N.Y. Phil, Carnegie Hall ditch merger

Orgs say marriage would compromise core values

NEW YORK — The New York Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall have terminated their controversial plan to merge.

The organizations jointly announced Tuesday that discussions to unite the two were at an end. A statement from the chairs of Carnegie Hall and the Phil said it became “clear that each institution has unique, undeniable core values, which could have been compromised by such a merger.”

Announcement appears to put an end to the orchestra’s plan to transfer its annual seasons to the venerable hall. But while it said the two will remain separate institutions, it did not specifically rule out the possibility that the Phil would still play at Carnegie Hall — either temporarily or on a long-term basis.

Last spring, the Philharmonic rocked the classical music world by announcing its plan to abandon its longtime home at Avery Fisher Hall, the Lincoln Center auditorium that was built for the company, and move back into Carnegie Hall.

Carnegie Hall, where the orch played for many years before the creation of Lincoln Center, is celebrated for its warm acoustics; Avery Fisher Hall has often been criticized for its dry sound.

The move stunned execs at Lincoln Center, who had not been apprised of the talks between the Philharmonic and hall. There were subsequent threats of a breach-of-contract lawsuit, since the Phil’s agreement with Lincoln Center runs through 2011.

While it seems clear that the orchestra has little choice but to remain at Avery Fisher, which is due for a major renovation as part of a general overhaul of Lincoln Center, the statement made no indication of where the orchestra expects to play in future years.

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