Mission & History
As a nonprofit organization, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts strives to entertain and enrich the community through arts performance, education and advocacy.
Tilles Center welcomes 150,000 visitors annually to enjoy the world’s finest artists across all genres including music, dance, comedy and theater.
As a community cultural service provider, we are committed to the preservation and live presentation of all art forms: classical and pop music, jazz, cabaret, dance, cultural programming and theater, including performing arts for children and families.
We seek to explore innovation within the disciplines and are committed to a perspective that is inclusive and equitable, presenting artists who come from and speak to diverse experiences. Moreover, we seek to present “world-class” work — performances of highest artistic standard.
In addition to presenting premier performances, Tilles Center proudly supports tens of thousands of children and adult learners each year through its robust arts education programs. The focus is on providing arts experiences to underserved communities — from low-income school districts and those on the autism spectrum to local seniors.
We believe that the performing arts are uniquely capable of fostering communication and understanding among people, supporting social and emotional health, and demonstrating the highest potential for human achievement.
Long Island’s Premier Concert Venue Since 1970
In 1970, Long Island University added a 3,500 seat theater to its Brookville, NY campus, designed and built by the Butler Manufacturing Company. Locally known as The Dome, and honored with several architectural awards for its technological innovation, it was considered a daring and symbolic structure. However, on the snowy, windy night of January 21, 1978, The Dome succumbed to mounds of snow that had accumulated atop it. The collapse was said to have been slow, the roof coming down without even damaging a single chair below. No one was injured.
The concert hall that we all know today was constructed in its footprint. This 42,000 square foot structure, designed by Paul Broches and Mitchell Giurgola Architects, was completed in 1981. The new concert hall seated 2,250 people, with no audience member more than 125 feet from the stage.
Initially, this new concert hall operated without a title, however, in 1985 it was named by the new president, Dr. David J. Steinberg, in honor of Dr. Albert Bush-Brown, the former president of the university. It operated as the Bush-Brown Concert Hall for two years until a generous donation by the Rose and Gilbert Tilles family brought about the renaming of the facility. In 1987, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts was born.
Completed in 2005, a $10 million, 10,000 square foot expansion designed by the same architects was added to Tilles Center, including the Atrium, administrative offices, additional restrooms, and auxiliary mechanical and support spaces. This grand, new entry provided an elegant pre-performance and intermission reception area, now equating the venue space with the high-caliber programming offered within.
Thanks to the generous support of Dolores and Herbert Goldsmith, Judith and Irwin Tantleff and Dori and Peter Tilles, Tilles Center upgraded and replaced many of the cosmetic aspects of the Concert Hall in 2020.
Krasnoff Theater at Tilles Center
The Krasnoff Theater, Tilles Center's more intimate performance space, is host to a broad array of performances, speakers, academic programs and events. Thanks to the generous support of Sandy and Eric Krasnoff, the venue was renovated and expanded in 2018. The completely refurbished theater boasts state-of-the-art sound and projection systems and cushioned seating with lumbar support to allow for a first-class experience for both performancers and guests.
Today, the 2,200 seat Concert Hall and the 500 seat Krasnoff Theater boast over 50 world-class performances a year, with sightlines and configurations for all types of events. The Concert Hall features impeccable acoustics and Krasnoff Theater is noted for its intimacy for both performers and patrons. Together, both halls make up Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, the premier performing arts center on Long Island.
Recent performers include Jerry Seinfeld, Diana Ross, Elvis Costello, Alice Cooper, Bill Clinton, Carol Burnett, Lang Lang, Jazz at Lincoln Center featuring Wynton Marsalis, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Steve Martin & Martin Short, George W. Bush, Baby Shark, Smokey Robinson, Martha Graham Dance Company, Itzhak Perlman, Patti LaBelle, Diana Krall and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
A Leader in Arts Education
Since its inception, Tilles Center has offered engaging opportunities and educational experiences to enrich and expand the lives of its community members. The Arts Education Program was officially conceptualized in the late 1990's. Programs include weekday matinee performances for student field trips, in-school residencies, family shows and workshops, sensory friendly experiences, dance classes for those with Parkinson's disease and masterclasses for dance and music students at Long Island University and from community theater and dance schools.
These initiatives continue to evolve in order to meet the greater societal goals and the Long Island community's changing needs.
Header photo: Grey Verses by Brendan Saye, ABT Studio Company, photo by Avery Brunkus