Lincoln Center Style Guide

Style Guide

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This guide defines Lincoln Center’s current style. If something is not mentioned here, please follow the style of the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., and spellings of Merriam-Webster.

a cappella

no ital


Note spelling, per Merriam-Webster (not “acknowledgement”)



Alice Tully Hall

Alice Tully Hall, Starr Theater, Adrienne Arsht Stage

Broadway at 65th Street. The building is Alice Tully Hall; the main performing space is the Starr Theater; the stage itself is the Adrienne Arsht Stage. Use as many of these terms as apply.

all right

Not alright, which is not a word.

alphabetization of personal names

Alphabetize personal names by surname. Surnames composed of multiple words are usually alphabetized according to the first major word (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe under m, for example, but Ludwig van Beethoven under b). Exceptions should be made for people known particularly well by a surname that starts with a minor word: alphabetize Charles de Gaulle under d, for example. Refer to Grove Online when there is doubt. 


(not ambiance)

American Ballet Theatre

Do not prefix with the, even in running copy.

ampersands (&)

Do not use in running copy unless the ampersand is part of a proper noun (a group or program name). 

e.g. Liz Callaway Sings Maltby & Shire


Since “app” isn’t part of the name, it should be lowercase:

Lincoln Center app

Lincoln Center Tour app (Tour is part of the official app name)

The new Lincoln Center apps (Only initial caps if used in a headline)

The Lincoln Center and Lincoln Center Tour apps (ditto)

Bartók, Bela
The Beatles


Bernstein, Jed

pronounced to rhyme with bean

Bernstein, Leonard

usually pronounced to rhyme with mine

box offices

Capitalized when referring to a specific venue's box office:

Visit the Alice Tully Hall Box Office.

Visit the box office in Alice Tully Hall. 

cancel, canceled, canceling, cancellation

When in doubt, use sentence case, capitalizing proper nouns and the beginnings of sentences only. For titles, headline case should be used, where all words except for articles and prepositions under five characters are given initial capitals. Also, the first and last words of a phrase in headline case should be capitalized regardless of whether they are minor words.

For example, in a Great Performers brochure, the marketing headline Order today for the best seats should be in sentence case, as this is a headline and call to action, and not a title. On the same page, Exclusive Subscription Benefits could be in headline case, as this is the title of the following section.

Foreign-language titles follow the same capitalization rules as English-language titles for consistency. 


212.721.6500 (daily 10:00 am–9:00 pm)

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Capitalize The, even in running copy. If the meaning is clear from context, you may drop of Lincoln Center, in which case the should be lowercase in running copy or omitted entirely.

...presented by The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the evening...

...presented by the Chamber Music Society, the evening...

...presented by The Chamber Music Society, the evening...

Chinese names

In Chinese names, the family name typically precedes the given name: Chiang Kai-shek is Mr. Chiang, not Mr. Kai-shek.

When transliterating Chinese names and place names into the Roman alphabet, generally use the Hanyu Pinyin system (e.g. Guangzhou) rather than the older Wade-Giles (e.g. Kuang-chou) method.

Church of St. Ignatius Loyola

980 Park Avenue at 84th Street 

Claire Tow Theater

150 West 65th Street

Classical vs. classical

We generally lowercase classical when talking about, for example, the Great Performers series (which can cover everything from ancient to contemporary music). When referring to the specific period of Mozart et al, it would make sense to capitalize Classical as we do Romantic, Renaissance, Baroque, etc.


The serial comma (or Oxford comma) is often needed for clarity and should generally be used for consistency. Omit it only with care.

violins, violas, and cellos

violins, violas and cellos

compose vs. comprise

Comprise means to consist of or to be composed of. Compose means to make up the constituent parts of. Parts compose the whole, and the whole comprises the parts. I.e. the United States comprises 50 states and that the 50 states compose the United States.

N.B.: “is comprised of” is not a grammatically correct phrase

Should be: The orchestra is composed of violins, trumpets, flutes, etc. 


noun, pl concertos

Concierge Services

Previously known as Patrons Desk/Services


Avoid except in internal documents—for the public, use resident organization or resident company instead.

Damrosch Park

West 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues

dance genres

All lowercase. Exceptions: Lindy hop, Charleston 

N.B. In Midsummer Night Swing headers, we make an exception and capitalize dance genres

        Style: Swing, Blues


Follow the rules in Chicago Manual, 16th ed., 6.75 and following for hyphens and dashes.

Set emdashes using this character: . Do not surround with spaces. These are most commonly used in sentences to set off amplifying or explanatory elements, often as an alternative to parentheses or commas.

Set endashes using this character: . These are most commonly used in place of the word to, as in a range, or in place of a hyphen in phrases that include an open compound. When using in a range, do not also use the word from or between: for example, you might say simply 15–17 stringed instruments.

see also hyphens
dates and times

Never use ordinal numbers.

