Symphony Space is New York’s homegrown center for the performing arts, opened in 1978 by Isaiah Sheffer and Alan Miller. The building housing the venue had been a public market, ice skating rink, boxing arena and movie theatre in previous incarnations. Symphony Space is now the home of the New York company of Revels, Inc. Between 1978 and 2001, it hosted all N.Y. performances by the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players.
The opening of Symphony Space in 1978 was celebrated with a twelve-hour marathon performance of the music of J.S. Bach (‘Wall to Wall Bach’), featuring professional and amateur singers and instrumentalists, all residents of New York City. The ‘Wall to Wall’ series has become a signature event at Symphony Space, each year focusing on the work of one iconic figure in music history. Additional annual events include ‘Bloomsday on Broadway’ (a celebration of James Joyce’s Ulysses) and “Selected Shorts,” live readings of new and classic short fiction, broadcast nationwide by Public Radio International.
The calendar of activities at Symphony Space includes music, theatre, dance, film and literary readings. Over 600 events are featured annually in the space’s two venues, the 760-seat Peter Jay Sharp Theater and 160-seat Leonard Nimoy Thalia theater. In little over three decades, Symphony Space has gone from a neighborhood gem to one of the busiest and most diverse performing arts venues in New York, and continues to be a major contributor to the cultural life of the city.
Symphony Space Information
- Venues: The 760-seat Peter Jay Sharp Theatre and the 160-seat Leonard Nimoy Thalia, both located at 2537 Broadway (at 95th Street)
- Public Transportation: Very good (easily accessible by subway lines 1, 2, and 3 at 96th Street and buses M7, M11, M96, M104, and M106)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Noted Symphony Space programs include the Selected Shorts short-story readings, annual Wall-to-Wall music marathons focusing on the work of one composer/genre, and Bloomsday on Broadway, an annual James Joyce tribute. An average of 40 other organizations present roughly 125 performances at Symphony Space each year
- Ticket Prices: Vary based on program. Student discounts available for some events
- Group Discounts: Discounts available for groups of 10 or more to many events
- Subscriptions: Subscription packages are available for Symphony Space’s most popular series
- Membership: Memberships begin at $75 (or $40 for students, seniors, and educators). Member benefits include 10%–40% discounts for two on all Symphony Space-produced events, a 15% discount at Symphony Space’s unWINEd bar and lounge, discounts on neighborhood restaurants and shops, priority admission to Wall-to-Wall events for two, members’ receptions, discounts on Selected Shorts merchandise, and other special offers.