1979: Established as part of The City College of New York, Aaron Davis Hall, a performance complex housing the 750-seat Marian Anderson Theater, the 267-seat Black Box, and the 100-seat Studio, opens its doors to the public. The performance complex inaugurates its first season with a gala presentation featuring Ella Fitzgerald, the American Symphony Orchestra, Peter Martins and Suzanne Farrell, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Patricia McBride and the Dance Theater of Harlem.

1980: The non-for-profit organization Friends of the Davis Center is incorporated to increase the utilization, funding and programming for the organization.

1982: Aaron Cohen becomes first executive producer. CCNY presents Gil Evans with the CCNY Jazz Band. Initiation of Community Partnerships with significant partners including Caribbean Cultural Center, Dance Theater of Harlem (performing their annual season for over ten years at the Marian Anderson Theater); Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Boys Choir of Harlem, The AUDELCO Awards, and other organizations.

1982: Developmental grants from The Leonard and Sophie Davis Foundation and Arnold and Ruth Picker Foundation enable the organization to become administratively and fiscally independent from the College.


1983: Special panel presentation "The Recording Industry" with Ramsey Lewis, Wynton Marsalis, Phyllis Hyman, Bobbie Himphrey

JANUARY 1984: Filming of "Beat Street"

1984: Young People's Series begins – later becomes International Series. Establishes itself as the largest performing arts series for young people in the New York City Public Schools, and a pioneer in presenting multi-cultural artists of a professional caliber formerly restricted largely to adult audiences. Expanding its reach, the Series is instituted in New York City Public Schools in 1995 and is awarded one of the first five-year implementation grants from the Annenberg Challenge to Arts Education in New York City. The Family Series is subsequently created.

November 25, 1986: Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins presents the First Annual Borough President's Awards for Excellence in the Arts awards.

FEBRUARY 1987: To assist with fundraising projects and long-term goals the board establishes The Guild.

FALL 1990: First season of New Faces/New Voices/New Visions. This signature series becomes a distinct vehicle for the support of the creation and presentation of new works by artists of color who are pushing the boundaries of their art forms. Artists presented in the Series are Carl Hancock Rux, Helga Davis, Craig Harris, Sekou Sundiata (BESSIE for The Circle unbroken is a Hard Bop), Hazelle Goodman, Roger Guenveur Smith, Bill T. Jones (Bessie for The Table Project), Meshell ndecogello, Carla Cook, Ronald K. Brown, Marlies Yearby, Diedre Murray, Rennie Harris, and many more...

June 1990: Ted Koppel and Nightline conduct Town Hall meeting with newly released Nelson Mandela.

DECEMBER 1990: David Rodriguez appointed Executive Director.

1993: Friends of the Davis Center Inc. changes name to Aaron Davis Hall, Inc. (ADH, Inc.)

SUMMER 1994: In homage of Marian Anderson, our 750 seat theater named Marian Anderson Theater. A special ceremony features Harry Belafonte, Jessye Norman, Max Roach, Martina Arroyo, Arthur Mitchell, Phylicia Rashad.

FALL 1994: Following the success of the New Faces/New Voices/New Visions series, Aaron Davis Hall, Inc. establishes the Fund for New Work to aid in the development of new artistic collaborations by culturally diverse artists. The Fund provides commissions and creation and development support for numerous artists growing its level of support significantly in the past 5 years.

1994: The HARLEM FILM FESTIVAL hosts its tenth year of programs dedicated to the work of independent filmmakers of color.

FALL 1994: Aaron Davis Hall, Inc. receives its first NYC support for the design of the 135th Street Gatehouse renovation project, thanks to the leadership of Borough President Ruth Messinger and Councilmember Stanley Michels and with the support of Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Schyler Chapin.


OCTOBER 1995: Tribute To Frank Foster co-hosted by Quincy Jones, Phylicia Rashad and performances by Ernestine Anderson, Teadross Avery, The Count Basie Orchestra, Carmen Bradford, Betty Carter, Bill Cosby, John Faddis, Tommy Flanaghan, Jardis Foster, Al grey, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Earl May, Toto Puente, Ben Riley, Max Roach, Diane Schuur and Joe Williams

FEBRUARY 18, 1995: WABC-TV's "American Heros" presentation produced by Sylvia Houston hosted from the Marian Anderson Theater including a segment reviewing ADH Inc.'s extensive programs.

MAY 14, 1995: ADH Inc.'s Jazz Institute of Harlem Series presents special Mother's Day concert with Ruth Brown and Jon Hendricks.

