Search Pressroom
Media Contacts
Send e-mail

New York State Theater to be renamed the David H. Koch Theater

New York City Ballet and New York City Opera

Capital Campaign for New York State Theater Receives $100 Million Lead Gift from David H. Koch


Gift is the Largest Private Capital Donation

in the History of Lincoln Center


Renovated New York State Theater at Lincoln Center

Will Be Renamed in Donor’s Honor


David H. KochNew York City Ballet and New York City Opera today announced that their companies’ shared home at Lincoln Center will be renamed the David H. Koch Theater, in honor of Mr. Koch’s $100 million lead gift to the Ballet and Opera’s joint capital campaign for the New York State Theater. This gift is the largest private capital donation in the history of Lincoln Center. The gift will help to fund the unprecedented joint initiative by City Ballet and City Opera to modernize and enhance the artistic and visitor experience and to establish an endowment for future capital projects and theater maintenance. 

Since its opening in 1964, the historic building, designed by Philip Johnson Associates, has been known as the New York State Theater. In April, the State of New York passed legislation that enabled New York City Ballet and New York City Opera to offer this historic naming opportunity to the philanthropic community.  It is anticipated that the name change will take effect by this fall.

                “This is an extraordinary time for New York City Opera as we prepare for the 2009/2010 inaugural season of our new General Manager and Artistic Director Gerard Mortier,” Susan L. Baker, Chair of New York City Opera, commented.  “With David Koch’s transformative gift we can now also look forward to celebrating this new era for City Opera in our beautifully renovated home.”

 “Peter Martins and the entire New York City Ballet family are delighted to acknowledge the extraordinary generosity of David Koch, whose support of the capital campaign will benefit our companies, our city and the world of the arts for decades to come, while ensuring the integrity of our co-founder George Balanchine’s vision for the theater,” said Ken Tabachnick, General Manager of New York City Ballet.  “All of us at City Ballet look forward to performing in the newly christened David H. Koch Theater.”

“New York City Ballet and New York City Opera are anchors of Lincoln Center, which I believe is the most important performing arts destination in the world,” said Mr. Koch.  “The two companies are both champions of American art on the world stage and I am thrilled to be able to contribute toward their continued success, and to be associated with the cultural landmark where they perform.”

“We want to keep New York City’s status as the place where the best and brightest from all over the world come to live and work, and this campaign helps extend the State Theater’s ability to serve artists and audiences for the 21st century,” stated Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.  "On behalf of all New Yorkers, I want to thank David Koch for this extraordinary gift.  Congratulations to the leadership of the New York State Theater, New York City Opera and New York City Ballet on launching this campaign.” 

 “This theater, and the companies that have made it their home, are deeply embedded in New York’s history,” commented Reynold Levy, President of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.  “We are profoundly grateful to David Koch for honoring this history and carrying it forward. His exceptional gift lends even more momentum to the overall campaign to transform Lincoln Center.”

The $200 million capital campaign of the Ballet and Opera for the theater—the first such joint undertaking in the companies’ histories—will enhance audience amenities and provide a state-of-the-art environment for productions at the theater. The initial phase of renovation, currently in progress with a substantial completion date in October 2009, will provide new seats and carpets, an enlarged orchestra pit with a mechanical lift, a new stage lighting system, and new audiovisual and media capability, among other elements. The original Philip Johnson design for the theater and auditorium will be maintained in its current form.

                The initial phase of renovation has been budgeted at approximately $50 million based on design development and is now being bid.  It is being funded through a private/public partnership with anticipated support from the City of New York (which owns the theater) and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., in addition to private donations.

                The State Theater was built as part of New York State’s participation in the 1964-65 World’s Fair, with the provision that ownership of the building was to be transferred to the City of New York when the Fair ended. The theater was designed specifically for George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein and the New York City Ballet, and has been home to both New York City Ballet and New York City Opera for more than 40 years.  It was the second theater to open at Lincoln Center, following Philharmonic Hall (now known as Avery Fisher Hall). Constructed at a cost of $19.3 million, the New York State Theater opened on April 23, 1964.

About David H. Koch

David H. Koch is an executive vice president and a board member of the privately owned Koch Industries, Inc., based in Wichita, Kansas, which owns a diverse group of companies with more than $100 billion in revenues, 80,000 employees, and a presence in nearly 60 countries. Familiar Koch companies’ brands include STAINMASTER® carpet, LYCRA® spandex, Quilted Northern® tissue and Dixie® cups and tabletop products. Mr. Koch, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, applies that scientific expertise in his other role as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Koch Chemical Technology Group, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries.


In addition to his business activities, Mr. Koch has personally pledged and contributed more than $500 million to a wide variety of organizations and programs which further cancer research, enhance medical centers and support educational institutions, as well as programs that sustain arts and cultural institutions. In 2006, he made a $20 million gift to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City to support the dinosaur exhibits, creating the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing. The David H. Koch Cancer Research Center on Johns Hopkins University's East Baltimore medical campus was dedicated in December 2006, honoring Mr. Koch for his $20 million commitment. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mr. Koch’s contributions have established The David H. Koch School of Chemical Engineering Practice and have been recognized with the dedication of the David H. Koch Biology Building.  At MIT he has also made the lead $100 million contribution toward building The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Mr. Koch serves on more than twenty non-profit boards, including American Ballet Theatre, American Museum of Natural History, Aspen Institute, WGBH Boston, The Cato Institute, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Hospital for Special Surgery, The Rockefeller University, WNET-Channel 13, and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.


Mr. Koch and his wife Julia have three children.



Media Contacts:

New York City Opera
Corinne J. Zadik
(212) 870-5632


New York City Ballet

Robert Daniels


Photo rights are available by contacting Robert Caplin  at 212.699.0887 or