Lincoln Center Launches 50th Anniversary Celebration At The Starr Theater 5/11

Lincoln Center Launches 50th Anniversary Celebration At The Starr Theater 5/11

Today, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts officially launches a yearlong celebration of its 50th Anniversary with a commemorative ceremony in the Starr Theater at Alice Tully Hall. Hosted by renowned journalist and author Tom Brokaw, the program pays tribute to the many achievements and contributions of Lincoln Center, from the milestones of its past half century to the transformation of its campus. Celebrating the past and looking ahead to a new generation, the program includes appearances by established and upcoming artists affiliated with Lincoln Center, with remarks by institutional leadership and elected officials. In a special performance, members of the New York Philharmonic, conducted by music director designate Alan Gilbert, are recreating the Philharmonic's historic performance of Aaron Copland's Fanfare for The Common Man from Lincoln Center's 1959 groundbreaking with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Also scheduled to participate are: Senator Charles E. Schumer, Governor David A. Paterson, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Chairman, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; Broadway and TV star, soprano Audra McDonald; violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, with alumni of the Perlman Music Program; world-famous jazz musician and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center; with members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Philanthropist David Rockefeller, whose brother, the late John D. Rockefeller 3rd, spearheaded the campaign to create Lincoln Center, will be in The Audience, as will members of the New York Philharmonic who played at the 1959 groundbreaking and students from the first graduating class of High School for Arts, Imagination and Inquiry, which is affiliated with the Lincoln Center Institute.

The entire event is being streamed live onto Lincoln Center's website,, and on the evening of May 11, the Tower Lights of the Empire State Building will be lit in Lincoln Center's 50th Anniversary colors of magenta and orange.

Fifty years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower wielded his shovel at the official groundbreaking of Lincoln Center, the nation's first major cultural complex. Since that time, Lincoln Center, with its 12 resident organizations, has become the world's largest performing arts center and has pioneered the concept of a performing arts campus as A Catalyst for urban renewal. It has become a model for performing arts centers around the world and has contributed to the cultural and economic evolution of the city, the state, and the nation.

"It is with great excitement that we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Lincoln Center," said Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Chairman, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. "We celebrate Lincoln Center's glorious past and the extraordinary promise of an institution that is in the midst of the most profound and impactful changes in its history. Since its founding, Lincoln Center has served tens of millions of people, and soon its revitalized campus will attract even more visitors and encourage them to come more often and stay longer."

"This is truly a transformative time for Lincoln Center - both artistically and institutionally," said Reynold Levy, President, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. "Transformative, not just because we are renovating our halls and upgrading our public spaces, but also because we are completely reimagining what a performing arts center can be for today's world, just as the founders did 50 years ago."

Said Governor Paterson, "New York is the cultural capital of the world and Lincoln Center embodies the best that our city and state has to offer. For fifty years, Lincoln Center has served as a premiere destination for patrons from around the world and its recent transformation will ensure that it remains that way for another fifty years. Lincoln Center is more than just a performing arts center; it has long served as an economic engine for New York and a model for cultural institutions across our country. I am truly pleased to celebrate this milestone and I urge New Yorkers to take advantage of the fantastic 50th Anniversary programming that Lincoln Center will offer throughout 2009 and beyond."

"Lincoln Center has contributed to New York City and America's culture like no other performing arts center in the nation," said Senator Schumer. "I am so proud to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Lincoln Center and the contribution it has made to the performing arts. I know that the future will be as bright as the past been has been for Lincoln Center."

The Anniversary celebration coincides with the ongoing physical transformation of Lincoln Center, designed by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro in association with FXFOWLE, which is making the 16-acre campus a more open, accessible and vibrant urban destination. The "Dancing in Air Studios" at the School of American Ballet and Alice Tully Hall have been completed. In addition, a new Visitors Space designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects will be completed this fall, offering a lively community gathering place with a staffed visitor information desk, free performances, a café, restrooms, free internet access, and discounted tickets for available Lincoln center performances.

Among the other redevelopment highlights are: the ongoing redesign and expansion of the 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; 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; and the addition of 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. The overall redevelopment initiative has been designed to renovate, modernize, and open up Lincoln Center to the benefit of virtually all of its artists, students, and visitors. For more information, go to

The May 11 commemorative event begins an exciting year of special events and performances, premieres, commissions, education initiatives, free community events, displays, screenings, lectures and publications heralding Lincoln Center's 50th Anniversary. A complete schedule with full details is available at

50th Anniversary Events

In a specially created edition of Lincoln Center at Times Center: Times Talks, Lincoln Center leadership and artists are exploring relevant arts-related topics with New York Times journalists in a series of three Talks, the first of which took place on May 4, 2009, with André Bishop, director Bartlett Sher, actress Cherry Jones and playwright John Guare from Lincoln Center Theater.

