Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a complex of buildings in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. It has thirty indoor and outdoor facilities and is host to 5 million visitors annually. It houses nationally and internationally renowned performing arts organizations including the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Ballet. Juilliard School of Music also became part of the Lincoln Center complex.
PlanningA consortium of civic leaders and others led by, and under the initiative of, John D. Rockefeller III built Lincoln Center as part of the "Lincoln Square Renewal Project" during Robert Moses' program of urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s. Respected architects were contracted to design the major buildings on the site, and over the next thirty years the previously diverse working class area around Lincoln Center was replaced with a conglomeration of high culture to please the tastes of the consortium.
Rockefeller was appointed as the Lincoln Center's inaugural president in 1956, and once he resigned, became its chairman in 1961. He is credited with raising more than half of the $184.5 million in private funds needed to build the complex, including drawing from his own funds; the Rockefeller Brothers Fund also contributed to the project. Numerous architects were hired to build different parts of the center. The center's first three buildings, David Geffen Hall, David H. Koch Theater and the Metropolitan Opera House were opened in 1962, 1964 and 1966, respectively.
It is unclear whether the center was named as a tribute to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln or for its location in the Lincoln Square Neighborhood. The name was bestowed on the area in 1906 by the New York City Board of Aldermen, but records give no reason for choosing that name. There has long been speculation that the name came from a local landowner, because the square was previously named Lincoln Square. However, property records from the New York Municipal Archives from that time have no record of a Lincoln surname; they only list the names Johannes van Bruch, Thomas Hall, Stephan de Lancey, James de Lancey, James de Lancey, Jr. and John Somerindyck. One speculation is that references to President Lincoln were omitted from the records because the mayor in 1906 was George B. McClellan Jr., son of General George B. McClellan, who was general-in-chief of the Union Army early in the American Civil War and a bitter rival of Lincoln's.
- April 21, 1955: The Mayor's Slum Clearance Committee chaired by Robert Moses is approved by the New York City Board of Estimate to designate Lincoln Square for urban renewal.
- November 8, 1955: John D. Rockefeller III is elected as chairman.
- June 22, 1956: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. incorporated.
- October 31, 1956: Lincoln Square Development Plan is approved, many changes to the area are proposed.
- May 14, 1959: Ground-breaking ceremony with U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
- April 6, 1964: Lincoln Center Fountain, named for Charles Revson, opens.
- April 23, 1964: New York State Theater opens.
- October 14, 1965: Vivian Beaumont Theater and the Forum open.
- November 30, 1965: The Library & Museum of the Performing Arts opens.
- August 1, 1966: The first indoor festival in the United States, the Midsummer Serenades - A Mozart Festival begins.
- September 16, 1966: The Metropolitan Opera House opens.
- May 22, 1969: Damrosch Park and the Guggenheim Band Shell opens.
- September 11, 1969: Alice Tully Hall opens.
- October 26, 1969: Juilliard School opens.
- May 20, 1974: The Lincoln Center Institute is officially founded.
- October 22, 1974: The Avery Fisher Artist Program is founded to give outstanding American instrumentalists significant recognition on which to continue to build their careers. It includes both The Avery Fisher Prize and the Avery Fisher Career Grants.
- January 30, 1976: The first live telecast of Live from Lincoln Center is broadcast over PBS.
- October 19, 1976: Avery Fisher Hall re-opens after renovation to improve acoustics.
- December 4, 1981: The Big Apple Circus marks its first performances at its winter home in Damrosch Park. The circus has performed every winter at Lincoln Center through the 2016 season when it was forced to liquidate its assets due to continued financial losses.
- September 7, 1982: New York State Theater re-opens after renovation to improve acoustics.
- August 3, 1987: Classical Jazz, Lincoln Center's first concert series devoted exclusively to jazz, begins in Alice Tully Hall.
- November 19, 1990: The Samuel B. and David Rose Building opens housing the Walter Reade Theater, the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, the Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Rehearsal Studio, the Clark Studio Theater, the School of American Ballet, Juilliard School student residences, and office space for a number of the member organizations.
- January 27, 1991: The Mozart Bicentennial at Lincoln Center opens with concerts held at Avery Fisher Hall and the Metropolitan Opera House, making it the world's largest and most comprehensive tribute to the life and works of Mozart.
