Carnegie Hall: 125 Years of an Iconic Music Venue's Most Remarkable People and Memorable Events

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125 Years of an Iconic Music Venue’s Most Remarkable People and Memorable Events

Breguet, the innovator. Invention of the Tourbillon , 1801

The Classique Grande Complication Tourbillon 5317 provides the perfect setting for Breguet’s most spectacular invention and undeniably the most beautiful of all horological complications, developed over 210 years ago to compensate for the effects of gravity. On the back, the “B-shaped” oscillating weight reveals the beauty of the meticulously hand-engraved movement. History is still being written...



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More than a century of transforming lives. Since 1891, Carnegie Hall has been making its mark in New York City—through its amazing people, memorable events, and iconic venue. Tishman Construction, an AECOM Company, has been shaping New York for over a hundred years, too—through constructing the buildings that the community calls home, companies call headquarters, and the nation calls icons. Established in 1898 and known for managing complex, high-profile projects, one of Tishman’s greatest stories is its work with Carnegie Hall. Not just anyone can be trusted to restore, renovate, and build for a cultural center whose landmark status and prominence requires special sensitivity and responsiveness. Yet, for 35 years—from the restoration of the historic Stern Auditorium to constructing the new Zankel Hall and renovating the Studio Towers—Tishman has been the builder, advisor, and partner to Carnegie, ensuring there was never any interruption to the more than 750 performances and 700,000 visitors each year. We are proud to support Carnegie Hall.

Credit: Studio AMD

Congratulations on 125 years of transforming lives through the power of music!

Congratulations Carnegie Hall on 125 years of artistic excellence.

M usic at St. Ol af College

Founded in 1891 Celebrating 125 years in 2016 Performing at Carnegie Hall February 6, 2016

Winner of the 2013 American Prize, Orchestral Performance for College/University

Twelve performances at Carnegie Hall since 1920 Christmas in Norway with the St. Olaf Choir recognized with a Regional Emmy® Award in 2013

Two-time featured performer on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor

St. Olaf College • Northfield, Minnesota •

Information about the February 6, 2016 St. Olaf Band Carnegie Hall concert available at


arnegie Hall is such an important place for music. It’s like the Vatican. It’s church. It’s a holy place. And it feels like home.

I remember seeing Ella Fitzgerald give a concert there in 1991 – I found out only recently that this ended up being her last public performance anywhere. She was so brilliant, and the audience was just beside themselves. She kept coming back to do encore after encore, and when they tried to lead her off the stage, she yelled, “No! These people want me to sing for them. I’m gonna keep singing!” I thought to myself that this couldn’t be a more perfect moment – I knew I was witnessing greatness. I kept that moment in the back of my mind when I made my own Carnegie Hall debut in September 1998. I was performing with the San Francisco Symphony in celebration of Gershwin’s 100th birthday. I was so nervous – I didn’t think I was going to be able to get through it. But when I walked on stage, with the orchestra behind me and the great legend that is Michael Tilson Thomas standing next to me in this Hall, I felt so at peace. And I was so stunned by that. I remember thinking, “Oh. This is where music is made. This is where it’s supposed to happen.” Nothing felt out of place. All just felt right. I don’t think I’ve ever been as comfortable on a stage as I have been at Carnegie Hall. You walk out and it’s as if the stage says, “Yes, here you are, and you’re here to make music. And this hall was built exactly for that. You’re in the right place doing the right thing.” And no matter where you’re at in the room – either on the stage or in the audience – you feel embraced by the Hall itself. It’s an incredible fellowship. But it goes beyond the performances. Carnegie Hall is at the forefront of music education and encouraging everyone to experience this universal language of music. I think that’s life changing and life altering. It puts us all in touch with our own humanity. And if there’s anything that we need to be in touch with as we move forward in this world, it’s our humanity. That Carnegie Hall is so involved with that and bringing it to all different races, creeds, and socio-economic backgrounds, it unites all of us. In celebration of the 125 years behind us and the 125 yet to come, I wish Carnegie Hall – my home, my sanctuary – the happiest of anniversaries. At Carnegie Hall, there’s something for everybody. And I promise that no matter what, you will be changed.

Photo by autumn de wilde

Audra McDonald Carnegie Hall Artist Trustee



A|X Armani Exchange Aveda Bebe Bose Boss Coach Cole Haan Crabtree & Evelyn Diesel* Diptyque Eileen Fisher Equinox Fitness Club Etienne Aigner Face Stockholm First Republic Bank H&M H&M Man J.Crew J.Crew Mens Shop Jamba Juice Jo Malone* La Maison du Chocolat Links of London* L.K.Bennett L’Occitane en Provence Lucky Brand Michael Kors Microsoft Moleskine Montmartre Morgenthal Frederics Eyewear New York Running Company On Tap at Whole Foods Market Papyrus Robert Graham Sara Designs Satya Jewelry Sephora Solstice Sunglass Boutique Stuart Weitzman Sugarfina Swarovski The Art of Shaving The Juice Bar at Equinox Fitness Club Thomas Pink True Religion Tumi Whole Foods Market Williams-Sonoma Williams-Sonoma Home Wolford THE RESTAURANT AND BAR COLLECTION A Voce Bar Masa Bouchon Bakery Center Bar Landmarc Masa Parkview Lounge Per Se Porter House New York

*Opening November 2015


Dear Friends, Since the day it opened in 1891, Carnegie Hall has set the international standard for musical excellence as the aspirational destination for the world’s finest artists. From the moment Tchaikovsky stepped onto the Hall’s stage – later followed by Dvorák, Mahler, and Bartók, George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, and so many more – audiences have known that the best of every type of music can be found here. The Hall’s unique history has grown out of its stunning acoustics, the beauty of its concert halls, and its location in New York City, where it has played a central role in elevating the city into one of the world’s great cultural capitals. In creating this milestone 125th anniversary season, we wanted to build for the future while remaining strongly rooted in the Hall’s heritage and legacy of legendary performances. We were excited about celebrating who we are today and – even more so – looking ahead. Alongside compelling, personally curated Perspectives series by Sir Simon Rattle, Evgeny Kissin, and Rosanne Cash – offerings that anchor our concert season – we’re proud to launch a major commissioning project in honor of our 125th. The 125 Commissions Project will result in the premieres of at least 125 new works that span the Hall’s 2015-2016 to 2019-2020 seasons, including works specifically written for young artists through a collaboration with Kronos Quartet. We hope the results will intrigue audiences, reinforcing Carnegie Hall as the place where history continues to be made. Central to Carnegie Hall’s work is the belief that everyone should have the opportunity for music to be a meaningful part of his or her life. Complementing the musical presentations on our stages, innovative music education and community engagement programs created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) – most offered for free or at low cost – will serve a half-million people in New York City, across the U.S., and around the world this season. We want to harness the power of Carnegie Hall to invite people in to experience music in exciting new ways through WMI initiatives like the Somewhere Project, our sprawling and engaging citywide exploration of West Side Story, or the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, which is now entering its fourth year and already wowing concertgoers around the globe. As we reflect on this anniversary year, it is a privilege to build on the history of this great Hall, working toward a future that is as exciting as its illustrious past. Thank you for being a part of our celebration. We hope you enjoy this commemorative publication and that you will join us often at Carnegie Hall, enjoying memorable performances in this magical place, the greatest concert hall in the world.

Photo by todd rosenberg

With all best wishes, Clive Gillinson Executive and Artistic Director, Carnegie Hall


3 5 7

The Honorable Bill de Blasio

Mayor of the City of New York

Audra McDonald

Carnegie Hall Artist Trustee

Clive Gillinson

Executive and Artistic Director, Carnegie Hall


James Inverne

Consulting Editor



C arnegie Hall History

An iconic venue’s 125 years By Jed Distler


“ What a Difference 30 Blocks Makes”

Andrew Carnegie’s prescience led him uptown to build his hall By Gino Francesconi


The Joke

Does any other hall have its own one-liner?

By Matthew Carlson

34 42

Tales of Carnegie Hall

If these walls could talk …

Museum This Way …


Highlights from Carnegie Hall’s Rose Museum

Live at Carnegie Hall!


Iconic performances captured

By Jed Distler

The Carnegie Hall Continuum

A look at the breadth of 125 years

of performances and events through the artwork that promoted them

Conte nts



59 64


The Carnegie Hall Questionnaire

Eight artists answer four questions

The Past Goes Digital

Two projects bring Carnegie Hall’s past into the present –


gala tradition with big plans to celebrate 125 years By Martin Cullingford


C arnegie Hall Perspectives

Profiles of this season’s series curators By James Inverne


and the future

Carnegie Hall continues its

By Martin Cullingford


Shaping the Future


Carnegie Hall in the 21st century

By James Inverne

B uild It, Fill It, and See Tomorrow The Resnick Education Wing is a

hub for learning and connecting

C arnegie Hall, Icon of Pop Culture

through music

A mention on The Simpsons?

By Paul Pelkonen


C arnegie Hall Heroes

Members of the Carnegie Hall family

By Martin Cullingford


Beyond the Four Walls

Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute reaches out to the

share behind-the-scenes perspectives

community at home and around the world

By Paul Pelkonen


The Somewhere Project

A citywide exploration of West Side Story

Act I: The Players Time to Learn, Time to Care By James Jolly Act II: The Scene Exploring New York’s Dark Side By Nigel Simeone


The Out-of-towners

means to go to New York to play By James Inverne

A Day in the Life of Carnegie Hall



The 125 Commissions Project

What it looks like to stage a Carnegie Hall performance

That Carnegie Hall Moment

Visitors share their unforgettable experiences of the Hall

Carnegie Hall celebrates its anniversary – and supports today’s composers – by

commissioning 125 new works By Ben Finane


Orchestra members share what it Carnegie Hall


By Martin Cullingford

Where Will New Music Go?

Composers’ thoughts on the

musical directions of the future By Rebecca Hutter


Automating the Future?

Technology’s role in 21st century music

By James Jolly


125 Years of an Iconic Music Venue’s Most Remarkable People and Memorable Events

Cover Photo Steve J. Sherman All photos courtesy of the Carnegie Hall Archives unless otherwise noted.

Contributing Writers Matthew Carlson is assistant director of public relations at Carnegie Hall Martin Cullingford is the editor of Gramophone

Published by Faircount Media Group 701 N. West Shore Blvd. Tampa, FL 33609 Tel: 813.639.1900 EDITORIAL Editor in Chief: Chuck Oldham Consulting Editor: James Inverne Managing Editor: Ana E. Lopez Editor: Rhonda Carpenter Special thanks: Carnegie Hall Editorial Director Alex Ammar DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Art Director: Robin K. McDowall Project Designer: Daniel Mrgan Designer: Kenia Y. Perez-Ayala Ad Traffic Manager: Rebecca Laborde ADVERTISING Ad Sales Manager: Patrick Pruitt Account Executives: Jason Bulluck, John Caianiello, Steve Chidel, Justin Fiedler, Brandon Fields, Lon Robins OPERATIONS AND ADMINISTRATION Chief Operating Officer: Lawrence Roberts VP, Business Development: Robin Jobson Business Development: Damion Harte Financial Controller: Robert John Thorne Chief Information Officer: John Madden Business Analytics Manager: Colin Davidson Publisher Ross Jobson

Jed Distler is a composer, pianist, writer on music, and arts presenter Ben Finane is the editor-inchief of Listen magazine Gino Francesconi is the director of archives and the Rose Museum at Carnegie Hall Rebecca Hutter is a writer, and marketing coordinator at Universal Music James Inverne is former editor of Gramophone, former Arts Correspondent for Time magazine, a playwright, and an arts consultant James Jolly is editor-inchief of Gramophone and broadcaster for BBC Radio 3 Paul Pelkonen is editor-in-chief of the Superconductor blog Nigel Simeone is author of The Leonard Bernstein Letters and Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story

ŠCopyright Faircount LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction of editorial content in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Faircount LLC does not assume responsibility for the advertisements, nor any representation made therein, nor the quality or deliverability of the products themselves. Reproduction of articles and photos, in whole or in part contained herein, is prohibited without express written consent of the publisher, with the exception of reprinting for news media use. Printed in the United States of America. None of the advertising contained herein implies Carnegie Hall endorsement of any private entity.

Revere it. Play it. Listen to it.

S O O T H E Y O U R S O U L W I T H I T.

