Field Trip Friday: The DiMenna Center for Classical Music

Last week, OHNY staffers Hae-In and Renee took a hard-hat tour of the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, designed by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture in a building on West 37th Street that also houses the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Director of Interior Design at H3, Margaret Sullivan, showed us the space.

hard hats in the DiMenna Center space

Built for the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, a 36-year-old local chamber orchestra, it will become a new rehearsal and recording space and is set to open in March 8 of this year. H3 is working with acoustical firm, Akustiks, to create the more than 20,000 square foot acoustically-optimized facility that will be NYC’s first dedicated space for rehearsal, recording and learning, designed specifically to meet the needs orchestral ensembles and musicians.

acoustically engineered wooden wall panels

Named after orchestra trustee Joe DiMenna, who generously gave the lead gift of $5 million, the space will have a large orchestra rehearsal hall, a chamber orchestra rehearsal hall, an ensemble room, two artist studios, a media center, a lounge and café for musicians, a music library, resource center and instrument storage facilities.

walls going up

Margaret highlighted one of the central spaces, Mary Flagler Cary Hall, which will accommodate rehearsals and recording sessions for a full symphony orchestra and chorus and will also have a skylight for natural illumination.

The design as a whole aims to provide a warm, nurturing environment for the musicians, eliminating outside noise, and utilizes a ‘box-in-a-box’ construction, with each room floating on pads and springs inside an acoustic isolation box made of concrete and concrete block.

different wall panels

Margaret also spoke about the wooden wall panels that have been custom designed for the space. The use of wood helps create a calm, relaxing feeling but is also acoustically functional and allows for a concert hall like appearance.

rendering of Mary Flagler Cary Hall

Throughout its first year, the DiMenna Center will host open rehearsals, community concerts and expanded education programs for Orchestra of St. Luke’s, as well as many other musical organizations.

The center is also expected to receive a LEED-CI Platinum certification which would make it one of the most energy and resource efficient music facilities in the U.S.

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1 Response to “Field Trip Friday: The DiMenna Center for Classical Music”


  1. 1 music citizens 2 August 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Day in and day out, we’re inundated with sounds: at the mall, in the car, at home, even on the street corner. Music is more a part of our daily lives than at any other point in history. Yet we expect people to devote two hours of their day to pure listening, sitting quietly, and politely applauding at the end of a piece. This has its place, but it doesn’t have to be the steadfast rule.


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