In the little more than ten years of its existence, Merkin Concert Hall has become an important part of New York City’s musical life. Its location near Lincoln Center, its functional and inviting interior, its sympathetic acoustics, and its small scale, which is limited to an audience capacity of 457—all of these attributes make Merkin Hall a desirable venue for solo and chamber-music performances. In addition, those responsible for the hall have presented it to the musical public with a certain high-mindness. Their practice, for example, of charging a substantially higher rental fee than the competing Weill Recital Hall (located in the Carnegie Hall building), while not excluding the unknown, acts to discourage unqualified performers. Merkin sponsors its own series, moreover, which run the gamut from music played on old instruments (or copies thereof) to contemporary works written for small and medium-sized...


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