March 18, 2018

The Centennial Project: Revitalizing the Heart of MSM’s Campus

The Centennial Project will transform MSM’s principal performance venue into Neidorff-Karpati Hall, a world class auditorium worthy of the talented young artists who attend Manhattan School of Music.

Manhattan School of Music’s transformative Centennial Project is currently underway.  The ambitious project includes the relocation of the School’s main entrance, an expansion of its main entryway and lobby, and a full renovation of its historic principal performance space, Neidorff-Karpati Hall (formerly Borden Auditorium). The completed renovations will be unveiled in the fall of 2018 at the start of MSM’s 2018-19 performance season – just in time to launch the School’s year-long centennial celebrations.

The Centennial Project represents a full-scale re-contextualization of the MSM campus, with the School’s main entrance relocating around the corner from its current site on West 122nd Street to Claremont Avenue. That new entrance will lead directly to a fully renovated lobby that will act as both the School’s main entryway as well as the lobby for Neidorff-Karpati Hall.  This space will be larger and more visually expansive than what currently exists while still retaining the existing Art Deco detail.

Rendering of the new School entranceway and to the renovated Neidorff-Karpati Hall

The centerpiece of the Centennial Project will be the renovated Neidorff-Karpati Hall, which will feature new house lighting and décor; new seats and carpeting; a widened proscenium; a shortened balcony; a brand new wooden acoustic shell and reflecting cloud for the orchestra and other ensembles; and an expanded performance area. The new hall will match in quality the immensely talented student artists who come from the world over to study at MSM.

As with the lobby, the classic Art Deco details of the hall’s original design will be maintained. This is especially significant as both the lobby and the performance hall are gems of the Art Deco style, having been designed by Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon, the architectural firm best known for designing the Empire State Building.  Both projects were completed in 1931.  The Centennial Project will respect that remarkable history while improving all aspects of the functionality of both spaces.

Neidorff-Karpati Hall, January 2018

The Project began its initial construction in August 2017 and will be unveiled as part of MSM’s hundredth-anniversary celebrations beginning in November 2018. Throughout the construction phase, concerts and productions that would normally be housed in Neidorff-Karpati Hall have taken place at a range of partner venues, including The Riverside Church, Harlem Stage, and Florence Gould Hall. In venturing forth to perform at so many notable New York City venues, MSM students are enjoying opportunities to explore Manhattan’s musical map, all the while showcasing for new audiences the quality and diversity of the School’s student ensembles and the wonderful range of its educational offerings.

As Manhattan School of Music celebrates its first 100 years, we eagerly look forward to working with our community of alumni, donors, and friends to continue building on our rich history and securing a sound future for current and future generations of students.

Learn more about how you can provide meaningful support to the Centennial Project renovations of Neidorff-Karpati Hall.


A rendering of Neidorff-Karpati Hall


Susan Madden

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