Lincoln Center announced today an exciting series of artistic and educational events and initiatives to celebrate its forthcoming 50th anniversary, officially beginning with a ceremony to commemorate the institution’s original groundbreaking in 1959 and ending with a campus-wide open house. The anniversary celebration coincides with the physical transformation of Lincoln Center, designed to make the campus a more open, accessible and vibrant urban destination. Ribbon cuttings will be held throughout the year as redevelopment projects are completed.
Fifty years ago, Lincoln Center pioneered the concept of a performing arts campus as a catalyst for urban renewal and played a significant role in restoring confidence in its Upper West Side neighborhood. Since then it has become a model for performing arts centers around the world and has made an enormous cultural and economic contribution to the city, the state, and the nation.
To kick off the anniversary celebration, an unprecedented campus-wide Leadership Breakfast will gather together trustees from all twelve Lincoln Center resident organizations on May 11, 2009 to honor the role civic leadership has played in the continued vitality of Lincoln Center as it enters its 50th year. On the same day, a special program commemorating Lincoln Center’s original groundbreaking ceremony with U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower will be held in the newly revitalized Alice Tully Hall. Performances will pay tribute both to the past 50 years, as well as to the next generation of Lincoln Center’s artists and audiences. The event will be attended by top elected officials, performing artists, civic and community leaders, and representatives from all 12 Lincoln Center resident organizations. To close the anniversary year, Lincoln Center will throw a campus-wide open house.
In anticipation of the celebrations, a digital time capsule was inaugurated today on Lincoln Center’s website at www.lincolncenter.org/50 Contributors from all over the world are invited to send in memories, images and videos evoking favorite moments, performances, and events experienced at Lincoln Center over the past 50 years. This digital time capsule will be housed on the Lincoln Center website, accepting contributions throughout the anniversary year. At the end of 2010, the digital time capsule will remain on the website for viewing.
“It is with great excitement that we approach this major milestone,” said Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Chairman, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “Since Lincoln Center began in the 1950s, it has continued to shape the performing arts locally, nationally, and globally and to influence the millions of people who visit, the thousands of artists who perform here and the hundreds of students who attend our renowned conservatories each year.”
”This is truly a transformative time for Lincoln Center – both artistically and institutionally,” said Reynold Levy, President of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “It is also one of the most important moments in our history, as we prepare to welcome visitors to our newly revitalized and more accessible and open campus and to celebrate our 50th anniversary with an exciting year-long series of events and initiatives.”
Among the programs announced today is a free concert by Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, to be presented in a newly restored and upgraded Guggenheim Bandshell in Damrosch Park. Built in 1969, the Bandshell will receive a significant revitalization to coincide with the 50th Anniversary. This inaugural concert will be nationally televised on Live From Lincoln Center, reinforcing Lincoln Center’s commitment to community outreach.
Throughout the year, specially designated 50th Anniversary programming and events, including new commissions and premieres, will be presented by all of the resident organizations, including:
• The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s presentation of the complete cycle of Beethoven string quartets as well as a new work for solo bass by Edgar Meyer
• The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 50 consecutive hours of film musicals presented during the 4th of July holiday, and 50 consecutive hours of classic foreign films over the Labor Day weekend
• The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s reprise of Portrait in Seven Shades, a commission by JLCO saxophonist Ted Nash, and a Fats Waller Festival celebrating the 105th birthday of the legendary New York pianist with a series of concerts
• A special concert by The Juilliard School commemorating the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Juilliard building for classes in 1969; as well as the US premiere of Kommilitonen!, a new opera by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies co-commissioned by The Juilliard School and the Royal Academy of Music in London
• Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts presentations, including two concerts by Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble; two dance commissions from Mark Morris featuring Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax; the New York premiere of a co-commission from John Adams; pianist Leif Ove Andsnes’ performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition with a specially commissioned artwork by South African artist Robin Rhode; and Lincoln Center Institute’s presentation of Sheila’s Day, the world premiere of Ricardo Khan’s adaptation of the play, commissioned by the Institute.
• An entire issue of The Lincoln Center Theater Review devoted to a history of the theater, and the companies that preceded it, at Lincoln Center.
• Metropolitan Opera programs throughout the 2009-10 season that will include an exhibition of Met costumes from the past five decades, specially created features for the company’s radio broadcasts, and programs honoring individuals who have had a relationship with the company for 50 `years or more with interviews, profiles, and events.
• A major New York City Ballet spring 2010 festival of new choreography and new music commissioned from an international array of choreographers and composers.
• New York City Opera’s recreated, groundbreaking production of Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s opera Einstein on the Beach, with choreography by Lucinda Childs
• A New York Philharmonic concert featuring music commemorating the Anniversary, from the groundbreaking to the present day
• The School of American Ballet’s dedication of its 2010 Workshop Performances to Lincoln Center’s 50th anniversary celebrations
Exhibitions and symposia will be anchored by an installation at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. On view from October 15, 2009 to January 16, 2010, Lincoln Center: Celebrating 50 Years will be the first major exhibit to explore the origins, development and impact of Lincoln Center. Curated by Thomas Mellins, co-author of New York: 1960, it will be complemented by campus-wide satellite exhibits and displays across New York City.