Pres ent ing t he f irst hig h-res olut ion player piano wor t hy of t he re vere d Steinway & S ons name. T h e S t e i n w a y S p i r i o i s a m a s t e r p i e c e o f a r t i s t r y, c r a f t s m a n s h i p a n d e n g i n e e r i n g t h a t d e l i v e r s a l l t h e n u a n c e a n d p a s s i o n o f l i v e p e r f o r m a n c e s b y t o d a y ’s m o s t r e n o w n e d m u s i c i a n s f r o m c l a s s i c a l t o j a z z t o r o c k . Av a i l a b l e Ja n u a r y 2 0 1 6 . S T E I N W A Y S P I R I O . C O M



y first visit to Carnegie Hall was clandestine. For some reason, my first couple of excursions to New York (from my native London) had not included a trip to what I already knew to be New York’s cultural jewel, part of the city’s very folklore. Nor did I plan my first entry through those hallowed doors. Actually, it wasn’t the hallowed doors I went through. I was walking down the street, no doubt late for wherever I was going, when I was stopped in my tracks by a most unexpected sight. A pair of double doors were wedged open at the side of Carnegie Hall, presumably to accommodate the moving in of some piece of stage apparatus or instruments. I paused, looked around, decided to seize the moment, and walked through the magical wardrobe into Narnia. My memory is hazy as to whether the doors spat me straight into the wings of Perelman Stage or into the side of Stern Auditorium (I think this the most likely), but I do remember – and will never forget – the impact of suddenly standing in that gilded hall. I had been in beautiful, spectacular, and dramatic music palaces before, from Royal Albert Hall to La Scala and beyond. But, though they all have their qualities, none had seemed quite this – perfect. It was more than that everything was perfectly proportioned and decorously designed, though this is true. It was that this perfectly proportioned, decorously designed space was so clearly, so perfectly in a state of … waiting. For music. Because the space was in fact not quite perfect. Not as I saw it that day. It’s only when you hear the space as well as see it, when you experience it swelled and filled with great music and an audience to hear it, that you realize just what incredible potential that space has. I have been lucky enough, now, to have heard it fulfill that potential many times over. That incredible coming-together of hall and music that lifts both above and beyond. But I have also come to realize something else. It’s not just music that raises Carnegie Hall to its true potential. There is a philosophy and a vision that seems to exist in every brick, every step – and beyond, in every Carnegie Hall program outside of the venue’s walls, every education initiative, every online project. That music exists for all, that all have a right to it. That Carnegie Hall exists to bring people to it and it to them. That is a vision that has been nurtured and developed throughout Carnegie Hall’s history by so many of the signal figures who have been involved with it – from Andrew Carnegie to Isaac Stern right through to Clive Gillinson. But it is a vision that is clearly shared by everyone who works in that building, by all who are connected to it, and, not least, by the music lovers old and new who benefit. So I have returned to Carnegie Hall many times since that first time. I, like so many others, have been touched by its vision. And I, and all of you, I’m sure, will raise a glass to the next 125 years and beyond. And these days, I buy a ticket.

James Inverne, 2015 Consulting Editor


Everywhere in the world, music enhances a hall, with one exception: Carnegie Hall enhances the music.

photo, this page: jeff goldberg/esto



Photo by franklin m. heller/carnegie hall archives


Carnegie Hall poster advertising Benny Goodman’s legendary concert on Jan. 16, 1938.


then 18







A history of Carnegie Hall

A hall for Hogtown

The joke (yes, that one)

Tales of the Hall

A peek at the Rose Museum

Recordings on the wing

The visual art of Carnegie Hall







R Artist’s rendering of Carnegie Hall’s opening night performance on May 5, 1891, originally published in the Saturday, May 9, 1891 issue (Vol. XXXV, No. 1794) of Harper’s Weekly.

Can the multilayered, storied history of Carnegie Hall be crammed into only a few pages? The story begins in 1887 on a honeymoon cruise to Scotland ...

By Jed Distler



hen industrialist Andrew Carnegie and his new bride, Louise, encountered Walter Damrosch, conductor of the Oratorio and Symphony societies of New York, on whose boards Carnegie served, New York City did not have a venue specifically built for orchestral and choral music. Damrosch expressed his desire for just that, and Carnegie agreed. Two years later, Carnegie formed the Music Hall Company of New York, through which he bought parcels of land between 56th and 57th streets on Seventh Avenue. With architect William Burnet Tuthill and the Chicago-based acoustic consultants Adler & Sullivan signed on, the cornerstone was cemented on May 13, 1890. Carnegie provided most of the project’s total cost of $1.1 million (the equivalent of $28,947,368 in 2015). The building proved to be one of the last in New York to be constructed entirely out of masonry, although future modifications brought steel into the mix. By April 1891, the Recital Hall (where Zankel Hall resides today) was ready for business, along with the Chamber Music Hall (renamed Carnegie Recital Hall in the late 1940s, and later Weill Recital Hall in 1987). May 5 marked the large Music Hall’s official opening with a five-day festival featuring the celebrated composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conducting his own music, beginning with the Marche Solennelle on opening night and, a few days later, his Piano Concerto No. 1. On Nov. 17, Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s


May 5-9. Opening Week Music Festival, including the New York premiere of Berlioz’s Te Deum Nov. 17. Debut of pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski


Nov. 18. Debut of the New York Philharmonic, which called Carnegie Hall its home for 70 years


Feb. 13. Soprano Sissieretta Jones

becomes the first African-American to perform in the Main Hall Dec. 15. World premiere of Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”), with Anton Seidl conducting the New York Philharmonic

supplement the Hall’s income


March 21. Richard Strauss conducts the Wetzler Symphony Orchestra in a program of his own works,

The two Studio Towers are constructed along the south and east perimeters of the main structure to


Jan. 31. Lecture by Winston Churchill about his experiences as a war correspondent for The Morning Post during the Second Anglo-Boer War


Andrew and Louise Carnegie (left) and Walter Damrosch (below). Bottom: Carnegie Hall under construction in 1890.

American debut solidified his reputation as the era’s most popular pianist. Three of his 11 subsequent New York recitals took place in the Main Hall. No concert promoter would have dreamed of presenting a recitalist in a venue of that size, yet Paderewski’s drawing power set a new

including Don Juan, Also sprach Zarathustra, and the world premiere of Symphonia Domestica – the fifth of seven concerts that he gives at the Hall that spring


Jan. 8. U.S. debut of Artur Rubinstein

Jan. 22. Samuel Clemens – better known as Mark Twain – and Booker T. Washington appear in a benefit for the Tuskegee Institute


Dec. 4. First suffrage rally at Carnegie Hall, featuring speeches by Ethel Snowden and Carrie Chapman Catt Dec. 8. Gustav Mahler conducts the New York

Symphony Orchestra in the U.S. premiere of his Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection”


Nov. 13. Sergei Rachmaninoff makes his Carnegie Hall debut, performing his Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and conductor Max Fiedler



luxury is personal





precedent; indeed, stage seats had to be added. In 1893, the board members voted to rename the Hall after its principal benefactor. As the Hall quickly established itself as a worldclass concert venue, Carnegie soon realized that it could not pay for itself. He authorized two tower extensions, completed in 1894 and 1897, which provided 170 work and living spaces available for all kinds of artists to rent. Their high ceilings and favorable light became almost as legendary as their roster of occupants, which included, at different times, Isadora Duncan, Agnes de Mille, Garson Kanin, Marlon Brando, and Leonard Bernstein. In an era where video and audio documentation is a matter of course, who today wouldn’t give anything to directly experience Carnegie Hall’s major events at the 20th century’s cusp? The 1890s alone saw the world premieres of Dvorák’s Te Deum and “New World” Symphony, debuts by sopranos Adelina Patti and Nellie Melba, violinist Eugène Ysaÿe, composer/ bandleader John Philip Sousa, pianist Josef


May 2. Debut of the Clef Club with James Reese Europe – a high-profile performance of an all AfricanAmerican ensemble, playing the music that will become jazz


Jan. 14. Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen speaks about leading the first successful South Pole expedition


Oct. 27. American debut of 16-yearold violinist Jascha Heifetz


April 30. Liberty loan rally with singers Geraldine Farrar and Enrico Caruso, which raises more than $2 million


July 8. President Woodrow Wilson speaks on the Treaty of Versailles Aug. 11. Death of Andrew Carnegie


Jan. 8. U.S. debut of Igor Stravinsky in a concert of his own works, conducting the New York Philharmonic Feb. 1. Louise Carnegie sells Carnegie Hall to real estate developer Robert E. Simon Sr. Dec. 3. Composer/pianist George Gershwin

Above: Booker T. Washington holds a Carnegie Hall audience spellbound during his Tuskegee Institute Silver Anniversary lecture in 1906. Mark Twain is seated just behind Washington. Below: Carnegie Hall in 1899 after the completion of the studio tower additions.

Hofmann, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 1892, pianist Walter T. Talbert and a group of supporting musicians became the first AfricanAmerican artists to grace a Carnegie Hall stage. Non-musical events also filled the venue’s busy schedule. The Urania Astronomical Society of Berlin presented scientific lectures and demonstrations that ran for nearly 100 performances, while an 1896 Presbyterian Home Missions Rally found President Grover Cleveland and educator, author, and civic leader Booker T. Washington sharing the stage. Washington would appear at Carnegie Hall 17 times, most memorably in a 1906 Tuskegee Institute benefit alongside Mark Twain. The Hall also provided an important

presents the world premiere of his Concerto in F, with Walter Damrosch conducting the New York Symphony Orchestra


April 10. George Antheil’s U.S. debut in a concert of his own works, including American premieres of A Jazz Symphony and Ballet Mécanique April 23. Prohibition

debate between Clarence Darrow and Wayne B. Wheeler Nov. 25. Debut of violinist Yehudi Menuhin, playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the New York Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fritz Busch


Jan. 12. U.S. debut of Vladimir Horowitz and Sir Thomas Beecham with the New York Philharmonic


Nov. 5. Paul Robeson’s Carnegie Hall debut in the first of two recitals


April 1. Tribute to Albert Einstein with Leopold Godowsky, Arnold Schoenberg, and more than two dozen other artists


Dec. 15. Debut of Martha Graham and the Martha Graham Dance Company

For flawless music you come to Carnegie Hall.

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forum for the women’s suffrage movement at a 1908 mass meeting – the first of many to come. Notable debuts ushered in the new century. Beloved violinist Fritz Kreisler gave the first of numerous Carnegie Hall concerts, as did cellist Pablo Casals. The Kneisel Quartet, founded in Boston, became the first string quartet to give a full program in the large hall. And a promising young 26-year-old British war correspondent named Winston Churchill delivered a 1901 lecture on the Anglo-Boer War “As I Saw It.” By the decade’s end, formidable composer/conductors Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler had premiered their own works, as did composer/ pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff in the first of his nearly 100 Carnegie Hall appearances. Subsequent decades brought forth a number of changes, some proving quite consequential. Upon Carnegie’s death in 1919, majority ownership passed on to his widow, Louise. In 1920, the Hall’s exterior masonry steps and old iron marquee with sidewalk supports were replaced. And a year later, due to increased

While Carnegie Hall continued to be linked with the acme of classical music performance, it welcomed artists willing to push and blur boundaries …


Jan. 15-Feb. 26. Artur Schnabel becomes the first pianist to present all 32 Beethoven sonatas as a cycle in the Main Hall


Jan. 16. Debuts of Benny Goodman and His Orchestra and Count Basie Dec. 23. The first of John Hammond’s “From Spirituals to Swing” concerts, featuring more

than 40 of the era’s seminal jazz, blues, and gospel performers


Dec. 7. News of the attack on Pearl Harbor interrupts the New York Philharmonic radio broadcast; at the end of the concert, piano soloist Artur Rubinstein joins the orchestra for a replaying of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” with the audience singing along

Carnegie Hall's main 57th Street entrance in 1950. Note the old marquee, built in 1935 to replace an earlier marquee added in 1908; it remained in place until 1972 (the original 1891 building had no marquee).

traffic and pedestrian activity, the city decided to widen 57th Street. Not many years after that, Mrs. Carnegie sold Carnegie Hall to real estate developer Robert E. Simon, who promised the “continued operation of the auditorium of Carnegie Hall for five years, unless another hall, capable of taking its place, is sooner constructed.” As long as it continued to pay for itself, tenants and music lovers had no cause to worry. Simon went so far as to redecorate the corridors and performing spaces. After his death in 1935, the owner’s son, Robert E. Simon Jr., assumed majority ownership and made further renovations that included getting rid of the wood and canvas stage shell in order to expose the restored plaster-based back wall. While Carnegie Hall continued to be linked with the acme of classical music performance,


Jan. 8. Debut of Isaac Stern Jan. 23. Debut of Duke Ellington April 25. War bonds concert with Arturo Toscanini, Vladimir Horowitz, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra, which raises more than $10 million Nov. 14. Debut of Leonard Bernstein


April 2. Tribute to Fats Waller with more than 40 artists, including

Mary Lou Williams, Teddy Wilson, Count Basie, and Billie Holiday


Feb. 8. Louis Armstrong’s headlining debut Feb. 28. United Artists feature film Carnegie Hall released

Sept. 18. Ernest Tubb and stars from the Grand Ole Opry present the Hall’s first country music program Sept. 29. Carnegie Hall debuts of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie, featuring Gillespie’s reunion with Charlie Parker


March 27. Billie Holiday makes her triumphant return to performing

with the famed midnight concert


April 12, 13, and 15. With a cast that includes soprano Eileen Farrell, tenor Frederick Jagel, and bass Mack Harrell, Dimitri Mitropoulos and the New York Philharmonic present Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck in concert


April 4. An allWagner program

Juilliard Celebrating more than 80 seasons of performances at Carnegie Hall. 2015-16 EVENTS

