Orchestra of St. Luke's to Open The DiMenna Center for Classical Music Today


America's foremost chamber orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, will begin a new chapter in its 36-year history when it opens The DiMenna Center for Classical Music on March 8, 2011. Designed by renowned architecture firm H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture with acoustic design by Akustiks, the new $37 million acoustically-optimized facility will provide the classical music world with an essential new resource for rehearsal, recording and learning.

The DiMenna Center will serve as Orchestra of St. Luke's first permanent home-offering rehearsal and recording spaces for Orchestra of St. Luke's distinguished musicians and housing the organization's administrative offices. Located on the west side of midtown Manhattan in a building that is also home to the Baryshnikov Arts Center, the 20,000+ square foot DiMenna Center will provide a crucial resource for local and touring musicians who, up until now, have lacked adequate, affordable rehearsal and recording space due to rising real estate prices in New York City.

Throughout its first year, The DiMenna Center will host open rehearsals, community concerts and expanded education programs for Orchestra of St. Luke's, along with a multitude of other musical organizations. The DiMenna Center can accommodate activities ranging in scope from individual and small-group practices to full-orchestra recordings and webcasts that can reach a global audience. The space, acoustics and technical capabilities provided by The DiMenna Center will help Orchestra of St. Luke's and a range of other musicians rehearse, record and connect with one another in a way that will further elevate the music they present to the public.

"It is wonderful to see The DiMenna Center take shape-bringing into reality the long-held dream of a first-class rehearsal, recording and learning facility for Orchestra of St. Luke's and all the musicians that work in New York," said Orchestra of St. Luke's President and Executive Director Katy Clark. "Our outstanding musicians truly deserve a space that measures up to their excellence. We are profoundly grateful to Joe and Diana DiMenna, the City of New York, Victor Elmaleh, the Mary Cary Flagler Trust and so many others for making this project possible, and we are particularly thankful to Orchestra of St. Luke's Co-Founder and President Emeritus Marianne Lockwood for possessing the vision and determination to make this project a reality."

"I would like to add my gratitude to everyone who understood the need, saw the potential and supported the dream of The DiMenna Center," said Orchestra of St. Luke's Co-Founder and President Emeritus Marianne Lockwood.

The DiMenna Center is named after Joe and Diana DiMenna in honor of their leadership and dedication to Orchestra of St. Luke's. "We are delighted to help build Orchestra of St. Luke's first official home, and to make it a premiere location for classical music. The DiMenna Center will provide a much-needed base to classical music groups from around the world, create greater opportunities for educational programming and community access, and will help maintain classical music as a thriving New York cultural offering for future generations," said Joe DiMenna, a trustee of the Orchestra of St. Luke's.

The DiMenna Center will play a central role in developing New York City's Hell's Kitchen/Clinton neighborhood-enabling Orchestra of St. Luke's to present additional music outreach and education initiatives to the local community. Orchestra of St. Luke's will utilize The DiMenna Center to expand and enhance the programs it offers to New York City public school children and community organizations.

"The DiMenna Center for Classical Music is a vital new resource for New York City's cultural community, providing affordable, high-quality rehearsal space tailored to the needs of our many orchestral ensembles and musicians," said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin. "Under the superb leadership of the Orchestra of St. Luke's, this public-private partnership helps ensure that New York remains an international destination for artists and audiences devoted to classical music."

"The DiMenna Center represents the union of significant public and private support, an outstanding project team and a forward-thinking Board of Directors, who, together, have realized this very important project. I am honored to lead Orchestra of St. Luke's at this galvanizing moment in their history. The DiMenna Center is a triumph for the future of classical music," said Orchestra of St. Luke's Board Chairman Norman S. Benzaquen.

Architecture & Acoustics


Addressing the varied needs of musicians and providing a place where they can connect, listen, practice and refine their craft, The DiMenna Center will boast a large orchestra rehearsAl Hall, a chamber orchestra rehearsAl Hall, a chamber ensemble room, a green room, two artist studios, a learning and media center, a musicians' lounge and café, a music library, resource center and instrument storage facilities. The DiMenna Center's centerpiece is the Mary Flagler Cary Hall-a large hall that can accommodate rehearsals and recording sessions for a full symphony orchestra plus chorus.

"The design of The DiMenna Center for Classical Music reflects the facility's stature in New York City's cultural landscape," said Hugh Hardy, FAIA, Founding Partner of H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture.

"Working closely with Orchestra of St. Luke's, we based design decisions on the need to blend professional-level acoustic quality with an environment that welcomes musicians and provides a place for collaboration and connection," said Geoff Lynch, AIA, LEED AP, Partner, H3.


