Enter the Michael Tilson Thomas Performance Hall

Enter the Michael Tilson Thomas Performance Hall


norman lebrecht

May 08, 2022

We understand that MTT, who has brain cancer, is profoundly moved by this gift.

He is due in London this week for performances with the LSO, of which he was once principal conductor.

Press release:

The New World Symphony today announces a $30 million endowment gift from the Arison Arts Foundation in honor of Michael Tilson Thomas, the founding Artistic Director. With this gift, the Arison Arts Foundation and the New World Symphony Board of Trustees have agreed that the concert space of the New World Center will be named in perpetuity the Michael Tilson Thomas Performance Hall. This support of the institution’s endowment marks past accomplishments and anticipates a bright future.

Of the gift, Lin Arison said “MTT and my family have been creative partners for decades. When he first told us of his vision for the New World Symphony, it was such a strong idea that my husband Ted and I could only say yes to taking the leap. Now I can look back with tremendous pride. Thanks to MTT’s vision and his thirty-five years of devotion, the NWS has been a major part of the growth of Miami and our 1,200 alumni are leaders in their musical communities, sharing his standards of excellence. As Michael makes the transition to Artistic Director Laureate, I wanted to support his dream and offer a gesture of appreciation and love by naming the hall for him in perpetuity.”


  • music lover says:

    Fully deserved.This will be his lasting legacy.Looking forward to see him in Munich in a few weeks

  • Ira says:

    Glad it was done while he’s still with us.

  • A fan says:

    This is wonderful. He really did something amazing here. To make a career is one thing, to keep it is something else. He has kept it… and has influenced me, and am entire generation.

  • Ann Summers Dossena says:

    Heart felt thanks to the Arison Arts Fdn for honouring Michael Tilson Thomas and supporting his vision for the New World Center.

  • chet says:

    “$30 million .. named in perpetuity the Michael Tilson Thomas Performance Hall”

    Congrats, of course.

    But let’s be clear eyed about these things:

    1) $30 Million does not buy perpetuity, no matter what they promise.

    Koch and Geffen each gave $100 Million to halls at Lincoln Center, and it is understood their naming rights are only good for 50 years.

    2) And with Cancel Culture, one is lucky to last 25 years.

    • Monsoon says:

      It depends on the contract with the donor.

      Lincoln Center used to give away naming rights in perpetuity (and for too little). This was the case with Avery Fischer Hall; Lincoln Center had to pay the Fischer family $15 million to remove Avery Fischer’s name.

      Cultural centers have watched what sports stadiums have done and realized that they can make more money if naming rights sunset after a few decades and then be resold.

      Another reason for ending perpetuity naming rights was divorces. A friend who used to work at Lincoln Center told me that whenever someone got divorced, they wanted the name changed from the Mr. & Mrs. John Doe Plaza, for example, to the Mr. John Doe Plaza. It was a major headache. And they stopped etching people’s names in the stone because sand blasting is so expensive. It’s now all metal lettering that can be easily removed/added when there is a divorce.

    • C says:

      Quick fact check: Geffen’s naming rights are in perpetuity, for having put up less than 20% of the renovation costs.

  • Monsoon says:

    Bravo to the donor for naming the hall after someone besides themself.

    Having worked in non-profit fundraising, I know how hard it can be to raise those dollars, but in the arts, the degree to which everything is for sale is in a class of its own — and there’s rarely any concern about who the money is coming from.

  • Chloe says:

    Well deserved! A fabulous gesture that speaks to Michael’s lasting legacy.