America’s only community-based arts organization with a nationwide audience, Symphony Space was founded in 1978 with a single event: a free, day-long concert titled Wall to Wall. Bach, in which audience members were able to perform side-by-side with celebrated professionals from the local community, such as Pinchas Zukerman and Jaime Laredo.
Since then, the Wall to Wall marathons have become major annual events on the New York City cultural calendar, joined by other signature Symphony Space programs: Bloomsday on Broadway, a marathon reading from James Joyce’s Ulysses (presented each June 16), featuring an astonishing roster of performers from New York’s theatrical and musical communities, and the Selected Shorts series (broadcast on over 150 National Public Radio stations), in which distinguished actors read a variety of short stories.
In addition to presenting its own productions, Symphony Space also provides a below-market-rate home and production assistance to not-for-profit organizations such as the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, and the World Music Institute.
Through its Curriculum Arts Project, Symphony Space serves some 5,000 students in the New York City public schools, using the arts to invigorate the social studies curriculum; and through the Selected Shorts: All Write! program, Symphony Space joins forces with a number of New York City’s community-based adult literacy programs. Peter Jay Sharp Theatre Designed by world-renowned architect James Stewart Polshek, the Peter Jay Sharp Theater has a seating capacity for 760 and serves as the main stage for many productions.
Leonard Nimoy Thalia The Leonard Nimoy Thalia has a maximum of 176 seats, some of which are movable to permit a cabaret configuration. Its main use is that of a repertory film theater while also serving as a flexible space for live performances. A new lobby/café on the 95th Street side of the building permits access to both the Leonard Nimoy Thalia and the Peter Jay Sharp Theater.