Music: A Bright New Version

Even before its opening in 1962, the management of Lincoln Center was calling it "the finest musical instrument in America." Philharmonic Hall was indeed something to behold—especially the gold mohair seats and the 136 acoustical clouds designed by Leo L. Beranek to hang from the ceiling and reflect the sound. Alas, the $17.7 million hall was something else to hear—strident, cold, weak in bass. In succeeding years, a series of four acoustical repair jobs (total cost: $2.5 million) were made, culminating in the replacement of the entire ceiling in 1969. But to...