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David Geffen Hall Reopens, Hoping Its $550 Million Renovation Worked


“This can be a home for all Latest Yorkers,” Ms. Borda said. “We wish to ask them in.”

Throughout the hall’s history, politicians, architects, musicians and critics have at times declared past renovations successful, only to see acoustical issues resurface soon after.

Mr. Polisi, the previous Juilliard president, said that this time seemed different, given the crucial decision to cut back the dimensions of the hall — it now seats 2,200 people, down from 2,738. He said if the Philharmonic had finally remedied the sound problems, it could allow the orchestra to concentrate on other priorities, including constructing closer ties to the community and finding a conductor to switch van Zweden, who steps down as music director in 2024.

“In the event that they’re a pleased orchestra now they usually’re in a position to feel comfortable of their home, that’s also going to be a really psychologically essential element for the organization,” said Mr. Polisi, whose father, William Polisi, had been the principal bassoonist of the Philharmonic.

As construction staff made ending touches on the hall this week, unpacking furniture and installing metal detectors within the lobby, the Philharmonic’s players filed into the auditorium for rehearsals. The early reviews from the musicians have been largely positive: Many say that they’ll finally hear each other onstage and that the sound feels warmer.

Ms. Borda and Mr. Timms said they were confident that the Philharmonic would finally have a hall to match its abilities, though they said they didn’t wish to jinx the reopening. “The thing about curses,” Mr. Timms said, “is you never claim they’re broken. You allow them to speak for themselves.”

Ms. Borda, who first began attempting to revamp the hall within the Nineteen Nineties, when she served a previous stint because the Philharmonic’s leader, said she had prepared a picture of an atomic explosion to send to Mr. Timms if the renovation turned out to be a disaster.

“If it’s really bad,” she joked, Mr. Timms, “I’m sending you this primary.”

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