Founded in 1861 the first BAM facility at 176-194 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights was conceived as the home of the Philharmonic Society of Brooklyn. It housed a large theater seating 2,200, a smaller concert hall, dressing and chorus rooms, and a vast "baronial" kitchen.
After the building burned to the ground on November 30, 1903, plans were made to relocate to a new facility in the then fashionable neighborhood of Fort Greene. The cornerstone was laid at 30 Lafayette Avenue in 1906 and a series of opening events were held in the fall of 1908 culminating with a grand gala evening featuring Geraldine Farrar and Enrico Caruso in a Metropolitan Opera production of Charles Gounod's Faust. The Met would continue to present seasons in Brooklyn through 1921. The new building is adjacent to downtown Brooklyn, near the Flatbush Avenue Station of the Long Island Rail Road and the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building, the tallest building in Brooklyn.
The building was designed by Henry Beaumont Herts.
In 1967 Harvey Lichtenstein was appointed executive director and during the 32 years that Lichtenstein was BAM's leader, BAM experienced a renaissance. BAM is now recognized internationally as a progressive cultural center well known for The Next Wave Festival (started in 1983). Artists who have presented their works there include Philip Glass, Peter Brook, Laurie Anderson, Lee Breuer, ETHEL, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Steve Reich, Robert Wilson, Ingmar Bergman, The Whirling Dervishes and the Kirov Opera directed and conducted by Valery Gergiev among others. Lichtenstein gave a home to the Chelsea Theater Center, in residence from 1967-1977.
Every Memorial Day weekend, BAM hosts DanceAfrica. A celebration of African dance and culture showcasing dance groups from the U.S. and around the world, DanceAfrica has become a weekend-long community tradition with an outdoor bazaar, exhibitions, films, and live music.
Starting in 2006, BAM has collaborated with the Sundance Institute on a special series of film screenings, performances, panel discussions, and special events bringing the institutes's activities and its annual film festival's programming to New York City. The program highlights projects supported by the institutes's programs in film making, theater, and film music.
Today, BAM is under the leadership of President Karen Brooks Hopkins and Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC (BAM) TO SHOWCASE DANCEMOTION USASM AT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY.
Jan 20, 2010; WASHINGTON -- The following information was released by the U.S. Department of State: The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of...