2011-10-31 13:04:58

The Columbia 30th Street Studio

There is an abundance of visual material available on the web that I regularly tap into to change my screensaver at work. Right now, my office PC displays a picture of the legendary Columbia recording studio in New York City. Also known as the CBS 30th Street Studio, the space was nicknamed "The Church" after its origins as the Adams-Parkhurst Memorial Presbyterian Church, a mission of the Madison Square Presbyterian Church.

Designed by architect, J. Cleaveland Cady, and dedicated in March 1875, the building later housed what many in the music industry consider to have been the best sounding room in its time, and some, the greatest recording studio in history, with its 100 foot high ceilings and a 100 foot floor space. The church had laid abandoned for sometime when it was transformed in 1949 to a recording studio by Columbia Records.

Located at 207 East 30th Street between Second and Third Avenues in Manhattan, celebrated musicians from all genres used the facility to make some of their most famous recordings, including Miles Davis' 1959 Kind of Blue, Leonard Bernstein's 1957 West Side Story, Percy Faith's 1960 Theme from A Summer Place and Glenn Gould’s 1955 debut album Bach: The Goldberg Variations.

The very last recording made in the 30th Street Studio was Gould's 1981 Goldberg Variations (Reappraised). Unfortunately, the building was later sold and demolished, and a residential apartment building was put up in its place. It is sad to me that a cultural landmark such as this should not have been conserved for future generations.

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