1, 2, 3 at 96th St.
Neither a concert hall nor a conventional arts complex, this Upper West Side institution was originally dreamed up and created by locals to showcase the talents of the same. The enterprise started in 1978, when founders Isaiah Sheffer and Allan Miller mounted a free, all-day Bach festival in the old Symphony movie house. Its success inspired the duo to eventually take over the space and look beyond their community roots. Annual music marathons honoring artists as varied as Stephen Sondheim, Duke Ellington and Joni Mitchell; short story readings featuring Hollywood heavies like William Hurt and Anjelica Huston; and the Joycean celebration Bloomsday on Broadway have done much to make Symphony Space an important mark on the city’s cultural map. Adding luster are regular renters such as the World Music Institute and the NY Gilbert and Sullivan Society. In the late nineties, the air rights over the theater were sold to boost the endowment and provide for an almost complete renovation. The main auditorium, the 760-seat Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, underwent a major overhaul that managed to keep the quirky architecture and excellent acoustics intact. Around the corner, the adjoining Thalia movie theater was gutted and reconfigured as a multi-purpose performance venue.Special Offerings
The Curriculum Arts Project is an essential part of this organization's community outreach. The program brings artists and performances into the classroom, and provides opportunities for students to visit Symphony Space and other cultural institutions.