The Philadelphia Orchestra’s longtime maestro, Eugene Ormandy, predicted SPAC would become “one of the great summer festivals of all time.” Thanks to the support of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, New York State Commissioner Harold Wilm, George Balanchine, Ormandy himself, and of course, the Saratoga Springs community, he was right.
In February Harold Wilm announced that the project was underway with the support of Governor Nelson Rockefeller and an initial financial pledge by the State of New York. A large-scale, local capital campaign was launched in Saratoga Springs.
June 30, 1964
Ground was officially broken for the amphitheater by Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller. The parking areas would accommodate 5,000 cars. Construction on the amphitheater began in October.
New York City Ballet dancer Violette Verdy poses next to a sign for SPAC during construction of the arts facility
June 16th, 1966
The Center was dedicated by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller.
The first time in history a ballet company was to have a permanent home; a total of 21 New York City Ballet performances were presented during the four week season, which ran from July 8 through July 31.
August 4th, 1966
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s first performance at the Center: Overture from Beethoven’s “The Consecration of the House,” conducted by Eugene Ormandy.
June 29th, 1967
The first Special Event concert at the center: Harry Belafonte
August 18th, 1971
The first joint performance of the NYCB and the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Andre Kostelanetz.
July 8th, 1978
Superstar dancer, Mikhail Baryshnikov made his NYCB debut at SPAC
Seven attendance records set, including best season ever: 537,754 total.
June 24th, 1984
Grateful Dead set attendance record of 37,801.
Philip Glass featured as SPAC’s first ever Composer in Residence
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s inaugural season as SPAC’s 3rd Resident Company
SPAC celebrates the 50th Anniversary