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Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is a major performing arts venue in Brooklynmarker, a borough of New York Citymarker, known as a center for progressive and avant garde performance.

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. It housed a large theater seating 2,200, a smaller concert hall, dressing and chorus rooms, and a vast "baronial" kitchen.

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, right through until 1921.

The new building is adjacent to downtown Brooklyn, near the Flatbush Avenue Stationmarker of the Long Island Rail Road and the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Towermarker, the tallest building in Brooklyn.

Architecture

The building was designed by the firm Herts & Tallant in 1908.

Post-1960s history and performance facilities

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Its facilities feature:

  • BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, with 2,109 seats


  • BAM Harvey Lichtenstein Theater, with 874 seats, formerly known as Majestic Theater, named in Lichtenstein's honor in 1999. A renovation by architect Hugh Hardy left the interior unpainted and with often exposed stonework, giving theater a unique feel of a "modern ruin".


  • BAM Rose Cinemas opened in 1997 allowing Brooklynites the chance to see more art films without having to go to Manhattanmarker.


  • BAM Hillman Attic Studio, a flexible rehearsal/performing space.


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 now recognized internationally as a progressive cultural center well known for The Next Wave Festival (started in 1983). Artists who have presented their works there include Philip Glass, Peter Brook, Laurie Anderson, Lee Breuer, ETHEL, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Steve Reich, Seal, Alice in Chains, Robert Wilson, BLACKstreet, Ingmar Bergman, The Whirling Dervishes and the Kirov Operamarker directed and conducted by Valery Gergiev among others. Lichtenstein gave a home to the Chelsea Theater Center, in residence from 1967-1977.

Every Memorial Day weekend, BAM hosts DanceAfrica. A celebration of African dance and culture showcasing dance groups from the U.S. and around the world, DanceAfrica has become a weekend-long community tradition with an outdoor bazaar, exhibitions, films, and live music.

Starting in 2006, BAM has collaborated with the Sundance Institute on a special series of film screenings, performances, panel discussions, and special events bringing the institutes's activities and its annual film festival's programming to New York City. The program highlights projects supported by the institutes's programs in film making, theater, and film music. [30449]

Today, BAM is under the leadership of President Karen Brooks Hopkins and Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo.

See also



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