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David Geffen Gifts $100 Million to Lincoln Center for Avery Fisher Hall Name Change

By Jaime Prisco j.prisco@classicalite.com on Mar 05, 2015 01:02 PM EST

Money may not buy happiness, but it can buy you a permanent spot in history. Lincoln Center has announced that entertainment mogul David Geffen has donated $100 million to help renovate the hall. One of the major renovations will be a name change, of course. The famous Avery Fisher Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic, will be retitled David Geffen Hall.

Geffen is the founder of Asylum Records, signing huge names such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and The Eagles. As founder of Geffen Records, his roster included Elton John, Cher, Sonic Youth, Aerosmith, Blink-182 and Nirvana. He later co-founded film production company Dreamworks SKG with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

The hall will be renamed in September 2015 for the start of the orchestra’s next season. Geffen’s gift will help pay for the hall’s gut renovation, which is expected to cost more than $500 million. Despite the early name change, which Geffen himself requested, the construction is not set to begin until 2019.

The shift comes soon after Lincoln Center spent $15 million to buy back the concert hall’s name from Fisher’s heirs. The family had previously threatened legal action 13 years ago if the concert hall were to be rebuilt or renovated under a new name. Leaders of Lincoln Center said they reached out to Geffen soon after the Fisher family agreed to give up the naming rights.

So, why Geffen? The Brooklyn-born magnate told the New York Times that he is an “arts junkie.” It also does not hurt that he has an estimated worth of $6.9 billion. His substantial donations is just one in a line of large philanthropic moves from Geffen. In 2002, he gave a $200 million donation to the U.C.L.A. School of Medicine, now the David Geffen School of Medicine at U.C.L.A. He also gave an additional $100 million to the school for scholarships in 2012.

Aside from the name change, Geffen will have no influence on artistic decisions made at the hall.

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TagsDavid Geffen, 100 Million Dollars, Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, Name Change

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