In the March 16 issue of the New Yorker, Alex Ross writes, “What makes a great concert hall isn’t simply a matter of acoustics. Unpredictable variables come into play: the façade, the décor, the buzz of the crowd, the smile of a familiar usher, your memories of past concerts, your entire inner world as it stands at a few minutes after eight. … For years, my bête noire was Alice Tully Hall, the chamber-music venue in the Lincoln Center complex. The acoustics weren’t terrible: you could hear clearly from most parts of the room. But the sound was dull and dry, flopping down in front of your ears instead of floating around them. A distant hum of ducts, vents, and subway noise intruded. … Tully has now undergone a hundred-and-fifty-million-dollar renovation—the opening move in a scheme to transform Lincoln Center’s public image. … Every performance in the first week was packed, partly as a result of a generous decision by Lincoln Center to sell all tickets for twenty-five dollars or less. Curiosity-seekers filled the lobby on weekend nights, creating an atmosphere that could be described as (I type this unfamiliar word with care) hopping.  … Perhaps in forty years the latest incarnation of Tully will no longer give much pleasure, but, for the moment, this handsomely tailored, sharp-toned venue is exactly what Lincoln Center needs."
Posted March 12, 2009