November 12

November 12th

Avoid abbreviations. If you must abbreviate, use three-letter abbreviations followed by periods. Never abbreviate May, June, or July. Never use numerals to indicate a month.


Jan. 29


Use am and pm (which are lowercase, no periods, and preceded by a space). Never omit :00.

Use endashes for ranges and and when there are exactly two dates in question.

Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 7:30

Saturday, November 14, 2015, 7:30–10:00

Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 10:30 am

Saturday–Tuesday, November 14–17

Friday and Saturday, November 13 and 14

Other styles may be used with care as a design choice at the discretion of the art director. These other styles must, above all, be easily understood.

David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall)

Broadway at 65th Street

David Geffen Hall café

Lowercase café

see also café
David H. Koch Theater

Columbus Avenue at 62nd Street

David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center

Broadway between 62nd and 63rd Streets

Decade abbreviations

We spent the ’90s (not ‘90s) in thrall to our gadgets.

Dvořák, Antonín

The diacritic over the r is a caron or háček (ˇ, pointed, like an inverted circumflex), not a breve (˘, curved, like a semicircle).



Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center

144 West 65th Street


When referring to a group of classical performers, such as a quartet or orchestra, treat them as grammatically singular.

The Takács Quartet brings their artistry to these two evenings.

The Takács Quartet brings its artistry to these two evenings.

Treat popular music groups as singular or plural depending on the usual style for that group. The group’s own materials should be your first source; if those are unavailable or inconsistent, follow the decision of the New York Times. Once a decision has been made about a particular group, email [email protected] to add them to this guide.

exclamation marks

These are frequently used as a crutch and should be used only with care. More specific, direct, or colorful language is often a better approach.

Festival d’Avignon

leave in French


Capitalize the word festival only when referring to the festival’s entire name.

At this summer’s Mostly Mozart Festival

At this summer’s festival

At this summer’s Festival

first come, first served

No hyphens 

Unless the sentence reads: Tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis.


not flautist

Frutiger, Adrian
Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College

524 West 59th Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues

Goode, Richard


hashtags and Twitter handles

Use internal capitalization of all words, even minor ones that would not be capitalized in headline case, for legibility.



see also URLs

Headlines, including complete sentences, take terminal punctuation only in special circumstances, e.g., for emphasis or to separate thoughts. When in doubt, do not end headlines with periods.

Generally avoid initial capitals in headlines. Read more on that in the entry at 


hear, see

Especially when writing about classical music performances, preferentially use hear and not see.

See the extraordinary London Symphony Orchestra perform...

Hear the extraordinary London Symphony Orchestra perform...

Hearst Plaza

Compound adjectives preceding a noun usually take a hyphen; after the noun, the hyphen is usually dropped.

In general, do not hyphenate phrases that include adverbs ending in ly.

see also dashes

Italicize words or phrases in foreign languages, unless those words or phrases are listed here or in Merriam-Webster.

Italicize the names of newspapers, magazines, and books.

Italicize the titles of “big works,” like albums, plays, musicals, operas, films, television and radio shows, and names of specific dances (e.g. Revelations, Mozart Dances).

Do not italicize the titles of “small works,” like songs or episodes of television and radio shows; put these in quotations.

Do not italicize the titles of symphonies.

Re: program works in brochure and web: 

-->It’s easiest to read composition titles in roman. So we’re going to make Roman lettering the standard for all program works in brochure/ads/Web, except when it’s something like “Aria name, from Tristan und Isolde”, “Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn”, “Selections from Cypresses” and the like. 

Do not italicize the names of Lincoln Center’s festivals.

Lincoln Center’s American Songbook

Lincoln Center’s American Songbook

When making italicized items plural or possessive, set the s or ’s in roman.



The J.B.’s

James Brown’s band

Josie Robertson Plaza

always use full name

The Juilliard School

60 Lincoln Center Plaza

Kapilow, Rob

Jean-Baptiste Krumpholtz, composer 

Include the "t" (per Grove online)

Langrée, Louis

Maestro Langrée is the conductor of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and the Renée and Robert Belfer Music Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival. Note that we refer to him as the music director of the festival, not of the Festival Orchestra.

Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Lawn
Les Arts Florissants
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.

70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023-6583

This organization’s full, legal name. In most instances, refer to it simply as Lincoln Center. Do not call it Lincoln Center, Inc. 




one word

log in

Verb. You log in to a website’s login page.

master class

two words

Mendelssohn, Felix
Metropolitan Opera House

Preface with the in running text only.

30 Lincoln Center Plaza

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
multiplication symbol

Use this character— ×, or × in HTML—not the letter x.


one word; no hyphen 

Mussorgsky, Modest Petrovich

Double "s"

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (sponsor)

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is the Official Hospital of Lincoln Center

Note: No space in NewYork


No hyphen. Avoid not-for-profit when describing an organization.