- June 13, 1994: Beverly Sills is elected Chairman of the Board of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. She is the first woman and the first professional musician to be elected to this position, serving until May 1, 2002.
- January 18, 2001: The Lincoln Center Constituent Development Project is established to implement and oversee the comprehensive reconstruction, renovation, and modernization of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
- October 18, 2004: Jazz at Lincoln Center opens. The hall is made up of three theaters: the Rose Theater, the Allen Room, and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.
- March 20, 2006: Preliminary construction on the West 65th Street Project begins. The Promenade Project, a plan to renovate Josie Robertson Plaza and the Columbus Avenue frontage to the Lincoln Center campus, is announced.
- June 8, 2006: Lincoln Center announces plans to transform the nearby Harmony Atrium into a public space for the arts open to the public, neighbors, students, and center patrons.
- February 22, 2009: Alice Tully Hall reopens after redevelopment.
- September 30, 2009: Opening of the redesigned Charles H. Revson Fountain.
- October, 2009: A turfgrass roof is installed at Lincoln's Center North Plaza as a part of the organization's initiative to go green.
- May 21, 2010: Renovation plans of central and north plazas unveiled.
- June 4, 2012: Claire Tow Theater opens.
- October 1, 2012: The President's Bridge opens over West 65th Street.
- May 15, 2013: Jed Bernstein begins tenure as president.
- October 1, 2013: The New York City Opera files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization and ceases operation.
- October 9, 2014: Thirty-six solar panels are installed on the roof of Lincoln Center's Rose Building to continue the green initiative..
- September 24, 2015: Avery Fisher Hall renamed David Geffen Hall.
- January 22, 2016: The New York City Opera resumes performances in the Rose Theater.
- November 16, 2016: Debora Spar becomes Lincoln Center's first woman president after the sudden departure of Jed Bernstein.
- September 3, 2019: Allison Allen was hired as chief people officer, a newly created position to lead human resources functions with a core focus on implementation of LCPA's diversity, equity, and inclusion plan.
The development of the condominium at 3 Lincoln Center, completed in 1991, designed by Lee Jablin of Harman Jablin Architects, made possible the expansion of The Juilliard School and the School of American Ballet.
The center's cultural institutions also have since made use of facilities located away from the main campus. In 2004, the center expanded through the addition of Jazz at Lincoln Center's newly built facilities, the Frederick P. Rose Hall, at the new Time Warner Center, located a few blocks to the south. In March 2006, the center launched construction on a major redevelopment plan that modernized, renovated, and opened up its campus. Redevelopment was completed in 2012 with the completion of the President's Bridge over West 65th Street.
RenovationsWhen first announced in 1999, Lincoln Center's campuswide redevelopment was to cost $1.5 billion over 10 years and radically transform the campus. The center management held an architectural competition, won by the British architect Norman Foster in 2005, but did not approve a full scale redesign until 2012, in part because of the need to raise $300 million in construction costs and the New York Philharmonic's fear that it might lose audiences and revenue while it was displaced. Among the architects that have been involved were Frank Gehry; Cooper, Robertson & Partners; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Beyer Blinder Belle; Fox & Fowle; Olin Partnership; and Diller & Scofidio.
In March 2006, the center launched the 65th Street Project part of a major redevelopment plan continuing through the fall of 2012 to create a new pedestrian promenade designed to improve accessibility and the aesthetics of that area of the campus. Additionally, Alice Tully Hall was modernized and reopened to critical and popular acclaim in 2009 and the Film Society of Lincoln Center expanded with the new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. Topped by a sloping lawn roof, the film center is part of a new pavilion that also houses a destination restaurant named Lincoln, as well as offices. Subsequent projects were added which addressed improvements to the main plazas and Columbus Avenue Grand Stairs. Under the direction of the Lincoln Center Development Project, Diller Scofidio + Renfro in association with FXFOWLE Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects provided the design services. Additionally, Turner Construction Company and RCDolner, LLC were the construction managers for the projects. Another component to redevelopment was the addition of the David Rubenstein Atrium designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, a visitors' center and a gateway to the center that offers free performances, day-of-discount tickets, food, and free Wi-Fi.
