The Bloomingdale School of Music celebrated the inauguration of its newly renovated concert hall with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and concert on Tuesday, November 19, 2019.
George Oliphant, star of the well-known NBC show “George to the Rescue” took on this unique challenge of renovating the David Greer Concert Hall at BSM which serves more than 800 students and presents several concerts of students, faculty and distinguished guest artists. As a bonus, they also tackled the backyard which fit the description “concrete jungle,” and created a joyous musical and community space.
The ceremony began with a panel discussion with George Oliphant, Josh Wiener, president of SilverLining Inc. who as general contractor gathered more than 25 vendors, including some of the city’s best architects, acousticians, landscape designers, and muralists, all of whom donated their time and resources to provide a world-class concert hall and beautiful outdoor space for our vibrant community music school. They were joined by Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President, as well as Bloomingdale Board President and alum from the 70s, Ken Michaels, and Executive Director, Erika Floreska. Facilitated by Senami Atinkpahoun, Bloomingdale’s Marketing Manager, they responded to questions about how the project came to be, what it means for Bloomingdale students moving forward, what was most surprising.
Watch the Full Ribbon-Cutting recap here!
George, Josh, as well as many of the vendors, spoke about their experience with the renovation and how it is sure to make a major impact on the concert experience at BSM. Students will be inspired and motivated to reach their musical goals in such a distinguished and beautiful setting and for faculty and guest artists, it is now a concert destination venue on the Upper West Side.
As part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, BSM also celebrated the inauguration of its brand new Steinway Concert Grand Piano. Through the tireless work of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, BSM received a major grant from the city of New York to purchase a new Steinway.
The piano was selected by seven piano faculty members at the Steinway factory in Astoria Queens on Wednesday, November 6 and was delivered to the school the following day. Gale Brewer was in attendance at the ceremony and spoke about Bloomingdale and its role as a major educational and cultural institution on the Upper West Side. She was both proud and excited that Bloomingdale received this major grant and was delighted to be sitting on stage next to the great new instrument.
For the Ribbon Cutting itself – students, faculty, vendors, staff, and elected officials all gathered to mark the occasion.
As a way of celebrating the hard work that went behind this amazing transformation, a concert that included students and faculty was then performed. Music for solo piano, trumpet trio, percussion duo as well as guitar duo was featured. Everyone in the audience heard for the first time the vastly improved and amazing acoustics of the hall as well as the glorious sound and nuance of the new piano. After the concert, there was a tour of the newly renovated backyard space followed by lunch in the Tapestry Room.
“Bloomingdale was founded in 1964 on the belief that everyone, of any age, should have access to quality music education, regardless of his or her ability to pay,” says Erika Floreska, Executive Director of BSM. “BSM’s commitment to “music for all” is the reason we hold free concerts that are open to everyone almost every Friday night of the year,” says Ken Michaels, Board President, Parent, and alum. “Now the community will enjoy concerts, and our students and faculty will perform, in a beautiful and comfortable new concert hall, thanks to George Oliphant.”
November 19, 2109, will be a day to remember in the life of Bloomingdale School of Music!
The episode of “George to the Rescue” which will feature the BSM renovation will air on NBC in the spring.
Panel Discussion with (from L. To R.) George Oliphant, Josh Wiener, Gale Brewer, Ken Michaels, and Erika Floreska discuss the renovation project.
George Oliphant, Erika Floreska, and Ken Michaels with Bloomingdale students Kutemba, Vada, and Nihkal in the new David Greer Recital Hall.