Audience members surround the New York Philharmonic at the Wu Tsai Theatre in David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, October 2022. Photo by Chris Lee.

In last Tuesday’s (12/26/23) Los Angeles Times, Carolina A. Miranda writes, “The first concert I saw after the pandemic lockdowns was a recital staged by the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles in May 2021. Two dozen masked teens performed a Bach concerto to a handful of music and design writers as a socially distanced acoustic test of YOLA’s new home: an old bank building in Inglewood that had been transformed into a concert and rehearsal space… The performance was short … but it remains one of the most memorable I’ve been to…. COVID-19 not only shut us in our homes, it intensified our use of architecture and technologies, like drive-throughs and mobile ordering, that circumvent the casual interactions that act as social glue…. Two venues in New York City—the new Perelman Performing Arts Center in Lower Manhattan and the revamped David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center—had me thinking about how design brings people together in performing arts spaces. Both the Geffen and the Perelman mark a move away from fixed proscenium arch stages, a form … that puts performers at a remove from the audience. Instead, both halls feature more flexible settings in which viewers can encircle or be immersed in the action…. At a time when so many hours of our day are spent passively watching screens, the shared experience of a roomful of people sitting in a circle listening to music felt like a hopeful, regenerative act.”