Every year Town Hall is privileged to honor our Friends of the Arts - those individuals or organizations whose contributions to the arts enrich our city's cultural life. We began this tradition in 1981 and our honorees includelegends such as Beverly Sills, Wendy Wasserstein, Paul LeClerc, Elaine Stritch,  Kitty Carlisle Hart, Julie Wilson, Jacques d’Amboise, Dizzy Gillespie and many more whose talent and philanthropy continue to make New York a rich and artistically diverse city.

On Sunday October 21, at the Princeton Club, Town Hall will host its 97th Annual Gala, and will honor Laurie Anderson, Charlie Hall and Robert Hurwitz when we welcome them as this year’s Friends of the Arts. The festivities for the evening will begin with a concert followed by cocktails, dinner, and the awards presentation. Admission to the event is open to our Town Hall Sustaining Members, contributors and guests.

We hope you will join us in honoring these outstanding awardees by becoming a Sustaining Member of Town Hall. If you haven’t already secured your membership, you can join here and learn more about the benefits of becoming a Town Hall member. For more information and to attend The Town Hall Annual Gala, please contact Helen Morris, Director of Administration.

Please click HERE for the order form to attend. Mail to:  123 West 43rd St, New York, NY 10036

The  97th Annual Town Hall Gala Benefit

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The hall will be honoring


One of America’s most renowned and daring creative pioneers. As diverse as she is prolific, Laurie has cast herself in roles as varied as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist. In the early ‘70s, Laurie burst onto the New York avant-garde/music/art/performance scene and quickly acquired a fervent following in the underground arts community. In 1978, she performed at the Nova Convention with such counter-culture luminaries as William S. Burroughs, Philip Glass, Frank Zappa, Timothy Leary, John Cage, and Allen Ginsberg. Her recording career took off in 1981, when her song “O Superman” rose to #2 on the British pop music charts, leading to a seven-album deal with Warner Brothers. A deluxe box set of her Warner Brothers output, Talk Normal, was released in the fall of 2000 on Rhino/Warner Archives. The following year, she released her first record for Nonesuch Records, “Life on a String.” A year later, Live in New York, recorded at Town Hall, was released. Laurie has toured the United States and abroad numerous times with shows that range from simple spoken word performances to highly elaborate multimedia events like United States I-V (1983), Empty Places (1990), The Nerve Bible (1995), and Songs and Stories for Moby Dick (1999-2000), based on the Herman Melville novel.   Her visual work has been presented in major museums in the United States and Europe. 

As a composer, Laurie contributed music to films by Wim Wenders and Jonathan Demme; dance pieces by Bill T. Jones, Trisha Brown, and Molissa Fenley; a score for Robert LePage’s theater production, Far Side of the Moon; and pieces for National Public Radio, the BBC, and Seville’s Expo ‘92. Laurie is recognized worldwide as a groundbreaking leader in the use of technology in the arts. In the late ’90s, as a collaborator with Interval Research Corporation—a laboratory founded by Paul Allen and David Liddle—she created the Talking Stick, a six-foot-long MIDI controller that she used in the MobyDick tour. In 2002, she was appointed the first-ever artist-in-residence at NASA, a stint that yielded her 2004 solo piece, The End of the Moon.

In 2007 she received the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for her outstanding contribution to the arts. In 2011, she was awarded Pratt Institute’s Honorary Legends Award. Her Habeas Corpus exhibition at the Park Avenue Armory in 2016 garnered Yoko Ono’s annual Courage Award for the Arts. Laurie’s film and visual projects include numerous videos, the high definition film Hidden Inside Mountains, a series of audio-visual installations, Heart of a Dog which was an official selection of both the 2015 Venice and Toronto Film Festivals and Chalkroom a virtual reality collaboration with Hsin- Chien Huang which received Best VR Experience at the Venice Film Festival 2017. Her virtual reality work is represented in many arts institutions, festivals and in the new wing at MassMoCa. Laurie has performed at The Town Hall over four decades. Laurie originally hails from Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She graduated from Barnard College (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) with a B.A. in art history and in 1972, earned an M.F.A. in sculpture from Columbia University. In 2008, she married singer/songwriter/musician Lou Reed, with whom she collaborated on several works. She lives in New York City.