Alan Gilbert conducts the Juilliard Orchestra November 24 Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall

Leo B. Ruiz Memorial Recital: Jay Campbell, Cello December 7 Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall Photo: Don Giordano

Ensemble ACJW November 10 | January 7 | March 8 | June 1 Paul Hall at Juilliard

Chris Lee

The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin congratulate Carnegie Hall on its 125th Anniversary. We’ve been proud to present great music in this storied concert hall for over 100 years.



it welcomed artists willing to push and blur boundaries, providing a forum for early modern dance innovators Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, and the Martha Graham Dance Company’s October 1938 Carnegie Hall solo debut. As early as 1912, James Reese Europe’s Clef Club Orchestra presented an evening of AfricanAmerican music, and a 1928 concert with W.C. Handy’s Orchestra and Jubilee Singers embraced blues and spirituals. Benny Goodman’s highly acclaimed 1938 concert proved to be Carnegie Hall’s jazz “breakout” event with its integrated roster of musicians and high-energy momentum. From that day forward, jazz could consider Carnegie Hall home. Folk and popular music artists followed throughout the 1940s and ’50s, and it was just a matter of time before rock ‘n’ roll staked a claim in Carnegie Hall’s history, starting with Bill Haley and His Comets in 1955. By 1955, however, Robert Simon Jr. found it too expensive to maintain a New York City music hall. The New York Philharmonic’s imminent move to the new Lincoln Center complex left Carnegie Hall without a steady and dependable source of income. When Simon announced plans for the Hall’s demolition, long-time house manager John Totten, together with baritone Lawrence Tibbett, organized the “Save Carnegie Hall Committee,” which attempted to secure enough funding to purchase Carnegie Hall from Simon. The committee did not accomplish this goal, yet it managed to raise $6,000 that ultimately went to the Citizens Committee for Carnegie Hall, founded by violinist Isaac Stern and philanthropist Jacob M. Kaplan. Stern had

marks Arturo Toscanini’s final NBC Symphony Orchestra broadcast concert

April 4. U.S. debut of cellist Mstislav Rostropovich


Oct. 30. First full-length rock ‘n’ roll concert at Carnegie Hall with Bo Diddley, Etta James and The Peaches, and Big Joe Turner

May 19. A concert billed as Van Cliburn’s American broadcast debut – five weeks after he won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow




Jan. 4. Carnegie Hall debut of Edith Piaf

Jan. 27. Carnegie Hall debut of Maria Callas

Isaac Stern on the phone with New York City’s Mayor Robert Wagner during the campaign to save Carnegie Hall in 1960.

convinced Mayor Robert Wagner that the city should purchase Carnegie Hall – the first time that New York City would buy a building to save it from demolition. He also outlined a vision for the future once the Hall was saved. He saw Carnegie Hall not so much as competition for the new Lincoln Center complex, but, instead, as a major venue in and of itself, dedicated to music education, as well as the future home base of a national youth orchestra. Stern’s powers of


May 16. Carnegie Hall saved from demolition Oct. 19. The first of seven New York recitals marking pianist Sviatoslav Richter’s New York debut


Jan. 27. Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with more than 20 artists, including the Rat Pack, Tony Bennett, Harry Belafonte, and Sidney Poitier April 23. Carnegie Hall debut of

artists of the Grand Ole Opry


Judy Garland – a concert that is recorded and released 10 weeks later, earning four Grammy Awards Nov. 4. Carnegie Hall debut of Bob Dylan, his first New York concert outside of a coffeehouse Nov. 29. Patsy Cline performs at the Hall with

Feb. 12. The Beatles perform two concerts in one day June 20. Carnegie Hall debut of the Rolling Stones Nov. 6. Carnegie

Hall is declared a National Historic Landmark


June 17-20. First New York Folk Festival, comprising 11 concerts with such artists as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, June Carter, Mississippi John Hurt, Jimmy Driftwood, Doc Watson, The Statler Brothers, Bill Monroe, Grandpa Jones, Phil Ochs, and The Staple Singers


June 20. Carnegie Hall declared a New York City Landmark


Feb. 23. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Baldwin speak at the W.E.B. Du Bois centenary celebration – King’s last major address before his assassination

Sept. 14. Carnegie Hall recital debut of Ravi Shankar


May 2. Carnegie Hall debut of B.B. King


The Newport Jazz Festival moves to New York City, including Carnegie Hall as one of its venues


Jan. 18. Michael Tilson Thomas and the Boston Symphony

Orchestra perform Steve Reich’s Four Organs, which is met with boos from some and cheers from others


May 18. “The Concert of the Century,” a benefit marking the Hall’s 85th birthday, with Vladimir Horowitz, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, and members of the New York Philhar-

Above: Inaugural Family Day at Carnegie Hall in the Resnick Education Wing, new home of the Weill Music Institute, held on Sept. 21, 2014. Right: A practice room in the Resnick Education Wing.

established the Weill Music Institute (WMI), under which the Hall’s education and community engagement would globally expand. To help support the continuous growth of WMI, the upper floors of the building were transformed into spaces dedicated to music education. This project reached completion in 2014 with the opening of the Resnick Education Wing, creating 24 teaching studios, practice rooms, and areas for interactive events and workshops for young musicians and education professionals.

monic and the Oratorio Society of New York


June 1. Carnegie Hall debut of Philip Glass


June 13. Frank Sinatra sells out the first of 58 shows at the Hall throughout the decade before his final appearance in 1987


April 8. Carnegie Hall debut of the

newly formed New York Pops under its founder and musical director Skitch Henderson




The Hall launches its Link Up education program Oct. 31. Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Melle Mel take part in a benefit concert, becoming the first hip-hop artists to appear at Carnegie Hall

Full interior renovation completed Dec. 15. Reopening gala concert

May-June. Liza Minnelli sells out 17 consecutive performances – a record that still stands


May 11. Bea Arthur, Tony Bennett, Leonard Bernstein, Nell Carter, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Natalie


Left: The Carnegie Hall lobby after renovation in 1986.


persuasion paid off. The New York legislature passed a bill that enabled the City of New York to purchase the Hall and lease it to the newly formed not-for-profit Carnegie Hall Corporation, which runs it to this day. A $60 million restoration and renovation campaign brought important structural changes in 1986, including installing a much-needed elevator system, rebuilding the lobby, and restoring the Main Hall, which was rededicated Stern Auditorium in 1997 with the name of Perelman Stage being added in 2006. During the 1991 centennial year, the Rose Museum opened, showcasing the building’s history through archival material such as concert programs, photographs, record jackets, musical manuscripts, and video. The Carnegie Hall Cinema (the former Recital Hall, Carnegie Lyceum, and Carnegie Playhouse underneath the Main Hall) also underwent a major facelift 10 years before Carnegie Hall reclaimed the space for its original concert hall purpose. In order to do so, 6,300 cubic yards of bedrock had to be excavated. In September 2003, the $72 million state-of-the-art Zankel Hall opened its first season with a two-week festival. That same year, Carnegie Hall





The Carnegie Hall 2015-2016 season continues with programs that abundantly reflect today’s healthy


multicultural musical zeitgeist.

The Carnegie Hall 20152016 season continues with programs that abundantly The National reflect today’s healthy multiYouth Orchestra of the United cultural musical zeitgeist. The States of America opening night concert with with conductor Charles Dutoit in Alan Gilbert and the New York Stern Auditorium/ Philharmonic features pianist Perelman Stage on Evgeny Kissin in the first of July 11, 2015. his six Perspectives concerts this season. Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash also curates her own four-concert Perspectives series, as does Sir Simon Rattle with the Berliner Philharmoniker. From Berlin to Vienna and Philadelphia to San Francisco and beyond, the world’s leading orchestras grace Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage once

Cole, Walter Cronkite, Michael Feinstein, Marilyn Horne, Madeline Kahn, Garrison Keillor, Shirley MacLaine, Willie Nelson, Jerry Orbach, Frank Sinatra, Tommy Tune, and others appear in a televised concert to celebrate Irving Berlin’s 100th birthday


March 10. The first of more than a dozen Rainforest Foundation benefit

concerts organized by Sting and Trudie Styler, featuring such artists as Billy Joel, James Taylor, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, and Dame Shirley Bassey April 25-May 5. A week of concerts marking Carnegie Hall’s centenary


Carnegie Hall creates the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair, selecting Ellen Taaffe Zwilich as the first


Carnegie Hall names Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, and Maurizio Pollini its first Perspectives artists


Sept. 23 and 24. Celebration of Isaac Stern’s 80th birthday and his 40th anniversary as president of Carnegie Hall in a weekend of concerts and retrospective films

again, not to mention prominent solo artists like Maurizio Pollini, Mitsuko Uchida, Joshua Bell, Lang Lang, Marc-André Hamelin, Renée Fleming, Yefim Bronfman, Jonas Kaufmann, Emanuel Ax, Yuja Wang, and Jeremy Denk. Important popular, jazz, and world music luminaries like Sting, Dianne Reeves, and Sweet Honey in the Rock reflect the Hall’s commitment to all-inclusiveness at the highest levels. In short, Carnegie Hall can take proud stock in its rich history while projecting into a long and fruitful artistic future with confidence, openness, and an ever-evolving sense of adventure. c 2003

In September, a two-week festival curated by composer John Adams launches the opening of Zankel Hall


Oct. 19. J.K. Rowling makes her Stern Auditorium/ Perelman Stage debut, reading for an invited audience Oct. 25. Premiere of David Lang’s the little match girl passion in Zankel Hall, a work

co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall that wins the 2008 Pulitzer Prize


April 15. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra makes its Carnegie Hall debut with the world premiere of Tan Dun’s Internet Symphony No. 1, “Eroica,” composed specifically for this concert


March 4. Members of the inaugural National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America are announced


The launch of a project aimed to commission at least 125 new solo, chamber, and orchestral works from established and emerging composers between the 2015 and 2020 seasons


“What a Difference 30 Blocks Makes” By selecting “Hogtown” for his hall, well away from high society’s haunts, Andrew Carnegie brilliantly succeeded in creating a strategy that became a mythology, says archivist Gino Francesconi.


mong Andrew Carnegie’s many talents were his keen instincts and ability to imagine sensibly what the future might hold. Whether it was building bridges out of steel, investing in the railroad sleeper car, signing the first prenuptial agreement, forming the first philanthropic organization, or building a home 30 blocks north of other wealthy New Yorkers, his investments in the future were based on knowledge, faith in himself, and having the instincts to take a chance to say yes when most would say no. This genius also applied to his funding Carnegie Hall. From the very beginning, Carnegie had no intention of financing a concert

Carnegie Hall cornerstone ceremony, May 13, 1890. Louise Whitfield Carnegie is holding the mallet in front of the cornerstone, while Andrew Carnegie can be seen behind the rope extending from the large block and tackle behind the cornerstone.

hall that would be built in the cultural heart of New York City, which then was 14th Street. The city was continuously growing and moving north. New Money had already built the Metropolitan Opera House on 34th Street. In 1888, when Carnegie asked a real estate agent for land “on which to build a music hall,” Carnegie instructed him not to look below West 57th Street – almost three miles north of what was then Midtown and 16 years before the subway traveled that far. Just 20 years before, in 1868, the neighborhood was referred to as “Hogtown,” where shanties and pigsties were located on top of rocky outcroppings.

then It took three mayors and the U.S. Army to remove them so the city could start blasting to level the streets. Even today there is still a long slope from Seventh Avenue to Sixth, and from 57th toward 42nd. By the 1880s, there were brownstones, stables, and churches. The streets were cobblestoned and not yet lit at night. In 1883, Thomas Osborne took a chance and purchased a lot on the northwest corner of 57th and Seventh Avenue to construct an 11-story apartment building that would be the tallest in New York City and one of the most richly furnished. But wealthy New Yorkers were not yet completely convinced about permanent apartment living, one family on top of another, apart from a hotel. If you had money, you had your own house. Osborne spent more than a million dollars, yet had to declare bankruptcy five years later. But Carnegie took notice. The uptown neighborhood was almost the geographical center of the island, and the high West 50s were the last few through streets before Central Park. Carnegie purchased nine lots on the southeast corner of West 57th and Seventh. While some scoffed at his decision, there were others quickly searching for property nearby. A photo of The Osborne from 1885 shows a number of empty lots of West 57th Street. A few years after Carnegie Hall opened on May 5, 1891, there weren’t any. By 1902, stores around which Midtown flourished – Macy’s, Tiffany, and Steinway – had moved north and the new owners of The

31 Osborne added two floors to accommodate the demand. Everything about Carnegie’s Music Hall was state of the art: the lighting, ventilation, sightlines – even having three theaters under one roof was a new concept in the United States. The most famous living composer of the day, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was invited

If an artist was good enough, the public went the extra mile.