From May 6 to 23, the award-winning national oral history project, StoryCorps®, is bringing its signature Airstream MobileBooth, outfitted with a recording studio, to the Lincoln Center campus, enabling members of the community to share memories of their lives, including those that illuminate the personal significance and impact of Lincoln Center and its history. It is the first time the MobileBooth has ever come to Manhattan.

On June 9, virtuoso cellist and composer Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble are performing in a free concert that also is being broadcast nationally to millions as part of the Live From Lincoln Center series. Located in Damrosch Park, the concert is the first to be held in the newly upgraded Guggenheim Bandshell, built in 1969.
Live From Lincoln Center is made possible by a major grant from MetLife.

Also free is Lincoln Center's Meet the Artist series, which in July, August and September is traveling to New York Public libraries in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island for the first time. The program combines performance, participation and education to provide family audiences with an opportunity to experience the arts firsthand with world-class artists.

Major support for the Meet the Artist School Series is provided by International Flavors & Fragrances and Betty and John Levin.

On view from October 15, 2009 to January 16, 2010 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center: Celebrating 50 Years is the first major exhibit to explore the origins, development and impact of Lincoln Center. Curated by Thomas Mellins, co-author of New York: 1960, the exhibition focuses on various themes, among them urban fabric and urban renewal; architecture; larger than life personalities; once in a lifetime performances; technology; and education, training artists and growing the arts. Mr. Mellins explores key exhibition themes in a lecture titled Lincoln Center: Culture New York Style, on October 15, 2009, in the Bruno Walter Auditorium. Sponsored by The Bank of New York Mellon.

In addition, Target Free Thursdays, a free performance series, will begin in November in the newly opened Visitors Space at Lincoln Center. The program includes presentations of performances by break-out artists, student ensembles, community talent and artists drawn from Lincoln Center's resident organizations.

50th Anniversary Performances

June 8 - Lincoln Center Theater opens its annual Songwriting in the Schools celebration to the general public. The performance is the culmination of a 9-session residency in which middle and high school students are guided by professional lyricists and composers, through the rigorous creative process of writing their own songs. Selected songs are being performed in stage-reading style by Broadway stars.

July 8 - Midsummer Night Swing presents Chubby Checker in a Twist party celebrating 50 years of "dancing apart to the beat."

Sponsored by American Ballroom Company and Bloomberg.

July 9, 10 and 11 - Lincoln Center Festival presents Shen Wei Dance Arts in Re - (I, II, III), the first New York performance of the complete triptych. Part III, The New Silk Road, a New York premiere, was commissioned for the 50th Anniversary.

Lincoln Center Festival09 is sponsored by American Express. Shen Wei Dance Arts is sponsored by Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc.

July 11 - Midsummer Night Swing presents the Big 3 Palladium Orchestra's tribute to the classic mambo of Tito Rodriguez, Machito and Tito Puente.

July 14, 16 and 17 - Lincoln Center Festival presents new works by Emanuel Gat Dance, featuring the North American premiere of Gat's latest short work Silent Ballet and the New York premiere of Winter Variations.

Lincoln Center Festival09 is sponsored by American Express. Emanuel Gat Dance is sponsored by Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A., Inc.

August 5 - Lincoln Center Out of Doors celebrates its opening night with a free performance of The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out @ 50 plus special guest Simon Shaheen and the New York debut of Amir ElSaffar's Two Rivers Large Ensemble.

Sponsored by Bloomberg and PepsiCo, Inc.

August 5-9 - Lincoln Center Out of Doors presents the world premiere of the Asphalt Orchestra in collaboration with Bang on a Can in a series of new wave marching band performances featuring works commissioned from Goran Bregovic, Tyondai Braxton, and Stew and Heidi Rodewald.

August 9 and 10 - Mostly Mozart Festival presents the Chamber Orchestra of Europe led by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who is serving as both conductor and soloist in two Alice Tully Hall programs that showcase his expertise in a repertoire that ranges from Classical to contemporary.

August 13, 14 and 16 - Mostly Mozart Festival presents the New York premiere of John Adams' A Flowering Tree. Adams conducts three performances of this two-act opera/, with a cast of American singers, the production's original Schola Cantorum de Venezuela choir, and the Orchestra of St. Luke's, set against a rich tapestry of Indonesian dancers and costumes. Director Peter Sellars and Adams wrote the libretto together-their sixth collaboration-with inspiration from Mozart's final opera, The Magic Flute, and its themes of magic, transformation, and morality.

A Flowering Tree is made possible in part by Endowment Support from the American Express Cultural Preservation Fund.

