CHAUTAUQUA, NY (AP) - The Chautauqua Institution in Western New York has cut the ribbon on a new amphitheater. It replaces the one that stood for more than 100 years.

A public ceremony featuring the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra took place Sunday afternoon at the new venue, which is at the center of the arts and scholarly retreat.

Donors contributed $41.5 million to cover the cost of the project. It was undertaken over the opposition of opponents who said the original structure was historic and should have been preserved instead of demolished and rebuilt.

Organist Jared Jacobsen started piano lessons at age 5 at the Institution. After 63-years on working he didn;'t want the old amphitheater torn down saying "it was like an old friend that was being messed with but I came to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do to build a new building that really works for us." The new facility exceeded his expectations and he raves about the acoustics.

The original core of the old building was a pipe organ built in 1907. When the new building was constructed the organ was left in place and the new concert hall was built around it in nine months.

Chautauqua Institution president Michael Hill is very pleased, "it honors all of the wonderful aesthetics and reasons for its being while fixing some of the things that may have been less than ideal in the old amp. It's more accessible, the technology is better, the stage is bigger it allows us to serve people safely.

4,800 can be seated inside add the number who can stand around the building, a total of 6,300 can view a performance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.