A lithograph of Carnegie Hall shortly after its opening in 1891, originally published in Harper's Weekly.

to participate in the inaugural five-day Music Festival, and on opening night, the New York Symphony Orchestra gave the New York premiere of Berlioz’s Te Deum. The press raved and praised the new hall. It seemed as though Carnegie’s words at the laying of the cornerstone in 1890 – “it is probable that this hall will intertwine itself with the history of our country”

– would commence on day one! Then Tchaikovsky went home and everyone else went back downtown. The summer passed and the momentum of Carnegie’s vision seemed to be nothing more than just good marketing. That began to change, however, when William Steinway brought pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski to New York. Rather than have him perform in his own Steinway Hall on 14th Street, he booked the pianist into Carnegie’s Music Hall for a series of concerts. He knew he was taking a risk since it was double the size of Steinway Hall and far uptown for most concertgoers. But Paderewski received rave reviews and sold out the series. Other managers, hearing of Steinway’s profit, tried to have their own artists match “selling out Carnegie Hall.” As one critic put it simply, “What a difference 30 blocks makes.” If an artist was good enough, the public went the extra mile. Selling out Carnegie Hall began to mean something in New York City. It meant an artist was worth going out of the way to hear – a level of achievement not previously associated with any other concert hall. In less than a generation, it meant the same all over the world. A Carnegie Hall debut became a goal in any musician’s career. Andrew Carnegie would live to see his choice of the far uptown location not only accelerate the northward growth of Manhattan, but the concert hall he funded became one of the foremost anchors for America’s cultural identity. c


The Joke

Carnegie Hall is the only performance venue with its own, ubiquitous joke. But, asks Matthew Carlson, which version is the right one?



pend enough time around 57th Street and Seventh Avenue in New York City, and you’re bound to be asked for directions to Carnegie Hall. “Which way to Carnegie Hall?” “Where is Carnegie Hall?” “What’s the address for Carnegie Hall?” Almost never does one ask the “how” question. Because everyone knows how you get to Carnegie Hall. You practice. Other than Denial – that famous river in Egypt – no other global destination has a more well-known joke associated with itself than Carnegie Hall. A pedestrian on 57th Street sees a musician getting out of a cab and asks, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Without pause, the artist replies wearily, “Practice.” The punch line is often attributed to Jascha Heifetz or Artur Rubinstein, sometimes to an anonymous musician or taxi driver, and once even to a beatnik, who, in a 1960 telling, replied “Practice, man, practice.” At some point, the line was given a triple flourish: “Practice, practice, practice.” Today, the joke doesn’t even need the framing device. Most just ask “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” and sit back waiting for the inevitable response to come. For such a famous joke, its origins remain a mystery. Some have hypothesized that it came from vaudeville, but the earliest known written accounts are from the mid-1950s, which might suggest Borscht Belt humor from the Catskills resorts popular at the time. One of the early published versions, though not the first, came in a 1955 collection of jokes by Random House founder Bennett Cerf. Carnegie Hall archivist Gino Francesconi says that the best version he’s heard involved violinist Mischa Elman. As the story goes, Elman was walking from Carnegie Hall toward his hotel following a rehearsal. He wasn’t happy with his playing and had his head down. Two tourists who saw his violin case asked him the question. Without looking up, he replied, “Practice.” “He was impish enough and known for his sense of humor to come up with it,” says Francesconi. c

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Tales of Carnegie Hall

Tales of Carnegie Hall are legion. Take an in-the-know musician for lunch to one of the many cafes, hotel bars, or restaurants off one of the streets that surround the Hall and you can easily spend a happy few hours swirling several – or several dozen – of those stories around your coffee cup. New York City is a metropolis of culture; it breathes tales such as these, and small wonder that Carnegie Hall has so many of them …



Introducing … the Beetles? Back in 1964, the Beatles hit America. Carnegie Hall was only just getting into the rock band scene – as is evidenced by the misspelling of the Fab Four’s name on the booking ledger as the “Beetles.” As for the audience … well, they certainly were different from the usual Carnegie Hall crowds. It is said of that first Beatles concert that the band could not be heard for all the screaming. But if anyone thought the Beatles were a walk on the wild side, later the same year the Rolling Stones arrived!



Promoting Young Talent Andrew Carnegie’s new concert hall was clearly going to be a major project, one that the most acclaimed architects were presumably lining up to design. But in an unexpected decision, to say the least, Carnegie’s choice alighted upon a young, little-known architect who was also, coincidentally, a cellist: William Burnet Tuthill. The newcomer had only designed a small number of buildings by that point, and no concert halls. So Carnegie took a big risk in hiring him, one which, happily for everyone, paid off. In his “Practical Acoustics,” Tuthill compared the geometric properties of a concert hall to those of a billiard table, sound bouncing off the surfaces like billiard balls. One might say this comes across loud (depending on the musical work), and certainly clear in Carnegie Hall, where sonic delivery is direct and fast – qualities that orchestras and soloists today still admire.

In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a memorable address at a Carnegie Hall benefit marking the 100th birthday of the late civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois. King said, “Dr. DuBois has left us, but he has not died. The spirit of freedom is not buried in the grave of the valiant.” These were sadly prescient words. This turned out to be King’s final major public address. Only six weeks later, he himself was killed in Memphis, Tennessee.

Steinway’s Crowd-puller Although there was immense publicity that attended the spring visit of Tchaikovsky to the then-new Carnegie Hall in 1891, much of that excitement had died away over the summer, and the Hall reverted to being seen as inconveniently difficult to reach in a city that at the time was centered farther south. Yet William Steinway happened to attend a concert in London given by pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski that elicited an ecstatic, almost hysterical audience reaction such as he had never seen. He knew that bringing the pianist to New York would be a hit, but also estimated that he could fill a venue much larger than his own Steinway Hall. So he decided to book Carnegie Hall for three concerts, which with its 2,800 seats – multiplied by three – could make him far more at the box office from the engagement. This was indeed the case, and the stupendously successful concerts also, finally, put Carnegie Hall firmly on the map for those artists confident enough of selling such a comparatively large house. Incidentally, although this story is now part of New York lore, it is worth remembering how much of a risk this booking seemed to some at the time. Greeting him off the boat, Steinway employee Charles Tretbar cautioned their star pianist with the words, “You have had brilliant successes in London and Paris, but let me tell you, Mr. Paderewski, you need not expect anything like that here in America … We are not easily pleased here.”

Photo by James E. Hinton/Carnegie Hall Archives

A Tragic Foreshadowing

Photo: Mark Crosby

As broadcast partner of the Carnegie Hall Live concert series, WQXR is proud to bring the Carnegie Hall experience to classical music radio audiences in New York and around the world.



Walking Out on Leonard Bernstein Before Leonard Bernstein’s Carnegie Hall debut in 1943, conducting the New York Philharmonic, the manager of the orchestra – Bruno Zirato – gave a speech. He explained to the audience that this was an extremely gifted young conductor, of whom almost nobody would have heard (at the time Bernstein was an assistant conductor, stepping in unrehearsed at short notice for the ailing, and very famous, Bruno Walter), and that he would be conducting a very difficult program. At this, some audience members took to their feet and left! They missed one of the all-time great Carnegie Hall debuts. The concert was nationally broadcast, got ecstatic reviews, and made Bernstein an instant star.

Who’s Afraid of Glenn Gould? “Don’t be frightened,” said Leonard Bernstein, making an unscheduled introduction to a concert on April 6, 1962. He proceeded to warn the audience that pianist Glenn Gould was about to do something, well, different with the Brahms D Minor Piano Concerto. “[It’s] a performance distinctly different from any I’ve ever heard, or even dreamt of for that matter, in its remarkably broad tempi and its frequent departures from Brahms’ dynamic indications.” Just in case the audience was not surprised enough by this highly unusual prologue, he continued, “I cannot say I am in total agreement with Mr. Gould’s conception, and this raises the interesting question: ‘What am I doing conducting it?’” He went on to call Gould “so valid and serious an artist that I must take seriously anything he conceives in good faith.” Rarely can an artist have been introduced by his conductor in such a way, and it was instantly a controversial occasion (the broadcast of the concert has since been commercially released).

Screws on a Stage When Vladimir Horowitz would come to Carnegie Hall, the stagehands would have to move the piano all around the stage until Horowitz was acoustically happy with its positioning. It was a rather annoying process, moving the piano only inches at a time with Horowitz assessing the sound after every adjustment, until one of the stagehands realized that the piano would always end up in exactly the same spot! So one day, he drove three screws into the stage to denote where Horowitz liked his piano – one for each of the three legs. Lo and behold, every time Horowitz would come, it would be the same procedure, and at the end the piano would be more or less exactly on the screws. It made the life of the stagehands easier, but Horowitz never knew.



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Actors Studio Dean Emeritus James Lipton tells a lovely story from his early days as a dancer, studying with the renowned teacher Benjamin Harkarvy on the eighth floor of Carnegie Hall. “With two major dance schools, Fokine and Ballet Arts, emptying out at the same time, the line outside the eighth-floor showers was often daunting, with the result that my classmates and I waited our turns, panting and drenched, sprawled on the floor … On one of those nights, I noticed a small door open at floor level. Its resemblance to the door in Alice In Wonderland prompted me to push it open and crawl through, followed by Melissa Hayden and a gaggle of dripping dancers … We found ourselves crouched in a crawl space, the floor of which was above the concert hall’s ceiling, affording easy access to its light bulbs from above. “Then it happened. From below, the opening notes of the night’s first offering rose, enveloping and enchanting us as we lay on our bellies in our sopping tights, tunics, and t-shirts, our faces pressed against the openings in the ceiling’s grid, afloat on … nothing but music. Below us, the occupants of the ‘best’ orchestra seats glanced curiously up, palms extended, at what seemed to be a leak in the lofty ceiling, where we were cooling out in our newfound paradise – to which we returned night after magical night …”

Living Postcards from the Past Download the special “Dear Carnegie Hall” app from the App Store or Google Play, and experience the past as it comes to life. Get started by scanning the postcard of Carnegie Hall pictured here on your phone or tablet, and watch history unfold!

poto by ben martin/carnegie hall archives

The Secret Listening Room

Callas’ Triumph Maria Callas’ 1959 appearance at Carnegie Hall to sing Bellini’s opera Il Pirata found her audience at fever pitch. This was no accident. The previous year she had been fired from the Metropolitan Opera, an incident which, it later came out, her husband Giovanni Battista Meneghini had arranged in order to set up a concert tour that would pay much more – especially as the audience had not seen its idol for some time following the blow-up with the Met! As a matter of interest, it was with the very same opera, but in Rome in 1958, that Callas had faced a hostile audience just after she had offended the Italian president and his guests by withdrawing from a gala performance of Norma (more Bellini!) in Rome. So the success of the New York Pirata was something of a personal victory.


Museum This Way… Carnegie Hall’s Rose Museum is one of its greatest treasures.


n the usual business of going to a concert – and you know the rituals, that hasty finishing-up of a conversation, quick run to the restroom just in case (all the more important if a long symphony is on the agenda), the quest to locate your seat – it would be all-too-easy to ignore one of Carnegie Hall’s richest treasures. But never to visit the Rose Museum would be a mistake. It’s one of those

just-a-room-but-I-never-want-to-leave kind of experiences, packed from floor to ceiling, wall to wall with artifacts from Carnegie Hall’s history. Each one tells a story, and each story is one well worth the hearing. To give a sense of the sheer depth of the collection, have a glance at one of the cases below. We’ve picked out just six of our favorite objects, so one can imagine how many delightful hours it would take to properly view the whole room!


1 1

With this mason’s trowel, Louise Carnegie laid the cornerstone of Carnegie Hall on May 13, 1890. Such an auspicious task could not be left to any old trowel, and this one was silver-plated and inscribed by Tiffany & Co. The inscription reads, “With This Trowel Mrs. Andrew Carnegie laid the cornerstone of the New Music Hall Building, Southeast Corner, 57th Street & Seventh Avenue, New York, May 13, 1890.”



May 5, 1891, was an important day in American musical life, though few would have realized quite how significant it would turn out to be. This ticket is the first printed for the first concert at Carnegie Hall – the original opening night!




Nestled between Gene Krupa’s drumsticks and Lionel Hampton’s mallets is Benny Goodman’s clarinet. Dated to around 1975, this beautiful instrument belonged to one of the iconic figures of jazz at Carnegie Hall.

4 all photos by richard termine


It’s a good bet that a conductor’s baton residing in this room at this address would have belonged to one of the greats. And this doesn’t disappoint. Herbert von Karajan wielded this stick, which was gifted to Carnegie Hall by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO). As the museum note details, the BPO first appeared at Carnegie Hall on March 1, 1955, and has since played the Hall more than 60 times.


The eagle-eyed will notice that this lock has two keyholes. That’s because it belonged to one of the most notorious speakeasies in New York! As an extra precaution against unwelcome visitors, the member’s key had to be turned at the same time as the doorman’s to gain entry. The speakeasy was located underneath one of the buildings adjacent to Carnegie Hall, as Mrs. Carnegie was horrified to learn upon inheriting the property after her husband’s death in 1919. So close was it that there was even a secret exit, in case a speedy retreat was required, that led patrons out through the basement of Carnegie Hall itself.