Spell out whole numbers from zero through ten.

Exceptions may be made for consistency among nearby numbers.

Very large round numbers may be expressed in numerals followed by thousand, million, billion, etc.

For percentages, always use numerals.

Save up to 5%.

Save up to five percent.

see also street addresses

no ital, not œuvre except in French


hyphen and initial caps


one word

Ohlsson, Garrick
Patron Lounge


Hauser Patron Salon in Alice Tully Hall

The Ronnie and Larry Ackman Family Patron Lounge in David Geffen Hall

photo caption

The credit line should appear at the end of a caption, either in parentheses or in different type (or both). A photographer’s name can also be put in small type parallel to the bottom or side of a photograph.

Photo order should be denoted in italics.

i.e. Left to right: Louis Langrée, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Joshua Bell

Above: Joshua Bell

Below: Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra

Abbreviated version: l–r: Louis Langrée, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Joshua Bell (en dash; lowercase)


Use ’s to form the possessive of any singular proper noun, even if it ends in s.

Philip Glass’s compositions

Dr. Seuss’s books


Do not capitalize. It is generally not worth noting New York premieres except at the request of the Programming or Festival department.

World premiere

U.S. premiere


One word



One word

publication titles

Titles of publications should be set in italics. Where the surrounding text is already italic, the title should be set in roman.

The English word the should not be treated as part of the title, although it may be included in running text where needed for the flow of the sentence.

praised by the New York Times as “intimate and warm”

praised by New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini

New York Times

praised by The New York Times

The New York Times

Where needed for clarity, a geographical reference should be added in parentheses. In the U.S., we are accustomed to newspapers that are associated with particular cities, but note that many foreign newspapers are national or regional and not local.

Quotations that appeared only in the web version of a publication may be attributed to the publication itself; it is not necessary to attribute a quote to “” just because it did not appear in print. Quotations from blogs should generally be attributed to the name of the blog, not the blog’s URL: for example, a Pete Matthews review might be attributed to Feast of Music and not

Here are some example publication titles as they should be styled.

  • Boston Globe
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Chicago Sun-Times
  • Daily News [not New York Daily News]
  • Daily Mail (U.K.)
  • Die Welt
  • Financial Times
  • Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
  • Guardian (U.K.)
  • Independent (U.K.)
  • Irish Independent
  • Irish Times
  • Le Monde
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Neue Zürcher Zeitung
  • New York, or, optionally, New York magazine in running text
  • New York Post
  • New York Times
  • New Yorker
  • Oregonian (Portland)
  • Portland Press Herald (Maine)
  • Rolling Stone
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Sydney Morning Herald
  • Telegraph (U.K.) [no need to include Daily or Sunday]
  • Times (London) [no need to include Sunday]
  • Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Washington Post
resident organizations

These are the full names of Lincoln Center’s resident organizations, with Lincoln Center itself at the end.

  • The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (CMS)
  • Film Society of Lincoln Center (Film Society)
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center (Jazz/JALC--internally)
  • The Juilliard School (Juilliard)
  • Lincoln Center Theater (LCT)
  • Metropolitan Opera (The Met/Met Opera)
  • New York City Ballet (NYCB)
  • New York Philharmonic (NY Phil)
  • The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (LPA, Library for Performing Arts)
  • School of American Ballet (SAB)
  • Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA
review quotes

Use an ellipsis (the character , not simply three dots) to indicate that words have been omitted. If omitting an entire parenthetical phrase (which may be set off by commas, emdashes, or actual parentheses) that does not change the intended meaning of the quotation, an ellipsis is not necessary. Never use ellipses at the beginning or end of a quote.

Square brackets should be used to indicate that words have been added or changed for clarity. Capitalization, punctuation, and other minor issues of style may be altered without requiring square brackets. Exclamation marks should never be added where they did not originally appear.

Quotations may be translated into English. Spelling should be changed to standard American spellings. Such changes do not need to be called out or marked with square brackets.

Attribute the review quote to the publication in question, or directly to the author if it did not appear in a periodical. In special, rare contexts, where the author is particularly well known, you may optionally attribute it both to the author and the publication: —Ben Brantley (New York Times), for one example.

In block quotes, precede the attribution with a space or line break followed by an emdash; in running text, enclose the attribution in parentheses or work it into the sentence. Attributions in running text should appear as close as possible to the quotation they reference without disturbing the flow of the sentence.

the “intimate and warm” acoustics (New York Times) of Alice Tully Hall.

the acoustics of Alice Tully Hall, praised by the New York Times as “intimate and warm.”

the “intimate and warm” (New York Times) acoustics of Alice Tully Hall.

the “intimate and warm” acoustics of Alice Tully Hall (New York Times).