August 19-22 - Mostly Mozart Festival presents the New York premieres of two dance works by the Mark Morris Dance Group featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, and violinist Colin Jacobsen-Empire Garden is set to Ives' Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano and Visitation to Beethoven's Cello Sonata in C major.

Made possible in part by The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc. Sponsored by J.C.C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York.

July 3-5 - The Film Society of Lincoln Center presents a 50-hour movie marathon of such classic film musicals as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and An American in Paris. .

October 8 - The Juilliard School presents a chamber music concert commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Juilliard building's opening at Lincoln Center in 1969 featuring music of distinguished composers associated with the school, including past Presidents William Schuman and Peter Mennin.

November 13 and 14 - Lincoln Center presents Pictures Reframed, a collaboration between pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and visual artist Robin Rhode to create a new experience of Mussorgsky's classic Pictures at an Exhibition.

Sponsored by EMC2.

January 31-February 23, 2010 - The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents Beethoven's complete quartet, cello sonata, and violin sonata cycles in ten concerts. Performers include the entire roster of former CMS Two quartets, Artistic Directors David Finckel and Wu Han, and additional Chamber Music Society artists.

February 4, 5, 6, 2010 - The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra reprises its commission by JLCO saxophonist Ted Nash, "Portrait in Seven Shades," along with other newly commissioned works.

April 12, 2010 -- The New York Philharmonic presents a special concert with Alan Gilbert conducting The Juilliard Orchestra featuring music commemorating the 50th Anniversary.

April 16 and 17, 2010 - Jazz at Lincoln Center presents a "Fats Waller Festival," a series of concerts celebrating the 105th birthday of the legendary pianist, singer, composer, and New Yorker.

Spring 2010 -- New York City Ballet honors its extraordinary legacy as one of the world's most creative arts organizations by presenting several world premiere ballets featuring musical scores commissioned especially for the occasion.

Spring 2010 - The School of American Ballet celebrates its long history at Lincoln Center with three public Workshop Performances showcasing some of the nation's most promising young ballet talents.

2009-2010 season - The Metropolitan Opera presents 17 operas that have been in the company repertory for 50 years or more. One of these-Puccini's Tosca-opens the season in a new production starring Karita Mattila and conducted by Met Music Director James Levine. The Met honors Lincoln Center during the 2009-10 season with exhibitions of costumes from important productions from the past 50 years and with radio and editorial tributes to important figures-from artists to Board members-who have been involved with the company for half a century or more.

2009-2010 season - New York City Opera re-opens the newly renovated David H. Koch Theater and celebrates 50 Years at Lincoln Center with signature productions that have helped build the company's legacy of making opera accessible to all New Yorkers.

50th Anniversary Education Initiatives
May 7 - Lincoln Center is holding a Resource Fair for educators from the tri-state area, highlighting the wide variety of arts education resources offered by all of Lincoln Center's resident organizations. A specially designed education resource poster, detailing critical information and contacts for all Lincoln Center educational programs, is being produced in conjunction with the Fair and distributed to educators.

Brought to you by Chase.

June 27 - Lincoln Center is awarding $100,000 in scholarships to graduates of its High School for Arts, Imagination and Inquiry (HSAII) over four years, beginning with the school's first graduating class in June. The HSAII, which opened in September 2005, infuses its interdisciplinary curriculum with experience in and reflective study of the arts and utilizes the resources of Lincoln Center Institute and its teaching artists.

Brought to you by Chase.

2009-2010 school year - Lincoln Center Institute is presenting The Black Rock Coalition's tribute concert to Nina Simone to student groups, grades K-12. The Black Rock Coalition is a collective of artists, writers, producers, publicists, activists and music fans assembled to maximize exposure and provide resources for African-American artists.

2009-2010 school year - Lincoln Center Institute leads 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.

50th Anniversary Displays, Screenings and Lectures

May 1 - The Empire State Building dedicates its ground floor lobby display space to Lincoln Center, highlighting images and objects from Lincoln Center's exciting 50-year history. On the evening of May 11, the Empire State Building's Tower Lights are being lit in Lincoln Center's 50th Anniversary colors of magenta and orange.

May 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31, 1 p.m. - The Paley Center for Media screens a selection of rare Lincoln Center television programs never released commercially.

· May 16, Lincoln Center Day (1963), The Bell Telephone Hour: The New Met: Countdown to Curtain (1966)

· May 17, Opening Night at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts: Philharmonic Hall (1962), Early commercials for Lincoln Center

· May 23, The Theatre of Tomorrow: A Report on the Repertory Company of Lincoln Center (1963), Opening Night of the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (1964)

· May 24, Repeat of May 16 program

· May 30, Repeat of May 17 program

· May 31, Juilliard Comes to Lincoln Center: A Dedication Concert (1969)

In the fall, a seminar at the Paley Center examines the diverse ways in which the artistic companies of Lincoln Center have used media over the past 50 years, as well as the new ways the arts use television, radio, film and digital media.