Since its inception in 1990, the series has presented such acclaimed productions as Max Roach's We Insist and JuJu: New York Jazz Today, celebrating the young "lions" of jazz today, including Jackie Terrasson, Roy Hargrove, Eric Reed, David Sanchez, Danilo Perez and others; August Wilson and the Blues, with Olu Dara; The Lost Jazz Shrines, a national project honoring the history of the jazz; Oh...So Many Stars – a tribute to the sidemen of the Paladium; Wholly Abbey, with Abbey Lincoln, The Obscure Works of Ellington and Strayhorn.

NOVEMBER 3, 1996: Danny Glover presents Romeo & Juliet

NOVEMBER, 1996: The Tongues of Fire Choir with Sekou Sundiata, Craig Harris, Miguel Algarin, Amiri Baraka, Jessica Hagedorn, Ntozake Shange, Quincy Troupe, Regina Carter, and Nona Hendryx.

APRIL 28, 1997: A Tribute to Harry Belafonte featuring Diahann Carroll, Max Roach, Tony Bennett, Roy Hargrove and Joshua Redman and Miriam Makeba


FEBRUARY 1998: David Rodriguez resigns from Aaron Davis Hall, Inc.

1998: Patricia Cruz appointed Executive Director of Aaron Davis Hall, Inc.

1998: Aaron Davis Hall, Inc. honored with a special citation at the Bessie Awards for Dance Women/Living Legends. This work celebrates the vision and commitment of five African American dance legends including the directors of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Philadelphia Dance Company, Denver's Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Los Angeles' Lula Washington Dance Theater and Dallas Black Dance Theater.

JUNE 1998: Aaron Davis Hall, Inc. joins ten art presenters across the country to create Lost Jazz Shrines, a national celebration of the legendary dance halls, nightclubs and community centers that supported jazz throughout the century.

JULY 1999: Aaron Davis Hall, Inc. kicks off the 20th Anniversary season with a new outdoor music concert series. This series pays tribute to the historic Lewisohn Stadium concerts held in the early and mid 1900's. This free concert features Eddie Palmieri and his Orchestra and the Harbor Conservatory Latin Big Band.

APRIL 17, 2000: A Tribute to Nancy Wilson, recipient of the 2000 Aaron Davis Hall Harlem Renaissance Award with performances/appearances by Yolanda Adams, Regina Belle, Nona Hendryx, Cissy Houston, Chick Jackson, Tsidii Le Loka, Gloria Lynne, Max Roach, Jurnee Smollett, Mavis Staples, Dionne Warwick, Cassandra Wilson.

2001: ADH Inc.'s first full production, Brown Butterfly (2001) created by Craig Harris (Bessie Award for composer) and Marlies Yearby was critically acclaimed and has toured nationally.

APRIL 23, 2001: A Tribute to Maya Angelou, recipient of the 2001 Aaron Davis Hall Harlem Renaissance Award with performances/appearances by Ashford & Simpson, Rev. Calvin O. Butts III, George Faison, Cissy Houston, Chuck Jackson, Ben E. King, Tsidii Le Loka, Gloria Lynne, Max Roach, Sonia Sanchez, Paul Shaffer, Susan Taylor, Tamara Tunie, Dionne Warwick, Nancy Wilson.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2001: Aaron Davis Hall, Inc. conducts Visioning Session designed to include Community in the redevelopment of West 135th Street and Convent Ave. Participants included CCNY, P.S. 161, and NYC Parks Department. Official report released in winter of 2002.


FEBRUARY 1, 2003: Caribbean Cultural Center - When the Spirits Dance Mambo - Film US Premiere of film, preceded by lobby rumba w/ Puntilla y Generacion and followed by Mambo Dance Party w/ Jose Manguel Jr. Band

OCTOBER 17, 2003: Aaron Davis Hall, Inc. breaks ground announcing the start of the renovation of the 135th Street Gatehouse. The ground breaking ceremony included remarks from Patricia Harris, Deputy Mayor; Robert Jackson, NYC Council Member; Gregory Williams, CCNY President; Bill T. Jones, Choreographer; Larry Condon, Chairman of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and Patricia Cruz, Executive Director of Aaron Davis Hall, Inc.

JUNE 28, 2004: Aaron Davis Hall, Inc. was given notice to proceed with the renovation project of The Gatehouse.

MARCH 1, 2005: The Museum of the City of New York opens exhibition of ADH Inc. The Gatehouse.

MARCH 11, 2005: Abbey Lincoln concert highlights the spring season.

April 11, 2005: Miguel Algarin, Bill T. Jones, Abbey Lincoln and Eddie Palmieri receive the Aaron Davis Hall Harlem Renaissance Award; with host, Tamara Tunie; with appearances by ; Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson; with performances by; Arthur Aviles, Avery Brooks, Giancarlo Esposito, Vernon Reid, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Hilton Ruiz.

