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New York City’s Lincoln Center will remove Avery Fisher‘s name from its concert hall and resell the naming rights to help finance a $500 million renovation, officials said Thursday.
The renovation scheduled to start in 2019 was announced after the Fisher family agreed to accept $15 million to drop the name from the hall where the New York Philharmonic plays.
“It will be an opportunity for a major name on a great New York jewel,” said Lincoln Center chairwoman Katherine Farley, who said “meaningful conversations” with prospective donors have not started yet.
One precedent close at hand is the former New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, renamed the David H. Koch Theater in 2008 after the oil-and-gas billionaire pledged $100 million.
Avery Fisher Hall was named after Fisher, a violinist and high-fidelity pioneer who founded the Fisher Radio Company, after he financed an earlier renovation in 1973. Fisher died in 1994, and his family had earlier threatened legal action if the concert hall was renamed.
Under the agreement reached with Fisher’s three children, the renovated concert hall will feature prominent tributes to Fisher and the family will stay involved, said Lincoln Center president Jed Bernstein.
Fisher’s children, Nancy Fisher, Charles Avery Fisher and Barbara Fisher Snow, said in a statement released by Lincoln Center, “We are committed to preserving the future of classical music in New York City, and recognize that Avery Fisher Hall must be rebuilt in order to preserve what we treasure.”
They added, “While our family enjoyed over 40 years of our father’s gift being highly visible, it is now time to relinquish that spotlight and allow growth and change at Lincoln Center. We are very pleased with Lincoln Center’s plans to maintain Avery Fisher’s legacy, exemplified by his great love for classical music and musicians.”
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Officials said the revamped concert venue will include a new Lincoln Center Hall of Fame that will celebrate all of the performing arts. Bernstein said the Hall of Fame will feature interactive displays similar to those at the Sept. 11 Museum or the Holocaust Museum in Washington. “It’s something that if we do it right will engage young audiences,” he said.
Avery Fisher Hall was not part of the $1.2 billion renovation of other facilities at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts that was completed in 2012.
The concert hall’s renovation will displace the Philharmonic for two seasons, officials said.
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