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This steam gauge was made for Carnegie Hall in 1910. So great were the demands of Carnegie’s building that it required two sizeable Thomson-Houston dynamos to generate its electricity. When there was no performance or the theaters were closed, the Hall would sell its electricity to Con Ed and to the City of New York.


Rarely, if ever, does a concert hall lend its name to as many recordings as has Carnegie Hall. Over the course of the Hall’s history, the great and the good have lined up to make their benchmark “Live at Carnegie Hall” albums, as recordings expert Jed Distler reports.

, e v i i i L Vladimir Horowitz hadn’t played a concert in almost 12 years when he decided to test the waters. To get the feeling of being on stage again, the legendary pianist arranged to rehearse in Carnegie Hall, the scene of great New York triumphs from his 1928 debut to his 25th anniversary recital in 1953 when he last performed in public. At his suggestion, Columbia Masterworks recorded some of the sessions. After one run-through, Horowitz looked out from the stage to the late Julius Bloom, then



photo from the lawrence marx collection/carnegie hall archives

Gene Krupa, Babe Rusin, Allan Reuss, George Koenig, Red Ballard, Benny Goodman, Vernon Brown, and Arthur Rollini at Carnegie Hall on Jan. 16, 1938.

ll a h e i g e n r a at c Carnegie Hall’s director, and said “Not so bad today!” Bloom retorted, “Not so bad? You should have had an audience!” The earliest surviving live recordings from Carnegie Hall concerts stem from broadcasts, beginning with a fragment of Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Willem van Hoogstraten on Dec. 17, 1923, and excerpts from Willem Mengelberg leading the ensemble in Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration on April 2, 1924. By the time electrical recording had been

firmly established, RCA Victor set out to record the orchestra live in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with its then studio-shy music director Arturo Toscanini. Unfortunately, the Maestro rejected both recordings, although Carnegie Hall broadcasts eventually would provide the source material for future Toscanini releases with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. However, the first fairly complete Carnegie Hall event to be commercially released on a major label was Benny Goodman’s groundbreaking concert of Jan. 16, 1938. At first Goodman hesitated: Would jazz go over in New

46 York’s most hallowed classical venue? Yet he worked hard to create a strong and well-organized program that not only sold out, but also paved the way for future Carnegie Hall jazz events. Pioneering engineer Albert Marx had the foresight to preserve the concert and sent microphone feeds over a broadcast telephone line to various recording machines. Goodman’s copies remained stored away until his sister-in-law stumbled upon them in 1950. The brand-new LP medium made it possible to release the concert more or less in its entirety. John Hammond’s 1938-1939 “From Spirituals to Swing” concerts, Duke Ellington’s annual 1940s appearances, the September 1947 Dizzy Gillespie Big Band show with special guest Charlie Parker, and the 1957 benefit featuring Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane also yielded important archival recordings that would gain commercial release.

The recording vividly showcases not only Garland’s newfound power and authority, but also the celebrity-packed audience’s genuine enthusiasm and love. Judy Garland greeting the audience at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961.

then Many popular singers and entertainers equally benefited from albums bearing the “Live at Carnegie Hall” imprimatur. In the aftermath of The Weavers’ McCarthy-era blacklisting, original members Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, and Fred Hellerman reunited on Christmas Eve 1955 to a sold out and wildly enthusiastic house. Producer Don Friedman’s Nov. 10, 1956 show tied in to Billie Holiday’s recently released “autobiography” Lady Sings the Blues, which found the singer in precarious health yet in great voice. Holiday died in 1959, the same year that Harry Belafonte made his Hall debut as a headliner in a meticulously produced show and recording that still allowed for carefree audience interplay and participation. No one would have suspected that Judy Garland, sidelined by ailments and personal demons, would shortly work her way back to health and the height of her career in a 1960-1961 concert tour, culminating in a two-hour tour de force at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961. The recording vividly showcases not only Garland’s newfound power and authority, but also the celebrity-packed audience’s genuine enthusiasm and love. One wonders if this album’s mega-success started a trend, with Tony Bennett’s two-LP 1962 Carnegie Hall release and a less heralded yet equally riveting disc from the up-and-coming Nina Simone just around the corner, along with the legendary encounter between Carol Burnett and Julie Andrews that was both recorded and televised. Certainly it had an enormous impact on Rufus Wainwright, who galvanized the audience in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage in 2006 with his note-for-note re-creation of Garland’s concert. Yet Carnegie Hall plays host to more than just music, from an extensive lecture series presented by the Urania Astronomical Society of Berlin and a 1901 talk by the young Winston Churchill, to its role as a latter-day showcase for comedians and satirists. On Feb. 4, 1961, the controversial comedian and counterculture icon Lenny Bruce had the stage all to himself for a midnight concert. Braving two feet of snow, a blizzard, and a driving ban, nearly 3,000 people showed up, inspiring Bruce to the peak of his verbal and creative prowess (“You know, working Carnegie Hall, I dig it. I had a lot of fantasies with it … Maybe they don’t know we’re here!” he crows on the recording). Following Bruce’s death in 1966, United Artists issued an LP of excerpts, and, later, the entire concert.



of the Best

Benny Goodman: The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert (Columbia Masterworks) High-powered virtuosity and creative energy still leap out at you nearly 80 years later.

Judy Garland: Judy at Carnegie Hall (Capitol) Not just an iconic performer at the top of her game, but a celebration of the Great American Songbook.

Piotr Anderszewski at Carnegie Hall (Virgin Classics) The pianist’s musically penetrating and sonically gorgeous December 2008 debut – a great New York night.

James Levine: Live at Carnegie Hall with Evgeny Kissin (Deutsche Grammophon) The combination of Carnegie Hall’s acoustics, James Levine in action after two years’ absence due to health issues, a remarkably responsive MET Orchestra happy to have their music director back, and pianist Evgeny Kissin add up to a fulfilling and triumphant 2013 concert.

Ryan Adams: Live at Carnegie Hall (Blue Note/Pax-Am) Two complete concerts with the singer-songwriter alone and unfettered on stage in 2014, spinning out songs and stories, making no distinction between concert hall and confessional.

BYU Chamber Orchestra performs at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Kory Katseanes, 2008. Photo by Mark A. Philbrick/BYU

Brigham Young University School of Music salutes Carnegie Hall on its 125th anniversary as America’s premier concert hall.

Manhattan School of Music

How do you get to Manhattan School of Music? Same way you get to Carnegie Hall…

MSM Symphony Orchestra; Leonard Slatkin, Conductor; Carnegie Hall, April 2014

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49 Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett live at Carnegie Hall album on the right, and the “Concert of the Century” album below.

By the 1950s, specially produced live recordings from Carnegie Hall by classical artists began to grace the catalog in earnest, with at least three featuring operatic icons. To benefit the Symphony of the Air, the legendary Wagnerian soprano Kirsten Flagstad came out of retirement on March 20, 1955, performing the Wesendonck Lieder and signature excerpts from the Ring cycle and Tristan und Isolde. A limited edition recording came out four years after Flagstad’s death. RCA Victor culled a treasurable LP’s worth of material from tenor Beniamino Gigli’s three April 1955 farewell Carnegie Hall recitals. By contrast, tenor Jussi Björling was in prime voice for his Sept. 24, 1955 concert (listen to the effortless coloratura in Mozart’s “Il mio tesoro” from Don Giovanni), and its first complete appearance on CD in 2011 was long overdue. So was American soprano Leontyne Price’s magnificent and eclectic Feb. 28, 1965 Carnegie Hall recital debut, rediscovered and mastered for release for the first time in 2002. “Comebacks” occupy the grey area between debuts and farewells, and no “comeback”

generated so much excitement and anticipation as on May 9, 1965, when Vladimir Horowitz returned to the stage with Columbia’s engineers in tow. The award-winning recording sold fabulously, although there was some critical controversy over post-production editing. Although Horowitz left in some wrong notes – such as the exposed clinker at the start of his opening selection, the Bach/Busoni Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue – he corrected other mistakes. The complete unedited concert eventually saw the light of day in 2003. Ten years later, Sony BMG issued a 42-disc box set devoted to live and unedited Horowitz Carnegie Hall concerts, including recitals and concerto collaborations, plus the 1976 “Concert of the Century” benefit to commemorate the Hall’s 85th anniversary that brought the pianist together with Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yehudi Menuhin, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Leonard Bernstein, Lyndon Woodside, the Oratorio Society, and the New York Philharmonic. Horowitz likened recordings to photographs, as “remembrances of things past.” After all, a picture postcard of a mountain range might remind you of its beauty, yet it’s not the same as seeing it in person. All the more remarkable, then, how such a wide range of recordings still manages to capture the Carnegie Hall experience, to preserve the singular sense of occasion, and to convey the intangible yet palpable communication between artist and audience that transcends the performance itself. c



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51 Opening-week poster. The guest of honor was Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, whose picture appears at the top in the center.


The Carnegie Hall




here are some great works of music – Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde is one, as are almost any Bruckner symphony – that seem to stretch across time itself; each moment, each individual bar contains myriad wonderments, but only when you listen across the whole span does the true achievement become clear. Well, the same can be said for the life of a great concert hall. And you can indeed look at any one of dozens, hundreds, of magnificent nights at Carnegie Hall and think “What wouldn’t I give to have been there” (or “to be there again!”). But step back, gaze across 125 years of concert posters and materials, and you begin to chart – what? The golden history of this lauded venue, yes, but more: Through these images, one can follow the evolution of music itself, its interpreters, its interpretations, how we experience it, how we grow with it. Just as every generation brings its new music – as well as its new things to say about old music, so that Tristan et al. seem forever renewed – so too, perhaps, can we dream forward across Carnegie Hall’s next 125 years. There we might imagine – glimpse – our future as a civilization.

Richard Strauss recital flyer. During his first North American tour, Strauss not only performed in recital, but also conducted the world premiere of his Symphonia Domestica and was hard at work composing his seminal Salome.

52 Duncan Dancers event flyer. Isadora Duncan — one of the pioneers of modern dance — gave her last Carnegie Hall performance in January 1923. Ten months later, her dancers returned to the Hall and carried on her legacy well beyond her death in 1927.

Courtesy Arnold Genthe Collection / Carnegie Hall Archives

Society of American Magicians event program. Founded in 1902, the Society of American Magicians often held its events at the Carnegie Lyceum.






Woman Suffrage Party event program. Between 1908 and 1919 — before the 19th Amendment was passed by the U.S. government, guaranteeing both sexes the right to vote — Carnegie Hall hosted dozens of suffrage rallies, including the Woman Suffrage Party convention in 1910.

Pablo Casals concert flyer. Casals was both an exemplary cellist (largely credited with resurrecting concert performances of Bach’s solo cello suites) and an admired conductor who performed at Carnegie Hall more than 30 times between 1904 and 1964.

Paul Robeson concert flyer. This legendary bass-baritone, actor, and political activist made his Carnegie Hall debut with these two recitals.



New York Women’s Symphony Orchestra concert flyer. Antonia Brico, the orchestra’s conductor, made her Carnegie Hall debut with this ensemble in 1935, after becoming the first woman to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic in 1930. Eight years later, she did the same with the New York Philharmonic.

Fats Waller concert poster. In this, his last of three appearances at Carnegie Hall, Waller performed a selection of his own compositions, including the London Suite.






Yehudi Menuhin concert poster. With this performance in 1932, the violinist kicked off his nationwide tour — five years after he made his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall as an 11-year-old prodigy.

Artur Rubinstein concert flyer. Carnegie Hall audiences heartily welcomed Rubinstein back time and again, from his 1906 debut at age 19 to his final concert in 1976. Though the flyer displays the Polish spelling of his first name, Rubinstein preferred Arthur — the traditional English spelling — when he was promoted in English-speaking countries.

54 Jazz at the Philharmonic concert flyer. West Coast impresario Norman Granz’s legendary tour always featured premier jazz talents of the day. In 1954, for its 14th national tour, his roster of performers included Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, and Dizzy Gillespie.

Johnny Cash program cover. “America’s foremost singing story teller” made a poorly received debut at Carnegie Hall in 1962. But in 1968, The New York Times celebrated Cash as he “made a stirring comeback to New York” and to the Hall.

Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons concert flyer. By 1971, the group’s popularity was waning, but Valli revived his career only a few years after this performance with his hit “My Eyes Adored You.”





Edith Piaf concert flyer. To the public’s dismay, the French chanteuse postponed this performance. Sick and addicted to drugs, she never returned and died four years later.


Nina Simone concert flyer. The graceful design of this flyer befitted this stellar performer, who appeared at Carnegie Hall 16 times between 1961 and 2002.


Country in New York concert flyer. Carnegie Hall hosted some of country music’s best, including Roy Clark (longtime host of Hee-Haw) and Hank Thompson (whose life served as inspiration for the film Crazy Heart).

Photo by Stefan Cohen


YouTube Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Aug. 15, 2009.


now 59






The four questions

Gala time!