ArchitectsArchitects who designed buildings at the center include:
- Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Public spaces, Hypar Pavilion and Lincoln Ristorante, The Juilliard School, Alice Tully Hall, School of American Ballet, Josie Robertson Plaza, Revson Fountain, President's Bridge and Infoscape
- Max Abramovitz: David Geffen Hall, original design of Josie Robertson Plaza
- Pietro Belluschi: The Juilliard School. Modified by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in association with FXFOWLE Architects
- Gordon Bunshaft: The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
- Wallace Harrison: the center's master plan, the Metropolitan Opera House, and original design of Josie Robertson Plaza
- Lee S Jablin: 3 Lincoln Center, the adjacent condominium built by a private developer
- Philip Johnson: New York State Theater, now known as the David H. Koch Theater, original design of Josie Robertson Plaza and original Revson Fountain
- Eero Saarinen: Vivian Beaumont Theater
- Davis, Brody and Associates: The Samuel B. and David Rose Building.
- Billie Tsien, Tod William: The David Rubenstein Atrium
- Hugh Hardy/H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture LLC: The Claire Tow Theater
- WET Design: Revson Fountain
- Nina Rappaport and Ken Smith
- Metropolitan Opera House: a 3,900-seat opera house; the home stage of the Metropolitan Opera; as well as List Hall
- David Geffen Hall : a 2,738-seat symphony hall; the home stage of the New York Philharmonic
- David H. Koch Theater : a 2,586-seat theater; constructed as the home of the New York City Ballet, it is also the former home of the New York City Opera and the Music Theater of Lincoln Center companies
- Alice Tully Hall: a 1,095-seat concert hall located within the Juilliard School building; the home stage of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
- Vivian Beaumont Theater: a 1,080-seat Broadway theater; operated since 1985 as the main stage of Lincoln Center Theater; previously occupied by The Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center and The New York Shakespeare Festival
- Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater : a 299-seat theater; operated by Lincoln Center Theater for its Off-Broadway-style productions
- The Walter Reade Theater: a 268-seat movie theater; used by the Film Society of Lincoln Center; features a raised dais used for post-screening filmmaker discussions
- Claire Tow Theater: a 131-seat theater operated by Lincoln Center Theater to house more experimental productions
- Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center: home to the Francesca Beale Theater, Howard Gilman Theater, and the Amphitheater
- Bruno Walter Auditorium at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
- The David Rubenstein Atrium: a facility on Broadway between 62nd and 63rd Streets; includes a public visitors' and discount-ticketing facility with amenities that include free performances and a café
- The Clark Studio Theater: a 120-seat dance theater; a part of the facilities of Lincoln Center Education
- Damrosch Park: an outdoor amphitheater with a bowl-style stage known as the Guggenheim Band Shell; used for free Lincoln Center Out of Doors presentations and with a special dance floor for Midsummer Night Swing.
- Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Rehearsal Studio
- Josie Robertson Plaza: the center's central plaza, featuring its iconic fountain; the three main buildings face onto this plaza; used as an outdoor venue during Lincoln Center Out of Doors presentations
- Juilliard School: a facility housing the school of the same name: building also incorporates Morse Recital Hall, Paul Recital Hall, the Juilliard Drama Theater and the Peter Jay Sharp Theater
- Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse: a nightclub-style venue; used for intimate concerts, "Meet the Artist" and Great Performers events, lectures, and other events where a small, intimate space is preferred; was also used for jazz performances prior to the construction of the new Jazz at Lincoln Center facilities
- Jazz at Lincoln Center: while a part of the center, it is located separately in the Frederick P. Rose Hall complex within the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. It consists of the following performance and related facilities:
- *: a 508-seat amphitheater with glass wall overlooking Central Park and Columbus circle; from 2011 to 2013, it was used as the studio for Anderson Live, a daytime-television talk show hosted by Anderson Cooper
- *: a nightclub-style venue that allows jazz to be performed in its traditional venue
- *: a 1,094-seat concert hall designed for jazz performances. Rose Theater is the largest performing space in the Lincoln center. It consists of three floors. The first floor is orchestra, the second floor is Mezzanine, and the third floor is balcony.
- *Irene Diamond Education Center: a rehearsal, recording and classroom facility
- Other outdoor venues include Hearst Plaza, Barclay's Capital Grove, and Broadway Plaza.