Another highlight is a specially created New York TimesTalks series, Lincoln Center at the Times Center: Mondays in May, where Lincoln Center figures and artists will explore relevant arts-related topics with New York Times journalists. Peter Gelb, Peter Martins, and Gerard Mortier will participate in the series. Also, in conjunction with the anniversary celebration, The Paley Center for Media will screen a selection of rare Lincoln Center television programs never released commercially.
In a joint statement 50th Anniversary Co-Chairs Thomas Renyi and Ann Ziff said: "We are thrilled to embark on a year-long celebration in honor of Lincoln Center's 50th Anniversary. The many extraordinary programs planned for 2009-2010 are a tribute to Lincoln Center's illustrious past and a celebration of its exciting future. We thank the Board and leadership for their generous contributions and we look forward to a vibrant, thriving Lincoln Center that will inspire and influence audiences for another 50 years."
“The dynamic programming that takes place across the Lincoln Center campus, 365 days a year, speaks to the power of the visionary public-private partnership that was forged fifty years ago,” said Kate D. Levin, Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs. “Today, the campus forms the economic anchor and identity marker for the Lincoln Square neighborhood, benefiting artists and audiences from across the five boroughs and around the world. Happy Birthday, Lincoln Center!”
The anniversary year will feature a number of educational and community activities, including a special fair in Alice Tully Hall in May 2009 for educators from the tri-state area designed to highlight the many arts resources available from all of Lincoln Center’s resident organizations. In addition, beginning in 2009, scholarships totaling $100,000 will be awarded to the first four graduating classes of Lincoln Center Institute’s High School for Arts, Imagination and Inquiry, a public school located directly behind the campus. The Institute will also lead 50 “Imagination Conversations” with government, civic, business, philanthropic, and education leaders to begin redefining the ways in which imagination can recast the role of the arts in education in the U.S. In addition, Lincoln Center’s Meet the Artist series, which presents a wide range of performances specially created for young people, will bring its programs to libraries in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island for the first time as a 50th Anniversary initiative.
Further initiatives include a yearlong 50th Anniversary series of fine prints and handmade posters commissioned by Lincoln Center’s renowned List Poster and Print Program from artists including HeLen Frankenthaler and Jim Dine; and the publication of two 50th Anniversary books: a history of Lincoln Center’s distinguished mid-20th century art collection and programs, and a book by Lincoln Center Institute’s Executive Director Scott Noppe-Brandon and Eric Liu about society’s need for imaginative education.
In honor of its 50th Anniversary, Lincoln Center has formed a 50th Anniversary Artist Committee of performing artists from several disciplines representing the exceptional contributions that artists have made to Lincoln Center over the past 50 years. The Anniversary year will conclude with an all-campus open house showcasing the many revitalized spaces completed as part of redevelopment, as well as the range of artistry presented and studied by the resident organizations.
Voices from community members who have been a part of Lincoln Center’s history also will be captured through a partnership with StoryCorps, the award-winning national project that collects and preserves the everyday history and unique stories of Americans. In spring 2009, the StoryCorps MobileBooth, an Airstream trailer outfitted with a recording studio, will be parked on Josie Robertson Plaza, enabling the general public, artists, students, and employees on the campus to record and share specific memories of key events and significant periods of time in the life of Lincoln Center.
These stories will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in D.C., as well as other Lincoln Center archives. Selected segments may also be broadcast on NPR and available online at www.storycorps.net .
To celebrate Lincoln Center’s rich history over the last half century, performances by Leontyne Price, Joan Sutherland, Beverly Sills and other artists who appeared on the country’s only live performing arts series, Live From Lincoln Center, will now be available to the public through a worldwide licensing arrangement with EuroArts/Medici.
Over the next decade, these hidden treasures from Live From Lincoln Center’s vast programming library will be offered globally on DVDs, downloads, streaming video, broadcast and other digital media. In addition, the Live From Lincoln Center series in 2009-2010 will change its name to Live From “the 50th Anniversary of” Lincoln Center to highlight the anniversary.
In addition to the ribbon cuttings and special performances, the 2009-2010 season marks several other important milestones for Lincoln Center, including the arrival and inaugural season of New York City Opera’s new General Manager and Artistic Director Gerard Mortier, Alan Gilbert’s first season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, and the first season programmed entirely by Peter Gelb as General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera.
As a prelude to the celebrations, Lincoln Center will open a fully re-imagined Alice Tully Hall on February 22 with an exciting schedule of programming, including the U.S. premiere of Russian composer Vladimir Martynov’s opera Vita Nuova, with principal conductor Vladimir Jurowski leading the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The Alice Tully Hall Opening Nights Festival runs through March 8 and most of the opening performances – including orchestral and chamber music, choral works, recitals, popular song, world music, period and contemporary ensembles, and film – will be presented free or with tickets priced at $25 or less.