Perspectives: artists in the spotlight

Carnegie Hall in pop culture

The behindthe-scenes stars

West Side Story and the Somewhere Project




The out-oftowners: visiting orchestras

A Carnegie Hall day in photos

Those special moments: when the Earth moved at Carnegie Hall


James Taylor

125TH ANNIVERSARY GALA Celebrate more than a century of world-class music at Carnegie Hall on May 5, 2016—exactly 125 years to the day that the Hall first opened its doors in 1891. In a singular and unmatched gala evening, many of Carnegie Hall’s prolific Artist Trustees take the stage in one of the most historic and celebrated concert halls in the world to share the joy of the true universal language: music. Gala and concert-only tickets go on sale in early 2016. For more information or to be added to our mailing list, visit Gala Sponsor: Bank of America

Artists, programs, dates, and ticket prices subject to change.

Jessye Norman

James O’Mara

Yo-Yo Ma

Marilyn Horne James Alexander

Jeremy Cowart / Sony Music Entertainment

Harald Hoffmann

Lang Lang

Renée Fleming

Erick Gfeller

Emanuel Ax

Decca / Andrew Eccles

Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Martina Arroyo




The Carnegie Hall



Everyone has their own take on Carnegie Hall. The same four questions were put to some of the leading artists who have a close relationship with the venue. Their answers make for fascinating reading …

MARIN ALSOP, Conductor and Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra


hat particular thing do you associate with performing at Carnegie Hall? Feeling the sound of the orchestra in the Hall. It’s truly amazing. Do you have a pre-performance ritual for Carnegie Hall? I just try to feel the presence of all the great artists – especially conductors – who have performed there. And, of course, my wonderful teacher and mentor Leonard Bernstein. Is it possible to explain what it feels like to perform on one of Carnegie Hall’s stages? It is like time stops and I feel connected to the past and future while existing solely in that moment. To paraphrase the old joke, how did you get to Carnegie Hall? You’re not allowed to say “practice.” I performed in Carnegie Hall as a violinist many times since I was in my early 20s, but my conducting debut was with my wonderful Baltimore Symphony and I remember how happy all the musicians were!

AVI AVITAL, Mandolin


hat particular thing do you associate with performing at Carnegie Hall? A Carnegie Hall concert is not just a concert. It’s an event of historical proportions. I also asked myself before my first concert at Carnegie Hall why I was so excited. After all, my commitment to give the audience a great concert is valid no matter where I play. Still, something in the energy of this place, of this hall, is different. I think the fact that for 125 years the sounds produced by the world’s greatest artists have bounced off these walls, that night after night these beautiful and miraculous sounds have filled this room, create a unique depth to this space, a very powerful resonance. Do you have a pre-performance ritual for Carnegie Hall? I never have any rituals before my concerts. But let’s just say that there are a couple of culinary spots around that block that I can’t wait to pay a visit to. So I did end up having the exact same meal before all my Carnegie performances. Go ahead and call it a ritual if you like ... Is it possible to explain what it feels like to perform on one of Carnegie Hall’s stages? A spiritual experience. It’s not a concert hall, it’s a temple.

To paraphrase the old joke, how did you get to Carnegie Hall? You’re not allowed to say “practice.” It was thanks to Ligeti. My very first performance in Carnegie Hall was in 2010 with Ensemble ACJW conducted by Sir Simon Rattle with soprano Barbara Hannigan. The piece they played by Ligeti was for voice and mixed ensemble, and had a mandolin in the score. So I got a call and showed up.


IESTYN DAVIES, Countertenor



hat particular thing do you associate with performing at Carnegie Hall? Legends. Legendary performers. Legendary works. Legendary performances. Do you have a pre-performance ritual for Carnegie Hall? I love to spend some time in the Hall by myself in total silence, feeling the energy of the space, listening to the voices of the past echoing through the rafters, and reminding myself of how fortunate I am to step onto that stage and dare to make music. Is it possible to explain what it feels like to perform on one of Carnegie Hall’s stages? Because I regard Carnegie Hall as the ultimate temple to music, performing on that stage feels as if we are all somehow no longer quite on the ground, that we have been elevated in a rather mysterious way that brings us a touch closer to something of the Divine.

To paraphrase the old joke, how did you get to Carnegie Hall? You’re not allowed to say “practice.” But it was practice!

Is it possible to explain what it feels like to perform on one of Carnegie Hall’s stages? You feel like a tiny, tiny player in a much bigger performance that spans a greater sense of time and place. To paraphrase the old joke, how did you get to Carnegie Hall? You’re not allowed to say “practice.” I think the good old reliable career ladder, perhaps – agents speaking with the Hall’s management and so on. In fact, what worked well was that my debut recital there coincided with my Met Opera debut, so I suppose good planning and organization got me to Carnegie Hall!


JOYCE DIDONATO, Mezzo-soprano

Do you have a pre-performance ritual for Carnegie Hall? Not yet – I’ve only been three times, twice in solo recital and once in a shared song recital of Britten Canticles. I don’t have rituals for particular places, but I make an extra special effort at Carnegie Hall to organize dinner for afterwards with friends coming to the recital.


hat particular thing do you associate with performing at Carnegie Hall? The caché the name alone carries! But also the chance to see good friends in the Carnegie Hall team. As a Brit, it also in my mind links nicely with London’s Wigmore Hall – the feel of the place and the standards it embodies.





hat particular thing do you associate with performing at Carnegie Hall? Probably performance anxiety ... but only because I sense the richness (and responsibility) of history here almost more than in any other place. But then, once seated at the piano, that history becomes a support, a connection, a nurturing. Do you have a pre-performance ritual for Carnegie Hall? Not particularly, but now that I have an apartment about a four-minute walk from its Stage Door, if I were playing Brahms’ First Concerto with an orchestra, I could leave my building as the opening timpani began its roll and easily be in time to play my first D-minor chord. Is it possible to explain what it feels like to perform on one of Carnegie Hall’s stages? Well, the three halls are completely different, of course. But in Stern/Perelman, there’s a combination of a warm, supportive acoustic, a beautiful visual sweep from the stage floor to the ceiling of the gods, and the friendly ghosts of thousands of musicians.


To paraphrase the old joke, how did you get to Carnegie Hall? You’re not allowed to say “practice.” My first experience was playing in the finals of the Naumburg International Piano Competition in 1983.

YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, Conductor and Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra


hat particular thing do you associate with performing at Carnegie Hall? Quite simply, the music we play always sounds more beautiful, rich, and deep in Carnegie Hall! Do you have a pre-performance ritual for Carnegie Hall? For decades now, the entire Philadelphia Orchestra has developed a kind of ritual for each visit to Carnegie Hall: A train brings the musicians from Philadelphia to New York late afternoon, we then have a quick sound check rehearsal (to remember how gorgeous the acoustics are), followed by a light dinner in the neighborhood ... When the concert starts, we always feel we want to give an extra-special twist to our performance. It is always an event. Is it possible to explain what it feels like to perform on one of Carnegie Hall’s stages? On stage at Carnegie, there are more people than we can actually see with our eyes because we share the stage with all the legends who have performed there for over a century, and their spirits and souls inspire us to elevate our performances.

To paraphrase the old joke, how did you get to Carnegie Hall? You’re not allowed to say “practice.” As the music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, I am so fortunate to be able to keep alive a tradition that originates from the beginning of the Hall’s history by performing at Carnegie several times per season. My Carnegie Hall debut was with Verdi’s Requiem as part of my inaugural week as music director. This will always remain a highlight of a lifetime for me.

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playing New York City and being at this iconic venue, at the same time there’s a certain straightforwardness to it. It feels direct. And by this time, it feels very familiar.

JAMES TAYLOR, Singer-songwriter



hat particular thing do you associate with performing at Carnegie Hall? It’s almost a metaphor for excellence. Carnegie Hall is the ultimate venue. I’ve performed there perhaps two dozen times, maybe more. I remember the first time I performed there by myself – what a milestone it felt like. You’re there in New York City, in the ultimate performance space. I always remember what it feels like to be on that stage, to look out into the audience, which is a real three-dimensional audience. I remember, too, the backstage areas, most of all the friends that I’ve met there backstage whom I associate very much with the place. Do you have a pre-performance ritual for Carnegie Hall? I don’t have any specific ritual for Carnegie Hall – it’s the same pretty much as for any other performance I do. But the place is so familiar, and it’s so clear in my mind what the experience is going to be like that, although one feels nervous about

Is it possible to explain what it feels like to perform on one of Carnegie Hall’s stages? It’s all about what the room feels like, about the unique acoustic of the place – you can hear a pin drop. It’s built for acoustic music, and that’s really important that you know not to over-drive the room. I’ve played there on numerous occasions with people who feel they need to push the room too hard, and that’s a mistake. You don’t need it there. To paraphrase the old joke, how did you get to Carnegie Hall? You’re not allowed to say “practice.” The first time was simple – my manager and my agent booked the place and we played it, sometime in the early ’70s. And then after that my main experience has been the benefits that Sting and Trudie Styler put on there for the Rainforest Foundation. There’s nothing like those in the rest of my performing experience. They have exposed me to different types of music that I probably would never have had – playing with an amazing jazz band or a symphony orchestra. The musicians are always incredible in those benefits. So those are my two avenues to Carnegie Hall – book the place, and later getting invited to play by dear friends. And now I have another connection with it, in that I’m on the board, so I show up at the occasional meeting and have a sense of the real mission. But certainly to anyone from my generation, Carnegie Hall has a profound resonance and a deeply important meaning. Hats off to Carnegie Hall!

JOSHUA QUILLEN, Member of So Percussion


hat particular thing do you associate with performing at Carnegie Hall? I associate Carnegie with a wide variety of programming and allowing artists like us to push boundaries and “experiment” on stage. Do you have a pre-performance ritual for Carnegie Hall? Honestly? Listening to anything by Dan Deacon gets us pumped up and ready to play. I (sad as it may be) like to look at budgets and spreadsheets right before walking on stage. I like to save all of my artistic energy for the stage. Doing something banal helps my mind really embrace the creative. Is it possible to explain what it feels like to perform on one of Carnegie Hall’s stages? It feels like stepping back in history and playing in a big mass-band with the likes of Paul Robeson, Judy Garland, Leonard Bernstein, and all the rest. To paraphrase the old joke, how did you get to Carnegie Hall? You’re not allowed to say “practice.” We rehearsed until we were blue in the face, but then got into a cargo van and drove up the FDR Drive, got off around Midtown, and headed toward Seventh Avenue and 57th. c


Rejoice! For Martin Cullingford, Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary gala will catch something vital and important about the hall itself.


ala. Looking it up in a dictionary, we find the definition is “a social occasion with special entertainment or performances.” Carnegie Hall galas are certainly that: a gathering of a family of friends and supporters to hear performances for which the word special is something of an understatement. But a Carnegie Hall gala is somehow more than that. So let’s dig deeper. The word’s origins seem to lie in the early 17th century, referring to the showy dress worn at such events. Well, while that’s true, too, of course – stylish ball gowns or well-cut suits are invariably much in evidence – that’s not really the point of it. But this is more like it: The term seems to derive from the old French word gale, which means rejoicing. Yes, that’s it: rejoicing. For what better word summarizes the sheer sense of celebration, of people, of talent, of life-affirming and life-changing musicmaking, and of an organization that has for 125 years nurtured, supported, and made possible such art? Rejoicing: That’s the definition of a Carnegie Hall gala. Pretty much since Carnegie Hall opened 125 years ago on May 5, 1891, galas have been a part of its history. There have, in fact, been 1,100 gala and benefit concerts. To mention a few: May 7, 1906, saw a benefit gala for victims of San Francisco’s earthquake. April 30, 1918, saw tenor Enrico Caruso and soprano Geraldine Farrar take to the stage for the Liberty Loan Rally, promoting the bonds being

sold to help support the Allied efforts in World War I. Another war bond rally in 1943 similarly saw conductor Arturo Toscanini and pianist Vladimir Horowitz raise almost $11 million for Allied forces in World War II. That January had also seen a gala to raise funds for infantile paralysis. More recently, Dec. 1, 1988, saw an event in support of the American Foundation for AIDS Research. On March 10, 1991, a gala was held to raise awareness of the destruction of the rainforests. There have also been a series of tributes to major artists from across genres: composer Moritz Moszkowski in 1921, violinist Leopold Auer in 1925, jazz legend Fats Waller in 1944, and singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie in 1968. Figures beyond the music world have been honored too, including, on Jan. 27, 1961, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That’s just a snapshot of the many ways that Carnegie Hall’s stage has been used to reach out to wider society, both musical and beyond. And it’s worth noting that in recent years, funds raised by Carnegie Hall galas have been used to benefit the organization’s social and educational programs. This forthcoming 125th anniversary gala stands in a tradition of galas that have marked milestones in Carnegie Hall’s own history. The opening gala in

Photo by Chris Lee

Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony with Thomas Hampson, Dawn Upshaw, Yo-Yo Ma, and Christine Ebersole at Carnegie Hall for its Opening Night Gala concert on Sept. 24, 2008.

