BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building (2013)
|Address||30 Lafayette Avenue (Peter Jay Sharp)|
651 Fulton Street (Harvey)
321 Ashland Place (Fisher)
|Location||Brooklyn, New York|
|Public transit|| at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center|
at Fulton Street
at Lafayette Avenue
|Type||Performing arts center|
|Capacity||Howard Gilman Opera House: 2,109|
Lepercq Space: 350
Harvey Theater: 874
Fishman Space: 250
Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
|Location||30 Lafayette Avenue|
Brooklyn, New York City
|Architect||Herts & Tallant|
|Architectural style||Renaissance Revival|
|NRHP reference #||06000251|
|Added to NRHP||May 2, 2006|
The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is a performing arts venue in Brooklyn, New York City, known as a center for progressive and avant garde performance. It presented its first performance in 1861 and began operations in its present location in 1908.
Founded in 1861, the first BAM facility at 176-194 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights was conceived as the home of the Philharmonic Society of Brooklyn. The building, designed by architect Leopold Eidlitz, housed a large theater seating 2,109, a smaller concert hall, dressing and chorus rooms, and a vast "baronial" kitchen. BAM presented amateur and professional music and theater productions, including performers such as Ellen Terry, Edwin Booth, and Fritz Kreisler.
After the building burned to the ground on November 30, 1903, plans were made to relocate to a new facility in the then fashionable neighborhood of Fort Greene. The cornerstone was laid at 30 Lafayette Avenue in 1906 and a series of opening events were held in the fall of 1908 culminating with a grand gala evening featuring Geraldine Farrar and Enrico Caruso in a Metropolitan Opera production of Charles Gounod's Faust. The Met would continue to present seasons in Brooklyn, featuring star singers such as Caruso until 1921.
BAM is adjacent to downtown Brooklyn, near the Long Island Rail Road's Atlantic Terminal, the Barclays Center arena, and the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower, once the tallest building in Brooklyn. BAM is part of the Brooklyn Cultural District.
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In 1967, Harvey Lichtenstein was appointed executive director and during the 32 years that Lichtenstein was BAM's leader, BAM experienced a renaissance. BAM is recognized internationally as a progressive, multi-venue cultural center well known for the Next Wave Festival, started in 1983. From 1999, BAM was headed by Karen Brooks Hopkins, president until 2015, and Joseph V. Melillo was executive producer through 2018.
Artists who have presented their works there include Philip Glass, Trisha Brown, Peter Brook, Pina Bausch, Merce Cunningham, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Laurie Anderson, Lee Breuer, ETHEL, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Steve Reich, Seal, Mark Morris, Alice in Chains, Robert Wilson, Peter Sellars, BLACKstreet, Ingmar Bergman, Ralph Lemon, Ivo van Hove, and the Mariinsky Theater, directed and conducted by Valery Gergiev, among others. Lichtenstein gave a home to the Chelsea Theater Center, in residence from 1967-77. Another regular event is BAMcinemaFest, a festival focusing on independent films.
BAM's facilities include:
The Peter Jay Sharp Building houses the Howard Gilman Opera House and the BAM Rose Cinemas (formerly the Carey Playhouse). It was designed by the firm Herts & Tallant in 1908. It is a "U" shaped building with an open court in the center of the lot between two theater wings above the first story. The building has a high base of gray granite with cream colored brick trimmed in terra cotta with some marble detail above. It is located within the Fort Greene Historic District. The Howard Gilman Opera House has 2,109 seats and BAM Rose Cinemas, which opened in 1998, comprises four screens, and shows first-run, independent and repertory films and series.
Also within the Peter Jay Sharp Building is the Lepercq Space, originally a ballroom, now a flexible event space, the BAMcafé, open on nights when there is a performance in the Opera House, and Hillman Attic Studio, a flexible rehearsal/performing space.
The BAM Harvey Theater, formerly known as the Majestic Theater, was named in Lichtenstein's honor in 1999; it has 874 seats. A renovation by architect Hugh Hardy left the interior unpainted and with often exposed stonework, giving the theater a unique feel of a "modern ruin." In April 2014, CNN named the BAM Harvey as one of the "15 of the World's Most Spectacular Theaters". Today, the BAM Harvey has become the first choice of venues at BAM among directors and actors for presenting traditional theater.
The BAM Sharp and Fisher Buildings are located within the Brooklyn Academy of Music Historic District created by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1978; the BAM Harvey is not.