the Unterberg Poetry Center. Hanna has grown and broadened the number and scope of 92Y’s concert offerings, carving out a distinct place for 92Y among the first-rate presenters in New York.


In addition, Hanna has been at the vanguard of creating an entirely new language of expression in programs that integrate music, literature, movement and the visual arts. Among many groundbreaking programs, Hanna envisioned and produced the multidisciplinary Love in Fragments, Bach’s Art of the Fugue as designed by Gabriel Calatrava, and Leonardo, 92Y’s first-ever commissioned chamber opera by Jonathan Berger. And, in this most recent period of unprecedented challenges for the performing arts industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Hanna led an extraordinary pivot for the Tisch Center so that hundreds of thousands of people could enjoy new and remastered 92Y performances from wherever they live. From an empty Kaufmann Concert Hall, we have been able to reach listeners in more than 100 countries with the thrill of live music and literature.

The good news is that Hanna is not going far. After the spring season concludes at the end of June, we are delighted to share that Hanna has agreed to stay on as Director Emerita of the Tisch Center for the Arts. In this new role, Hanna will lend her singular expertise and passion to the production of a summer classical music festival in 2022. We look forward to continuing to work with her in this capacity.

And so, as we launch our spring concert season, we hope you enjoy these wonderful performances, as well as join us in celebrating everything Hanna has accomplished during her remarkable tenure. We look forward to keeping you informed as we chart the next path forward for the Tisch Center.


Seth Pinsky, CEO


  • E Rand says:

    Token BIPOC hire incoming! I can read the press-release before its even written; words like “reimagine”, “diverse” “inclusive” will abound.

  • JussiB says:

    Anyone know about the Frick Collection concert series? Are they still doing it?

    • MWnyc says:

      Certainly not while the Frick is undergoing renovation. During construction, the Frick’s art collection will be displayed in the old Whitney Museum, but I’ve heard nothing about concerts being presented there.

  • David Rowe says:

    Major news indeed! Mazel Tov to Hanna, who is among the most dynamic, creative, inspiring leaders on the US arts scene. I sincerely hope she will – as it sounds – remain involved!

  • Joan says:

    Sorry. She’s really horrible to everyone. Very aggressive woman. I don’t think she’ll be missed.

  • Nijinsky says:

    I’m just so glad it’s not on the ninety-third street, with those cheeks the distance from the tonic would approach a fourth.

  • RVS Lee says:

    I have nothing but the utmost respect for Ms. Gaifman and her achievements at 92Y. I am sure that arts programming there is indeed more diverse than in the past, including new media and new forms of collaboration. As well, this is not only because the performing arts have generally become more diverse.

    But… I am deeply troubled by an evident lack of institutional memory. The Y’s status as a premiere concert venue in NY was well established decades before Ms. Gaifman arrived. In fact, under Omus Hirshbein (ZL) from the mid 70’s on, between the offerings of NYCS, Chamber Music at at the Y, several regular recital series, special festivals such as the multi-year Schubertiade, Lyrics & Lyricists, Jazz at the Y, residencies by new music groups GCM and Musical Elements, the Y was arguably the single most important chamber/recital space in the city.

    One specific claim illustrates the problem. Jonathan Berger’s “Leonardo” was not the first opera commissioned by the Y. Bruce Adolphe’s “Mikhoels the Wise” was commissioned for and premiered by Jewish Opera at the Y in 1982. (David Schiff’s “Gimpel the Fool was first performed there in 1979, but the score had already been completed in short score.)

    • William Safford says:

      Good points. Although I have not been to the Y in well over a decade, I have attended a number of excellent concerts there in the past, from the Y Chamber Symphony (later called the New York Chamber Symphony), to various chamber music concerts. Remember the annual performances of the complete Brandenburg Concerti?

    • fflambeau says:

      Exactly. The “Y” has long been at the forefront of the arts.

  • J. E. J. says:

    A hearty Mazel Tov to Ms. Gaifman, with whom it has been a joy to work for many years since her time at the Czech Philharmonic. Her right hand the last several years at the Y, Nicholas, is also a very creative mind and a delight to work with, and so I hope things will continue apace for that august institution which has been important to so many musicians and music lovers since the days of the redoubtable Omus Hirschbein.

  • Nijinsky says:

    Not knowing 94th is Carnegie hall’s I had to look it up for want of any doing there would it have to do with twittering cigars. She does have nice cheeks but I don’t think that she can blow them up like a blow fish, something my sister can.

  • Dorothy says:

    After 21 years you’d think they could spell her name right: it’s Hana.

  • Dorothy says:

    Please delete my comment – I was mistaken!