photo by Decca/Andrew Eccles

Photo by Chris Lee


65 1891 – boasting Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky as conductor no less – started the trend. On Sept. 27, 1960, a gala opening night marked the Hall’s salvation from potential demolition. After the extensive renovation of the 1980s, Dec. 15, 1986, saw another gala reopening. Opening nights in general became regular gala events from Sept. 26, 1990, onward, while major anniversaries were celebrated, including the centenary on May 5, 1991, and on April 12, 2011, when James Taylor headlined one of the two events marking the 120th anniversary, the second being the next month with the New York Philharmonic on the Hall’s actual birthday. Five years on, and James Taylor will again help lead the celebrations, joined by a number of fellow Artist Trustees, including sopranos Renée Fleming and Jessye Norman, retired vocalists Martina Arroyo and Marilyn Horne, pianists Emanuel Ax and Lang Lang, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The title of Artist Trustee reflects the deep bond that exists between so many of today’s leading musicians and this iconic venue. Each one is an artist with a significant relationship to the Hall, and furthermore is an artist who

Left: James Taylor celebrates 120 years of Carnegie Hall’s legendary history with special guests on April 12, 2011. Below: Soprano Renée Fleming.

both embodies and represents aspects of the Hall’s overall mission. This bond, and the place the Hall plays in an artist’s life, are neatly encapsulated by Renée Fleming: “Everyone who stands on Carnegie Hall’s main stage is participating in and creating American cultural history. Since making my own Hall debut in 1991, I have never been less than awestruck on that stage, thinking about its history, its beauty, and what it stands for. I have performed there with musicians ranging from Luciano Pavarotti and the New York Philharmonic to Sting. The architectural beauty and

“Everyone who stands on Carnegie Hall’s main stage is participating in and creating American cultural history.” extraordinary acoustics always make me feel that I am singing for friends in a warm, inviting environment.” For Emanuel Ax, Carnegie Hall “has always been the place where the dream of great musicmaking becomes reality.” Ax first played on the Hall’s stage at age 12, invited by an orchestra

manager after everyone else had left an afternoon rehearsal to try out the piano; he vividly remembers gazing for the first time out at “that amazing, vast expanse of seats.” But while Ax went on to become one of the Hall’s most significant and beloved performers of today, he is just as aware of how special it feels to be looking in the other direction, out from the seats and toward the music-making. “For me, it is simply the place where I heard the music that molded me and where I had so many lifechanging evenings,” he recalls. On May 5, 2016, Ax, Fleming, and their fellow artists will be channeling that passion – and gratitude – for Carnegie Hall into an event that will no doubt earn its own worthy place among the illustrious chronology of previously mentioned concerts. But let’s conclude by returning 125 years to that first, opening-night concert and to the recollections of not just one of Carnegie Hall’s great musicians, but one of all history’s great musicians. In his diary, after the 1891 opening, Tchaikovsky wrote of the welcome the Carnegie Hall audience gave him: “the enthusiasm was such as I never succeeded in arousing, even in Russia. In a word, it was evidence that I had really pleased the Americans.” It’s the spirit and atmosphere that Tchaikovsky observed then that has gone on to define Carnegie Hall galas ever since. Rejoice indeed, for there is much to celebrate. And, no doubt, much more to come. c










on its

on its 125th Anniversary

125th Anniversary

“If music be the food of love, play on.” - William Shakespeare

Horace HoraceMann MannSchool School 231 West 246 231 West 246 Street Street Bronx, New York 10471

Bronx, New York 10471

“If music be the food of love, play on.” - William Shakespeare

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CARNEGIE HALL! From the Publisher & Staff



Carnegie Hall Perspectives Three great artists curate their own series in the 125th anniversary season: Sir Simon Rattle, Evgeny Kissin, and Rosanne Cash. James Inverne explores how audiences will get an insight into their artistic makeup.


here are many views on Carnegie Hall. There is the view from the street (majestic, historic); there is the view from the roof (sweeping, panoramic). There is the view of the 5-year-old attending her first concert; there is the view of the octogenarian for whom Carnegie Hall has been a lifelong companion. There is the view of the classical fan; there is the view of the folk fan. There is the view of the guy watching a streamed concert in Portland; there is the view of the boy taking part in a Carnegie Hall educational project in Chicago. And then there are the multiple views – the multitude of views – of the artists who play the place. Many performers will tell you that there is nothing quite like the experience of standing on the main stage at Carnegie Hall. That it joins a select league where the very auditoriums seem to have a theatrical quality of their own. That looking out into the tidal waves of seats is as much a dramatic experience for the artist as for the audience, and that somehow both halves join together to create a highly energized space. And that, my friends, is where the magic happens. Yet one-off concerts, unforgettable though they may be, can only achieve so much. Honored artists occasionally get to curate across a series – to expand upon a vision and to take the audience on an extended, multi-stop voyage – and for season 125, three artists have been afforded this privilege: Sir Simon Rattle, Evgeny Kissin, and Rosanne Cash. Any arguments? Thought not.


Sir Simon



or Sir Simon Rattle, local is global. To create great art, one must first and foremost do so in one’s own backyard. And if you get it right, the impact will be felt far and beyond. Such is the distinct feeling one gets from a conductor who today is an international classical superstar, but who built his own reputation by building that of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO). He brought to what had been a fine regional U.K. orchestra (albeit one whose previous music directors included Sir Adrian Boult and Louis Frémaux) performing excellence, but only as the centerpiece of a plethora of community activities across the city. Education programs, outreach,

support for other enterprising local arts institutions like community-minded City of Birmingham Touring Opera (now Birmingham Opera Group) – these, one felt, were just as important to Rattle as how the orchestra played on any given night. Worth mentioning, too, is Rattle’s evident pride in the success of the CBSO chorus under long-standing Rattle colleague Simon Halsey. So when the CBSO triumphed, as with Rattle’s electrifying recorded Mahler symphony cycle, the city was proud. And when a city starts to feel as though it revolves around its orchestra, other cities notice. One such city was Berlin – in some senses worlds away from “Brum” (as the Brits like to nickname Birmingham), but in others quite similar. The German capital, for all its importance, has a sense of the local that isn’t quite present in the metropolises of London or New York. And so the Berliner Philharmoniker (BPO) came calling. And Rattle has again brought to this music directorship that potent blend of highest-quality music-making and immersion in the community. As BPO horn player


photo by chris lee

Fergus McWilliam recently told The Guardian newspaper, “Education activities and outreach programs were something completely new to us back in 2002, but this kind of work is now central to our orchestra’s sense of itself. Thanks to Simon Rattle.” New York has tasted some of Rattle has these Rattle/Berlin projects from again brought time to time, as with the 2007 Carnegie Hall Rite of Spring projto this music ect that involved more than 200 directorship public schoolchildren. that potent But if he made his name as a modernist – reinvigorating for blend of a new generation the works of highest-quality Mahler and Stravinsky and conducting a new work by Thomas music-making Adès at his inaugural concert as and immersion music director in Berlin – he has, especially in that city, worked in the his way backward to Beethoven, community. Brahms, and Bach, with exceptional results (in Tom Service’s book Music As Alchemy, one of the Berlin players reverently admits to preferring Rattle’s Brahms over that of Claudio Abbado, his illustrious predecessor, while Rattle’s collaboration with director Peter Sellars for a much-admired staging of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion is a highlight of his tenure). And it is with Beethoven rather than modernism that he returns to Carnegie Hall. Rattle’s artist residency spans two seasons, beginning in 2015-2016 with a complete cycle of the Beethoven symphonies. It’s an appropriate way to start his lap of honor with the orchestra (he leaves his post in 2018, having taken up the same role for the London Symphony Orchestra the preceding year). But with Rattle, there are always new insights, new thoughts about whatever period of music he’s conducting (famously, at the 2012 Olympics in London, this even included a certain Maestro Bean on the electric keyboard for Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire. Though that is, one should say, not the usual kind of fare to be expected from any Rattle concert!). So this symphony cycle will be more than a marker: It will be a summation of the performance traditions he has inherited and imbued at Germany’s most celebrated orchestra.



Kissin A

lmost always a sellout in one sense (the good one) and never at all in the other, Evgeny Kissin has trod his own enlightened path his whole career. The Kissin sound is unique – listening to him, one feels privy to some deep internal process that manifests itself in playing that sounds precisely the way he wants it to. And those sounds can be unforgettable. He is, in some senses, the closest thing in existence to a piano whisperer.

THIS IS THE HOUSE INNOVATION BUILT. Welcome to the Powerhouse.

MOORES SCHOOL OF MUSIC From our legendary pianist and performing artist, Abbey Simon, to our current student body at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, we congratulate Carnegie Hall as a symbol of American success for the world’s finest artists and ensembles.


71 If this sounds flippant, it is not intended to be. A Kissin concert can be a deeply, profoundly moving experience. Because through those sounds, he takes the listener to hitherto uncharted realms where one feels close to him and to the composer. Small wonder that almost every Kissin concert at Carnegie Hall (and indeed everywhere) sells so quickly. Those in the know are already aware that they’re in for something special every time. And because he has been performing since his earliest years, there are by now very many “in the know.” For a pianist, sometimes thought of as sitting squarely within a grand tradition of the acknowledged titans of the classical repertoire, Kissin’s Carnegie Hall residency in fact shows very different facets of his art. Two concerts will feature great Russian piano concertos: Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No. 1 with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert, and Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 2 with the MET Orchestra and James Levine. There will be a trio concert with two favorite collaborators, Itzhak Perlman and Mischa Maisky. A solo recital (performed twice in a week) will encompass Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, but also Albéniz and Larregla. And he will bring his special tribute to Jewish traditions – perhaps his most personal show yet. Kissin will not only play rarely heard Jewish works by Ernest Bloch, Alexander Veprik, and Alexander Krein, he will also recite Yiddish poetry. He first performed this program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to immense acclaim, including Anne Midgette’s review in The Washington Post: “It is an evening I will remember all my life.” Carnegie Hall itself has become a regular stop for Kissin, where he is a favorite. But then, his popularity was clear at his debut, aged 18, back in 1990 at the commencement of Carnegie Hall’s centenary season. Following four sensational concerto performances with the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta at Lincoln Center, the young prodigy’s first U.S. recital at Carnegie Hall was not only sold out, there was a virtual scrum outside the building with crowds yelling for tickets. In fact, as former BMG executive Dan Danielli recalls, that Carnegie Hall concert was a culmination of several years of chasing the young pianist around the world in the hopes of signing him to a record deal. Back in 1985, Danielli had been seduced by the sounds of some incredible Chopin

A Kissin concert can be a deeply, profoundly moving experience. Because through those sounds, he takes the listener to hitherto uncharted realms where one feels close to him and to the composer.

playing wafting from an office down the hall to his desk. He found Daniel Barenboim sitting, listening to a tape. “Sit and listen,” ordered Barenboim. “It’s a 12-year-old boy from Moscow. His name is Evgeny Kissin. Here, keep the tape.” In 1987, as vice president of Artists & Repertoire for RCA Red Seal and ordered to find “an exciting new artist to launch the new era” of the label, he finally tracked Kissin down to Madrid, jumped on a flight, and got the agreement. Kissin would record his first album in London, which would make a great impression (it did), and then he would play Carnegie Hall, with the concert recorded live. Danielli’s own words recalling that night catch the incredible excitement, despite his own nerves (journalists from around the world had flown in, and several great pianists were in attendance, among them André Watts, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Emanuel Ax). “My worries soon vanished. Kissin appeared to a rapturous reception, marching determinedly towards the piano with a somber face and stiff gait of a toy soldier [as was his stage manner at that time]. As he sat down, an eerie hush overtook his expectant audience: From the very first note, the 18-year-old master claimed Carnegie Hall’s historic stage as his own – and he continues to do so today … Kissin’s Carnegie Hall debut passed into legend, and those fortunate enough to be present that day will never forget it.”

Celebrating the legendary Robert Shaw

BRAHMS: A German Requiem JONATHAN LESHNOFF: Zohar Robert Spano, conductor Jessica Rivera, soprano Nmon Ford, baritone Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus April 30, 2016 | 8pm Stern Auditorium | Perelman Stage | Carnegie Hall Tickets available now at

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osanne Cash long ago left her father’s giant shadow to establish herself as one of America’s leading singer-songwriters – complete with Grammy Awards, huge album sales, a vast following, and a singular talent. And she has enthusiastically used the opportunity of her Perspectives series to bring some favorite artists and a history lesson to Carnegie Hall. Her focus? The American South.