(The last example is bad because the attribution is farther from the quotation than necessary; the one before it is bad because it interrupts the phrase and makes it more difficult to read.)

Assume that the original author will see how you have excerpted and framed their language. Respect the meaning and context of the original.

Revson Fountain
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Note comma

Samuel B. and David Rose Building

70 Lincoln Center Plaza. Home to Lincoln Center’s main offices and the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse.

Samuel B. and David Rose Building

The Samuel B. and David Rose Building

Scriabin, Alexander
Shakespeare, William



Use only one space between sentences.

split infinitives

In formal contexts, avoid splitting infinitives.

The rule against split infinitives is antiquated and perhaps even a little wrongheaded. It seems to stem from a belief that Latin is the purest language, and because Latin infinitives are one word and cannot be split, English infinitives should not be split, either.

The authoritative texts generally approve of split infinitives, and have done so for a while: the Chicago Manual has found split infinitives acceptable since the 13th edition in 1983, and Strunk and White provisionally endorsed the practice as early as 1959.

That said, our goal with all matters of style should be unobtrusiveness; we should call as little attention to these decisions as possible. Because split infinitives are jarring to many careful readers despite all the above, avoid them where there is a graceful alternative. Where a split is unavoidable (or even elegant), accept it.


The English town that is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Stravinsky, Igor
street addresses

Spell out and capitalize East, West, Street, Avenue, Highway, Parkway, and similar words in street addresses.

For Manhattan addresses, use numerals for names of all numbered streets, and spell out names of all numbered avenues.

West 4th Street

West Fourth Street

Eleventh Avenue

11th Avenue

When mentioning more than one street, still include and capitalize Street or Avenue.

between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues

between West 65th and West 66th Streets


one word

subway service

The subway stations nearest to Lincoln Center are the 66th Street–Lincoln Center station, which offers 1 train service, and the 59th Street–Columbus Circle station, which offers service on the 1, A, B, C, and D trains. Refer to those trains and stations in that manner; note that the names contain endashes, not emdashes or hyphens.

In New York City, “trains” (or, more formally, “services”), are not equivalent to “lines,” which are less often mentioned; for example, the A and C trains run in Manhattan on the Eighth Avenue line. Do not refer, for example, to the A line; it’s the A train.


one word

Symphony names

Put the specific name of the symphony in quotation marks.

e.g. Symphony No. 41 (“Jupiter”)


noun; hyphenated

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Il’yich

Per Grove Online.

Note that the New York City Ballet spells the name: Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky.

telephone numbers

Use periods to separate the numbers.


(212) 721-6500

In documents or correspondence for an international audience, include the country code prefaced by a plus sign and separated with a space:

+1 212.721.6500

Tetzlaff, Christian
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Include "The" in lists and running text. 

Abbreviated as LPA (Library for Performing Arts) 


Not theatre except as part of a proper noun.


One word

time zones

New York City is in the eastern time zone. Note that this is not the same thing as eastern standard time, which is observed for only part of the year, when eastern daylight time is not being observed. Unless you are absolutely certain which time zone is currently in effect, do not reference EST or eastern standard time; just call it eastern or ET instead.

Wednesday, June 3 at 7:30 pm ET

When writing about an event that the reader might attend in person, time zones can usually be omitted, but be sure to include the time zone in descriptions of events that can be watched over the internet.

tour de force

no ital

translations of titles

Where appropriate, include accepted English-language translations of titles of works, enclosed in parentheses. Do not use quotation marks around the translated title.

Spem in alium nunquam habui (In No Other Is My Hope)

United Kingdom

Spell out or abbreviate as a noun. Use U.K. as the adjective.

Great Britain is the large island that makes up most of the state. As many parts of the U.K., most notably Northern Ireland, are not on Great Britain, U.K. is generally preferable to British as a neutral, state-wide adjective. Better yet, when possible, use country-specific adjectives like English, Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish.

United States

Spell out or abbreviate as a noun. In general, omit of America. Use U.S. as an adjective: U.S. premiere.

Upper West Side

For Lincoln Center websites, omit www. Use internal capitalization of all words, even minor ones that would not be capitalized in headline case, for readability.

Verdi, Giuseppe

noun, pl virtuosos

Vivian Beaumont Theater

150 West 65th Street

Walter Reade Theater

165 West 65th Street


no space




Starts with an apostrophe and not a single open quote. Not ‘wichcraft. (The two characters can be difficult to distinguish in Univers; here they are in another font for clarity: ’wichcraft, not ‘wichcraft

Will Call

noun; initial caps

*except: if used an adjective, lower case and hyphenated (will-call)


adj. Use sparingly.




One word

Zukerman, Pinchas