Music-lovers have enjoyed shows here from masters such as Benny Goodman, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, and the Grateful Dead.
The striking white curvature of Naumburg Bandshell is designed for its special acoustic properties—all the better to hear musical performances within the greenery of Central Park. Nestled between two pergolas, the idyllic spot offers nearby wooden benches under the shade of the surrounding elm trees.
In 1862, a cast-iron bandstand stood just west of where the Bandshell stands today. The Park commissioners disapproved of popular music, believing that the public should only hear “refined” classical music. That had begun to change by the 1890s, when concertgoers could also hear John Philip Sousa marches, choral, and folk music. By the 1920s, popular music was added as well.
In 1923, the old Bandstand was replaced by Naumburg Bandshell, the Park’s only neoclassical building. Today, the venue hosts principally acoustical music events, including the Naumburg Orchestral Concert series.