Resident organizationsThe center serves as home for twelve resident arts organizations:
- The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
- Film Society of Lincoln Center
- Jazz at Lincoln Center
- Juilliard School
- Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
- Lincoln Center Theater
- Metropolitan Opera
- New York City Ballet
- New York City Opera
- New York Philharmonic
- New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
- School of American Ballet
- Lincoln Center Education
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln CenterThe Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is, along with New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, Lincoln Center Theater, and the Metropolitan Opera, one of the eleven constituents of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Alice Tully Hall is the venue for the CMS activities since it opened in 1969.
There is a large variety of concerts and events for all kind of audiences; CMS’s commitment is to try to program chamber music dating from the Renaissance to our 21th Century. All this becomes true thanks to the magnificent roster of performing artists, composed by the world’s finest chamber musicians and, of course, to the leadership of both Co-artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han.
In an attempt to achieve international recognition and reach, the CMS has different season projects outside the country and a nationally televised broadcast, international radio series, regular broadcasts on SiriusXM and the possibility to enjoy live streamed performances on the CMS website.
Lincoln Center for the Performing ArtsLincoln Center for the Performing Arts is one of the twelve resident organizations, and serves three primary roles: presenter of artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community relations, and manager of the center's campus. As the world's largest presenter of performing arts offering some 5,000 programs, initiatives and events annually, its programs include American Songbook, Great Performers, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Midsummer Night Swing, the Mostly Mozart Festival, Target Free Thursdays, the White Light Festival and the Emmy Award–winning Live from Lincoln Center.
In July 2006, the LCPA announced it would join with publishing company John Wiley & Sons to publish at least 15 books on performing arts, and would draw on the Lincoln Center Institute's educational background and archives.
Jazz at Lincoln CenterIn 1987, Classical Jazz had their first jazz concert series and jazz division was created with Wynton Marsalis. He was the artistic director of JALC and also the music director of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra in 1996. This ensemble performs classic jazz works as well as premiere new pieces. The orchestra performed many new compositions from composers such as Benny Carter, Benny Golson, Geri Allen, Marcus Roberts, Melba Liston, and John Lewis. There are well known performances from famous jazz musicians like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, and Chales Mingus.
The LCJO first toured in Europe of 1995, then to Russia, China, Taiwan, Japan and Australasia. In USA spring of 2000, there was a tour for a program of jazz and dance.
Cultural Innovation FundLincoln Center Cultural Innovation Fund is the first of its kind as a grant program that seeks to make the arts accessible to all people, focusing on those who live in some of New York City's poorest neighborhoods. Partnering with the Rockefeller Foundation, the new pilot grant program offers one-time grants to non-profit organizations to provide cultural activities in these communities in the diverse neighborhoods of Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx. Each of the 12 grantees will receive support and financial backing for their project based on organizational budget size. These are one-year long projects, and grant amounts range from $50,000-$100,000. The over-all goal of the program is to support non-profit organizations in creating cultural innovative strategies that cultivate participation in the arts as well as increase the range and availability of cultural activities to underserved communities.
- 200 Amsterdam
- American Express
- Bank of America
- BNY Mellon
- First Republic Bank
- Holland America
- Mitsubishi Corporation
- Mitsui & Co., Inc.
- Morgan Stanley
- Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal U.S.A., Inc.
- Sumitomo Corporation of America
- Zabar’s and Zabars.com
- The Walt Disney Company
In popular cultureLincoln Center is featured in multiple works of art and media. Examples include:
- A Thousand Clowns, Shown while under construction
- No Way to Treat a Lady, in which Kate Palmer works there as a tour guide
- The Producers, in which the theatrical producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom meet at the Revson Fountain to discuss their scheme to defraud their investors; the climax of the scene is provided by the eruption of the plaza's fountain while Bloom dances around
- Ghostbusters, Peter meets Dana by the fountain after her rehearsal with a guest conductor
- Pitch Perfect, in which the final competition takes place at Lincoln Center
- ', in which a shootout takes place in the plaza before moving into the Subway
- The King of Queens: Main characters Doug and Carrie Heffernan attend a cello concert in the Season 1 episode "Cello, Goodbye".