Brooklyn Academy of Music, performing arts center located in the borough of Brooklyn, N.Y. and popularly known as BAM. Founded in 1859 and opened in 1861, it is the oldest such institution still in operation in the United States. It moved to its neo-Italianate building in downtown Brooklyn in 1907. The Academy presently has four major performance areas–the Opera House, the Playhouse, the Leperq space, and the BAM Rose Cinemas. The Academy has long presented concerts, plays, ballet, and lectures, and it is now home to the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Since 1967 it has expanded into a center for experimental theater, new opera, contemporary and ethnic music and dance, independent films, and multimedia productions. An avant-garde showplace, it is also the venue for the artistically adventurous Next Wave Festival, an annual 10-week series of events that originated in 1981.