The DiMenna Center will achieve optimum acoustics in challenging surroundings. Located in midtown Manhattan, the building sits nearby the Lincoln Tunnel and below the dance studios of Baryshnikov Arts Center. Spaces are designed to eliminate outside noise within the multi-story building. The main rehearsal rooms feature a "box-in-a-box" construction, with each room floating on pads and springs inside an acoustic isolation box made of concrete and concrete block.

The spaces at The DiMenna Center replicate a concert hall by incorporating articulated surfaces, wood floors and other materials to create a warm, welcoming environment that blends and sustains sound. To minimize materials usage, all of the visible materials serve both an aesthetic and acoustic purpose.

The DiMenna Center's acoustician, Akustiks, is one of the world's leading acoustical firms, having designed the acclaimed Schermerhorn Hall in Nashville and supervised the highly-successful renovations of Cleveland's famed Severance Hall. "Orchestra of St. Luke's made acoustics a priority from the very beginning of this project. Their commitment to creating a world-class facility will benefit their own musicians and the many musicians who will use these rehearsal and recording facilities for years to come," said Akustiks Principal Russ Todd.

A/V & Recording Capabilities

The DiMenna Center will provide state-of-the-art recording connectivity. Each room is outfitted with multiple analog and digital connections for multi-track recording from the control room. These connections are compatible with current technology and anticipate future technological advancements. All rooms have all been outfitted with fiber optics to enable audio/visual and film recording and provide both transformer-isolated A/C power and wireless Internet. Background Noise Coefficients are consistent with professional recording standards.

"Green" design

The DiMenna Center is tracking LEED-CI Platinum certification (minimum Gold certification), making it one of the most energy and resource efficient facilities in the country. The project team carefully considered all design elements from a sustainability point of view-from the selection of high-performance, environmentally-friendly materials to the allocation and distribution of existing seats and the design of appropriate, quiet and efficient building systems.


The Mary Flagler Cary Hall and Norman S. Benzaquen Hall feature both off-hours lighting and efficient, concert hall-quality lighting achieved through a zoned, flexible blend of quartz halogen and metAl Halllide. In spaces not used for rehearsals, a fully-metAl Hallide system allows for minimal energy usage. A skylight brings natural light into the Mary Flagler Cary Hall when desired. Lobbies contain warm tungsten halogen fixtures with daylight sensors to allow in natural light.

Opening Festivities

Opening day: March 8, 2011

Orchestra of St. Luke's will host opening day activities that showcase the building's state-of-the-art capabilities and salute the project's many donors and contributors. Events will include a press preview and breakfast, the official ribbon-cutting and a DiMenna Center open house. The day's celebrations will conclude with a free community concert by the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble in the Cary Hall.

Orchestra of St. Luke's $50 million "Fund for the Future" capital and endowment campaign supports the purchase, renovation and operations of The DiMenna Center, as well as special endowment funds for Orchestra of St. Luke's artistic initiatives, arts education programs and general operating expenses.

Currently, Orchestra of St. Luke's has raised over $33 million of the $50 million Fund for the Future goal, with over $27 million toward the $36 million needed for The DiMenna Center. The Fund for the Future campaign, which began in 2008, is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. Leadership gifts have come from Joe and Diana DiMenna, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Victor Elmaleh, Virginia James, Norman S. Benzaquen and the family of Charles Grossman, as well as $8.5 million from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Manhattan Borough President's office.


About Orchestra of St. Luke's

Now entering its 36th year, Orchestra of St. Luke's is America's foremost and most versatile chamber orchestra. Dedicated to engaging audiences throughout New York City and beyond, Orchestra of St. Luke's performs approximately 75 orchestral, chamber and educational concerts each year-including an annual chamber music series at The Morgan Library & Museum, Brooklyn Museum and Dia:Beacon and an orchestra series at Carnegie Hall. Orchestra of St. Luke's collaborates regularly with the world's great artists, such as Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman, Anna Netrebko, Mark Morris Dance Group, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Elton John and many more. Committed to community-building, St. Luke's produces free concerts in each of the five boroughs and has engaged more than one million children through its arts education programs. Orchestra of St. Luke's stellar 70+ discography includes four acclaimed releases on its own label, St. Luke's Collection and four Grammy Award-winning recordings. For Orchestra of St. Luke's calendar of events, tickets and more information, visit OSLmusic.org.

About H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture

Founded in 2004, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture is a collaborative community of design professionals guided by celebrated architect Hugh Hardy, FAIA and five partners. With a legacy of 40 years of experience planning and designing cultural institutions in New York City, H3 is dedicated to creation of memorable and engaging public places that contribute to vibrant cultural life. In addition to The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, H3's current work includes Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3, Theater for a New Audience's new home in Brooklyn and Brooklyn Academy Of Music's new Richard B. Fisher Building. For more information, visit www.h3hc.com.