June 1- 21 - In the second floor public gallery space at Time Warner Center, Lincoln Center presents 30 rarely seen works by contemporary artists from the Lincoln Center List Poster and Print Program, which commissions leading visual artists to create posters and prints in tribute to Lincoln Center. Artists include Josef Albers, Chuck Close, HeLen Frankenthaler, Sol LeWitt, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, among others.

This special 50th Anniversary exhibit is sponsored by Altria Group, Inc.

June 8-23 - Bergdorf Goodman salutes Lincoln Center's 50th Anniversary with its renowned window displays along its 5th Avenue store frontage.

November 5 - A New York Historical Society lecture with Barry Lewis traces the evolution of Lincoln Center's Upper West Side surroundings, starting with the 18th century. Lewis, an architectural historian and teacher at Cooper Union and the New School of Interior Design, hosts a popular series of walking tours on PBS.

December 3 - The New York Public Library presents a lecture by Alan Pally with video excerpts: A Very Lively Art: Producing Public Programs at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

February 8, 2010 -- The New York Public Library presents a lecture by Joseph Polisi, President of The Juilliard School: At Least at Juilliard There Was Music: William Schuman at Lincoln Center.

50th Anniversary Publications

May - The elegant, full-color coffee table book, Art at Lincoln Center: The Public Art and List Print and Poster Collections, by Charles Riley II, is the fifth installment in the LCPA/Wiley series of books. It is a comprehensive look at Lincoln Center's acclaimed visual arts collections. Important artworks by Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Henry Moore and Jasper Johns, among others, are part of Lincoln Center's renowned collection.

July - Lincoln Center Theater is producing a double issue of The Lincoln Center Theater Review devoted to a history of 50 years of theater at Lincoln Center. Highlights of the special issue include an article by Ethan Hawke, an interview with Hugh Hardy on the architecture of the Beaumont Theater, as well as reminiscences about Lincoln Center Theater from Royal National Theater Artistic Directors Peter Hall, Trevor Nunn, Richard Eyre and Nicholas Hytner.

October -- Imagination First, a new book by Lincoln Center Institute Executive Director Scott Noppe-Brandon and best-selling author Eric Liu, who served as deputy domestic policy adviser under President Clinton, connects the need for imaginative education to society's need for innovative leaders.

50TH Anniversary Year-Long Initiatives

May 1 - launched with several new Anniversary elements, including an interactive, multimedia timeline animating the historic milestones of Lincoln Center's 12 resident organizations over the past five decades.

Ongoing - Throughout the Anniversary year, contributors from all over the world are invited to send in memories, images, videos, and audio of favorite moments, performances, and events at Lincoln Center over the past 50 years to Lincoln Center's "Digital Time Capsule" on

Ongoing - Nationally televised Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts are highlighting Lincoln Center's 50th Anniversary throughout the year.

Live From Lincoln Center is made possible by a major grant from MetLife.

Ongoing - The Lincoln Center List Fine Art Poster and Print Program commissions a 50th Anniversary series of fine print editions and handmade collectible posters created by such artists as Vija Celmins, Jim Dine, HeLen Frankenthaler, Malcolm Morley, Jill Moser, Richard Serra, and Terry Winters.

50th Anniversary Artist Committee

Lincoln Center has formed a 50th Anniversary Artist Committee of performing artists from across several disciplines representing the exceptional and essential contributions that artists have made to Lincoln Center over the past 50 years, and will continue to make into the future. Current 50th Anniversary Artist Committee members include: Emanuel Ax, Trisha Brown, Kristin Chenoweth, Victoria Clark, Barbara Cook, David Finckel and Wu Han, Renée Fleming, Alan Gilbert, James Levine, Wynton Marsalis, Peter Martins, Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Peter Sellars, Dawn Upshaw, and Deborah Voigt

Lincoln Center 50th Anniversary Committee

Ann Ziff and Thomas Renyi, 50th Anniversary Committee Co-Chairs, and committee members Barbara Block, Diane M. Coffey, Stephanie George, Rita E. Hauser, Nathan Leventhal, Peter L. Malkin, Raymond J. McGuire, Daisy M. Soros and Laurie M. Tisch.

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) serves three primary roles: presenter of superb artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community relations, and manager of the Lincoln Center campus. As a presenter of over 400 events annually, LCPA's programs include American Songbook, Great Performers, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Midsummer Night Swing, the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Live From Lincoln Center. In addition, LCPA is leading a series of major capital projects on behalf of the resident organizations across the campus.

Lincoln Center is committed to providing and improving accessibility for people with disabilities. For information, call the Department of Programs and Services for People with Disabilities at (212) 875-5375.