The overall redevelopment project will reinforce the vitality of Lincoln Center for decades to come. Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s design opens up the 16-acre campus to embrace the surrounding cityscape and will enrich the visitor experience with modernized concert halls, educational facilities, and enhanced public spaces and amenities. The innovative design respects the spirit of Lincoln Center's original 1960s architecture, incorporating elements of transparency and fluidity to create a new language for today’s audiences.
A key element of the project is the revitalization of Alice Tully Hall, one of the most popular performance venues in New York. Its striking new three-story-high glass-enclosed lobby, framed by the canopy of the adjacent Juilliard School’s cantilevered extension above, will project a new visible identity to Broadway. The Hall’s auditorium also is being transformed with innovative lighting that glows softly from within translucent veneer wood walls, custom theater seats that retain the original spacious plan, an automated film screen, and two mechanized stage extensions that create adjustable staging options. In addition, the Hall will have a new plaza destined to become one of the liveliest and most visible public spaces on the Lincoln Center campus.
Among the other highlights are: the redesign and expansion of the renowned Juilliard School; the reconfiguration and rejuvenation of Lincoln Center’s primary entryway along Columbus Avenue, with a new canopied drop-off and ramps framing a widened Grand Stair; an upgrade of the iconic Josie Robertson Plaza, its central Revson Fountain and its distinctive patterned pavement designed by Philip Johnson; a new mini-park welcoming visitors at the south end of the campus; and the enhancement of West 65th Street, which will extend the threshold of Lincoln Center with the addition of expanded sidewalks, digital informational blades, dramatic lighting and a new street-level identity for many of the resident organizations.
The campus redevelopment will include an elegant new restaurant with a gently sloping roof lawn, oriented toward Lincoln Center’s iconic reflecting pool and Henry Moore sculpture, which will serve as one of the many new green spaces on campus. Overseen by legendary chef Joachim Splichal and Nick Valenti of the Patina Restaurant Group, the restaurant will be among ten dining options located around Lincoln Center.
Completed components of the redevelopment project include the Central Mechanical Plant, and the “Dancing in Air Studios” at the School of American Ballet, which opened in January, 2007. Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s design for the studios preserves the open, airy atmosphere of two of the School’s existing ballet studios while adding two new studios fitted with glass walls in the generous air-space above, resulting in a suite of four distinct spaces that share lighting and views but are acoustically independent of one another. The two upper glass studios each feature a liquid crystal wall facing the new upstairs lounge that can alternate between transparency and translucence.
Also, in a separate but related project, the architectural firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects is converting a privately-owned public space just southeast of the Lincoln Center campus, formerly known as the Harmony Atrium, into a vibrant community gathering place for free performances, including Target Free Thursdays and civic events. A gateway to the performing arts campus, the new visitor space will house a centralized box office, which for the first time will enable audiences to purchase same-day discount tickets, with up to 50% discounts, to available performances presented by Lincoln Center and all of its world class resident organizations.
Also, as part of the transformation, New York City Opera and New York City Ballet have undertaken a $200 million capital campaign—the first such joint venture in the companies’ histories—to enhance audience amenities and provide a state-of-the-art environment for productions at their shared home, the New York State Theater. In July, 2008, the Ballet and Opera announced their intention to rename the New York State Theater in honor of David H. Koch’s $100 million lead gift to the joint capital campaign. The name change will take effect this fall 2008.
Lincoln Center is the world’s leading performing arts complex, representing the highest standards of excellence in opera, symphonic and chamber music, theater, dance, film, and arts education.
The complex, which first opened in 1962, consists of 12 Resident Organizations: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Theater, Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the School of American Ballet and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
A complete list of events is as follows:
50th Anniversary Programming and Events
Campus-wide Leadership Breakfast
May 11, 2009
In an unprecedented gathering, trustees from all 12 Lincoln Center resident organizations will gather under one roof in honor of the role civic leadership has played in the creation and continued vitality of Lincoln Center as it enters its 50th Anniversary year.
Celebratory Commemorative Ceremony
May 11, 2009
Key artistic, civic, and government leaders will pay tribute to Lincoln Center’s celebrated past and to its next generation of artists and audiences in a program commemorating the original groundbreaking ceremony in May 1959 with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Free Concert Televised Nationwide from Newly Refurbished Guggenheim Bandshell
June 8, 2009
A special free performance by the distinguished Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble will inaugurate the newly renovated Guggenheim Bandshell and continue Lincoln Center’s commitment to community outreach. The Bandshell was originally built in 1969 and will receive a $4.5 million revitalization to coincide with the 50th Anniversary. This inaugural concert will be broadcast to millions as part of the Live From Lincoln Center series on PBS.
All-Campus Open House
May 15-16, 2010
Continuous free and ticketed programming for the community to showcase the artistry, amenities, and new spaces across the campus.