Originally from Vienna, Austria, attended Lehigh University on football and academic scholarships, and graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration. While serving in the U.S. Air Force and stationed in England, he accompanied a fellow officer to an audition of Stalag 17 and wound up scoring his first role in a theatrical production. In 1960, Hull moved to New York and was featured in many TV commercials and off-Broadway productions prior to joining the management team at TheaterWorksUSA. Hull founded TheaterWorksUSA, with Jay Harnick in 1961. He then became Managing Director in 1969. Under his 39 year tenure, TheaterWorksUSA grew to become America’s largest and foremost Equity theatre for children and family audiences. Its mission is to create imaginative and sophisticated shows that are both entertaining and thought provoking, and to ensure that those shows are accessible to audiences across America. The company has reached over 100 million people in 49 states and Canada, and now performs for over two million young people annually, selecting about ten shows per year from its  ever-growing repertoire of 133 plays and musicals.

Hull’s most notable achievements for TheaterWorksUSA include initiating a subscription series in a prestigious off-Broadway theater; and developing a field trip program, initially at Town Hall, and then spreading across the country, reaching millions of kids every year. Hull was also President of the Producers League of Theatre for Young Audiences, President of Produc-ers Association of Children’s Theatre (PACT), and was awarded the Medal of Honor from the Actors’ Fund. TheaterWorksUSA’s honors include a Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award, the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award, the William M. Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence given by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and the Medal of Honor from the Actors Fund of America. Charlie was also President of the Producers League of Theatre for Young Audiences and President of the Producers Association of Children’s Theatre (PACT). TheaterWorksUSA has a distinguished history of not only providing young audiences with their first taste of the performing arts, but also giving young actors, writers, directors, and designers an early opportunity to work in their field. After almost 40 years, Hull retired from the company in 2000; TheaterWorksUSA is currently under the direction of Barbara Pasternack (Artistic Director) and Michael Harrington (Managing Director). (For more information or to participate: www.twusa.org).


For 32 years, Robert Hurwitz was president of Nonesuch Records, arguably one of the  most diverse and influential record labels in the world. In 1984, when Bob took over Nonesuch, it was primarily a classical music label and home of the Explorer series. He proceeded to vastly expand the company’s catalogue by adding jazz, rock, folk, bluegrass, musical theater, and modern world music.

Among the many composers, musicians, songwriters, and performers he has signed, produced or worked with are: John Adams, the Kronos Quartet, Steve Reich, Brad Mehldau, Chris Thile, Caetano Veloso, Dawn Upshaw, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Philip Glass, Randy Newman, The Magnetic Fields, Stephen Sondheim, Adam Guettel, Mandy Patinkin, Jeremy Denk, Richard Goode, Gidon Kremer, Audra McDonald, Björk, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Josh Redman, Pat Metheny, Natalie Merchant, k.d. lang, The Punch Brothers, Lake Street Dive, Bill Frisell, the Gipsy Kings and Astor Piazzolla. Bob supervised the ten-volume George Balanchine Library video release and produced the 1993 motion picture George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. During his tenure, Nonesuch releases have won forty-two Grammy Awards. In addition to his work at Nonesuch, Bob served on the boards of the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation, the New Music Distribution Service, and the Charles Ives Foundation. He has been a speaker at symposiums for National Public Radio, the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Chamber Music America.  

Now, as Chairman Emeritus of Nonesuch Records, Bob remains closely involved with many of the artists he brought to the company, serving as an Executive Producer for a dozen projects a year.  

In addition, Bob is the Aaron Copland Chair at the New School College of Performing Arts, where he has taught for the past 12 years and for the last two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor at UCLA.