DECEMBER 3 & 4, 2005: LISTEN HERE! 50 Years of Eddie Palmieri. Two evenings of concerts celebrating the legacy of Palmieri and his contributions to Latin Jazz and Salsa. Featuring, John Benitez, Ronnie Cuber, Donald Harrison, Horacio 'El Negro' Hernandez, Conrad Herwig, Giovanni Hidalgo, Brian Lynch, Christian McBride; John Benitez, Jimmy Bosch, Jose Clausell, Nelson Gonzalez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Nelson Jaime, Karen Joseph, Brian Lynch, Herman Olivera, Johnny Rivero, Julio Salgado, Ray Viera, Richie Viruet, and special guest Ismael Quintana.

HARLEM STAGE GATEHOUSE: Once a gate house of the Croton Aqueduct system, an engineering feat of the 19th century- that supplied much needed fresh drinking water to NYC beginning in 1890. Frederick S. Cook designed the gate house in the Romanesque Revival style, a fact that accounts for much of the building's grandeur and monumental beauty.

OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2006: Aaron Davis Hall, Inc. launches move into new facility, The Gatehouse, and adapts new brand to be known as Harlem Stage / Aaron Davis Hall, Inc Inaugural season of the Harlem Stage Gatehouse is launched with four commissioned works under the WaterWorks banner, a new program created for the Gatehouse. They are: Roger Guenveur Smith's Who Killed Bob Marley?; Tania Leon's Reflections; Sekou Sundiata's the 51st (dream) state (in partnership with BAM) and WeDaPeoples Cabaret and Days of Art and Ideas; and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company's Chapel Chapter.


June 2007: Harlem Stride, a new series celebrating the music legacy of Harlem launches with Randy Weston and a tribute to James Reese Europe.

Fall 2007: WaterWorks commissions for Makandal and The Voice Within begin.

April 2009: 10th Anniversary of EMoves dance series.

June 2009: Chapel Chapter returns for final presentations after two year world tour.

August 2009: New series of outdoor concerts begins in PS161 track field with Bachata Roja.

Fall 2009: New series Uptown Nights launches with Marc Carey's 2012: The Hip Hop Experiment.

July 2010: Tribute and benefit concert for Haiti following earthquake – Konbit Ayeti – with Emeline Michel.

December 2010: Off the Wall: Tribute to Michael Jackson and Craig Harris' God's Trombones.

March 2011: Family series – Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao with Junot Diaz.

May 2011: Launch of the Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival with the Apollo and Jazzmobile and Columbia University. Premiere of Jason Moran's Fats Waller Dance Party and creation of Blazing Tongues: the Writers and Singers of the Lenox Lounge.

October 2011: World premiere of WaterWorks series Visible by Nora Chipaumire and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. WeDaPeoples Cabaret curated by Carl Hancock Rux and featuring Nona Hendryx.

December 2011: Imani Uzuri's Mosaic: A Sacred Music Extravagnza.

February 2012: Uptown Nights – Jose James.

March 2012: Uptown Nights – A Tribe Called Quest Tribute.

May 2012: Harlem Jazz Shrines – Celebrating Cecil Taylor.

Sept/Oct. 2012: World premieres of Holding it Down: The Veteran's Dreams Project by Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd and Kyle Abraham's Pavement.

December 2012: Robert Glasper's Songs in the Key of Life.

March 2013: Emeline Michel's Quintessence: Healing Voices of Haiti.

May 2013: Marc Carey celebrates Abbey Lincoln

October 2013: Final presentation of city-wide Blink Your Eyes festival celebrating the work of Sekou Sundiata – WeDaPeoples Cabaret

January 2014: Harlem Stage, Brad Learmonth and Pat Cruz awarded the Charles Dawson award for Programmatic Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters

March 2014: Premiere of A Conversation with Mary Lou: Geri Allen's tribute to Mary Lou Williams with Carmen Lundy, directed by S. Epatha Merkerson.

April 2014: Launch of The Year of James Baldwin, conceived by Harlem Stage, at New York Live Arts

  Photo by Marc Millman

Photo by Marc Millman


September 2015: Very Very Threadgill, a celebration of Henry Threadgill curated by Jason Moran.

February-June 2015: Celebrations of the Year of James Baldwin and Billie Holiday's 100th birthday with: World premiere of Stranger on Earth, by Carl Hancock Rux; EMoves 16 with commissioned works celebrating Baldwin and Holiday; Nona Hendryx's Parallel Lives, the music of Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf; Jose James NY premiere of Yesterday I had the Blues: the Music of Billie Holiday; and the world premiere of Stew's Notes of a Native Song.

Harlem Stage celebrates 10 years at the Harlem Stage Gatehouse.

December 2016: World premiere of Meshell Ndegeocello's Can I Get A Witness? The Gospel of James Baldwin.