“All of this rich music of the South informs me ancestrally, musically, spiritually,” says Cash. “So when Carnegie Hall asked me to curate the series, the only thing I wanted to do was Southern roots music. I get to be the tour guide through the South, proud to show off these forms and this music.” In the first of her four concerts, Cash hosts the four-time Grammy Award-nominated band The Time Jumpers. A supergroup of masterful Nashville veterans comprising what Cash calls “a collection of some of the most superb “I get to musicians in the world,” she promises that “people will be be the blown away.” tour guide She then brings together through the three of the great names of the music scene – Ry Cooder, South, proud Ricky Skaggs, and Sharon to show off White – for a very rare collaboration that will traverse these forms blues, gospel, and bluegrass. and this She also welcomes Alabamabased septet St. Paul and music.” The Broken Bones for their Carnegie Hall debut. “They’re a modern soul band. They have everything. There’s nobody like them today,” she gushes, clearly a fan. Cash herself headlines her last concert of the series, alongside her husband and collaborator John Leventhal, and her band (and some promised special guests). Performing her album The River & The Thread, as well as other songs, she will, she says, “nod but not bow to all of these musical forms. The story will unfold live.” But for Cash, this residency is about much more than simply a number of fabulous concerts. They shine a light on an area of the nation’s culture that she clearly still feels doesn’t get its due appreciation. “The music that came out of the Delta in Appalachia – we don’t know who we are as Americans unless we know about that music. We should know that William Faulkner lived down the road from Robert Johnson. The literature and music that came from that one little area – we owe so much to that one part of the country and to trace it backwards and forwards is important. We’re all somehow connected by this one thread.” For her, the residency is an opportunity, a passion, perhaps even a duty. c






Carnegie Hall, Icon of Pop Culture Paul Pelkonen muses on a concert hall that entered pop culture mythology.


rom the opening concert 125 years ago to modern marvels like the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall has become an indelible part of the American cultural landscape, the temple on 57th Street and Seventh Avenue that can be reached (according to the old joke) by one word: practice. And as the fact that it has a joke at all suggests, its presence is almost as strong in American pop culture as it is in what we might call high culture. Even as entertainment options have become more varied for the average American, Carnegie Hall has remained a central image – to borrow a pop culture idea of today, it’s a 125-year-old meme

with meaning to many. Just setting foot onto the boards of the hallowed Perelman Stage in Stern Auditorium can represent the start of a great career or the pinnacle of one’s personal achievement. Pop culture recognizes this, and either doffs its cap or plays around with the idea as the situation demands. After all, even James Bond (not known for having a love of classical music among his many virtues) understood what the blonde Czech cellist in 1987’s The Living Daylights meant when she yearned for Carnegie Hall. Bond: Your cello’s a Stradivarius! Kara: A famous one! “The Lady Rose.” Gyorgi got it for me in New York City. Maybe some day I’ll play there ... at Carnegie Hall? America’s favorite family – the Simpsons, of course – has never visited Carnegie Hall themselves (although the show has had the yellow clan visit New York on three different occasions). However, in the episode “A Fish Called Selma,” washed-up Hollywood actor Troy McClure mentions two B-movies that he was in: “Hi, I’m Troy McClure. You might remember me from such films as The Greatest Story Ever Hulaed and They Came to Burgle Carnegie Hall.” Perhaps surprisingly given its provenance, the freewheeling 1948 Leonard Bernstein musical On the Town never mentions Carnegie Hall by name – but it does feature a visit by sailor Gabey (Gene


now Kelly) to “Music Hall” (incidentally the Hall’s original name) in pursuit of “Miss Turnstiles” (Vera-Ellen), a girl who is taking dance lessons in one of the upstairs studios. The cream-and-gold interior of Stern Auditorium/ Perelman Stage has become instantly recognizable – not just through reputation, but through Hollywood movies, where the collective imagination of screenwriters has made the building into a sort of dream-factory, a place where one’s fondest wishes might come true. And that’s a theme that goes right back to the 1947 film Carnegie Hall, which tells of a pushy parent who wants her boy to become good enough to play there (and he does). The Carnegie Hall stage has been host to an astonishing variety of performers and performances over the last century. Composers, conductors, and soloists have graced it with their talents. Jazz musicians (Miles Davis, Benny Goodman – part of the pop culture to this day) cut historic live albums there. Rockers and bluesmen, too, have taken advantage of its pristine acoustics with live albums, from Stevie Ray Vaughan and Frank Zappa to Ryan Adams. Some of the most famous acts to play Carnegie Hall have been stand-up comedians – those bastions, definers, and ridiculers-in-chief of pop culture. Jerry Seinfeld’s TV show never visited the Hall, but the comic has performed there on several occasions. Patton Oswalt gave a notorious concert, during which he and

77 his opening acts broke taboos and barriers in a scathing evening. And Louis C.K. made his 2012 live album Word from a 2010 concert in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. Classical music and comedy have crossed paths regularly at Carnegie Hall. Sometimes, it was unintentional, like diva Florence Foster Jenkins, fondly immortalized as the world’s worst opera singer. And then there’s Peter Schickele, the Juilliard music professor and composer who made a

“Hi, I’m Troy McClure. You might remember me from such films as The Greatest Story

Ever Hulaed and They Came to Burgle Carnegie Hall.”

side career out of playing the “lost” works of P.D.Q. Bach, the (fictional) last and least of Bach’s many children. Schickele gave a slew of concerts at the Hall, where he and a cast of singers and musicians would play works like the “Bluegrass cantata” Blaues Gras (written for bluegrass band and string orchestra), and pastiche parody operas like The Magic Bassoon and The Abduction of Figaro. Schickele would make crazy entrances to the stage, swinging down from the balcony, racing down the parquet level on a hospital

gurney, or simply running in 15 minutes late and out of breath. For sheer weirdness though, even the good professor couldn’t beat Andy Kaufman, who shot to fame on television, playing the foreign-born mechanic Latka Gravas on the hit series Taxi. But what he really wanted to do was play a special concert at Carnegie Hall. In April 1979, he got his wish. Kaufman’s Carnegie Hall show was a circus of the absurd. At its start, an elderly woman was seated on the stage and introduced as the comic’s grandmother (she was later revealed to be Robin Williams in drag). The show included a “resurrection dance” performed in an Indian headdress, wrestling, some children’s songs, and a visit from Santa Claus. At the end of the show, the audience was invited onto 24 buses, taken to a nearby school, and given milk and cookies (an episode memorably captured in the 1999 Jim Carrey biopic Man on the Moon). And what could be better, or more pop culture, than that? Like Kaufman’s performance, the idea of Carnegie Hall in pop culture transcends its more humble reality – a brick building on a Manhattan street corner, surrounded by looming (and ever-rising) skyscrapers. And for New Yorkers who see the skyline change on what seems like a weekly basis, its landmark status has a welcome ring of permanence: that no matter what happens to the rest of the city, in our reality and in our mythology there will still be Carnegie Hall. c



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Carnegie Hall


Behind the scenes with unsung heroes of the Carnegie Hall family

I once did a private tour for a young couple from Ottawa. They were both music teachers and he had arranged it so he could propose to her at Carnegie Hall. When we got up to the Dress Circle, I said, ‘Why don’t you go down to the front row?’ They went down and he proposed. All the kids in their school know which seats they were in when that happened!” The man telling this story is Jeffery Albert, one of the docents who give guided tours of Carnegie Hall and its many treasures. “I love giving the tours,” he says. “I love watching the people when they first see Stern Auditorium and Perelman Stage.” He’s bumped into Yo-Yo Ma in the corridor – an event that nearly made a tourist faint. He’s swapped jokes with Emanuel Ax. And he has many stories to tell.

Jeffrey Albert Docent

By Paul Pelkonen

“There’s so much history, and it’s so rich and varied. I remember hearing Charles Mingus at Carnegie Hall – it was very different to hear him here. When I saw him, he played a musical saw! I used to atend the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts in the Solti years, and their horns would make the whole house shake.” These tours usually end with the Rose Museum. “One of my favorite things is in the museum. When Tchaikovsky was here for the opening of the Hall, he went to a dinner. And it was such a big meal, one that would have had ice cream or sherbet between courses to cleanse the palate. When the ice cream course came, there was a box with a ribbon and there was a little oval with his music on it. He autographed a lot of these and one of them is in the museum. Not too many people know about that.”


ntoinette Rogers is a customer service representative for CarnegieCharge, the service that handles telephone sales for Carnegie Hall. “I sell single tickets. I sell subscription series. And I even solicit donations, especially when customers renew their subscriptions.” Antoinette is also a regular concertgoer. “I’ve been in all three halls and it’s just a fantastic venue,” she enthuses. “I’ve seen the New York Philharmonic, Yo-Yo Ma, and Smokey Robinson. The last concert I saw was Anne Sofie von Otter and Emanuel Ax.” She adds, “My favorite composer is Copland and I just love, love Fanfare for the Common Man. “When I saw Smokey Robinson, it was just after one of my dearest friends had died. I was backstage, and he had a VIP list and I wasn’t on it. His road manager said, ‘Antoinette, give me five minutes.’ I went in and there he was. I was able to get a beautiful picture with him with my family – right before he had to go somewhere else!”

Antoinette Rogers CarnegieCharge Representative


“ Dexter Oliver Cleaner


It’s a wonderful environment – the music, the people. It’s a nice, warm, cordial relationship and you meet a whole cross-section of artists and visitors.” Dexter Oliver has been cleaning Carnegie Hall since 1986, and he’s seen it all. “I even met Kenny Rogers once,” he says. “I said to him, ‘I usually use your songs to fall asleep, but I’d better not fall asleep on the job!’ “I am responsible for ensuring the theater is properly cleaned and ready for the next performance. Sometimes I do it at night if there’s a matinée. We have a team of 18.” For him, Carnegie Hall is literally a “dream” job. He explains: “One night I dreamt – and this is a true story – of being in a place that I’ve never been before. A week after I got the Carnegie Hall job, I looked and it was what I’d dreamt about. It was the exact place I’d seen in my dream. It’s really strange – I don’t know how to explain it.”

hough his formal name is Joseph Scott, everyone calls him “Scooter.” He’s a Carnegie Hall stagehand, and nothing happens without him and the Hall’s hard-working crew. The stagehands have a range of responsibilities that support production work in the building’s three concert halls – they move pianos, build sets and bleachers, deploy seating for orchestras, and set and operate audio equipment. “The music is the favorite part of my job,” he says. “I used to be a bassist – I studied music and I love all kinds of music. After college, I wanted to form a band like The Crusaders, but I earned my living as an audio engineer. The love of music is really at the heart of who I am and what the job means to me. “We show up at eight in the morning. We go to the truck, unload the stuff, and get it into the Hall. As we’re doing

If you lose something in Carnegie Hall, Dexter might be the man who finds it. “I remember once it was in the middle of the winter, and somebody left their winter coat. To me it was very strange because it was a very cold day – once you’re outside, you’d realize you’d left something like that behind! I think once somebody even lost their wedding ring. The team found it, and they got it back. “One of my favorite orchestras is Boston. Seiji Ozawa [their former music director] is an amazing guy. My family is Caribbean – I’m from Grenada – and this kind of music is not part of our culture. When I started, my family was like, ‘What kind of music is that?’ But you just lose yourself in it. I just listen to the music. Now most of the time when I’m driving, I’m listening to classical music. It’s such a wonderful art and you just have to put yourself in it and enjoy. That’s one of the things I’ve gained just working there.”

that, it’s our job to interface with the production crew and work out how to deploy the orchestra, if there is one. We set up the audio equipment next, the front-of-house sound if we’re recording, and a house mixing board if it’s needed. “My best story involves Stewart Levine, the guy who produced The Crusaders. He produced one of my all-time favorite groups and he was associated with Hugh Masekela. Hugh was there performing, and Stewart had been in earlier for the soundcheck. I told him how much I appreciated his work. And he said, ‘This is one of the bestsounding stages I’ve ever heard.’ To get a compliment like that from one of my musical heroes was incredible.”

Joseph “Scooter” Scott Stagehand


Joel Bernache Concert Technician/ Piano Tuner

I like figuring things out and solving problems and being helpful.” E.J. Bryant Mazauskas has been an usher at Carnegie Hall since 2003, and she takes the diplomatic approach in getting people to their seats and making sure the audience has what it needs. “One favorite part of my job is when I’ve had to deal with curmudgeons.” She elaborates. “There is a woman who came to the Hall with a look on her face that seemed to say, ‘Stay away from me.’ But now when I see her, she has a pleasant expression and talks to me as a person. When people push negative out at you, you have to come back to them positively.” E.J. (who everyone at the Hall calls “Lady Jeff”) started at Carnegie Hall


I’ve been tuning pianos since 2001. I sort of fell into it.” Joel Bernache is a concert technician, the man who tunes those great black engines that resound through Carnegie Hall whether in solo recitals, the intimate exchanges of chamber music, or in the give-and-take of the piano concerto. “I apprenticed with a technician for about a year,” he says. “He sent me off to school in Boston, and I landed a job at Steinway. I’ve been tuning the pianos in Carnegie Hall ever since. “My job is very anonymous. For the most part, people don’t care who I am or what I do to fix a problem. But when there is a problem, everyone notices. “When we get a frantic pianist or a stressed-out pianist who has some problem with the voicing or the keyboard, I’m the one who is there and who can help.” Among the tricks Joel

after her son Joseph “Scooter” Scott started working as a stagehand. “In this job, you’re the face of Carnegie Hall. If there weren’t any problems, we wouldn’t need ushers. “Another favorite part of this job are the children at the children’s concerts. I have a background in teaching and working with children, and I love working the shows for them. It’s one of the things that makes me feel really great. There was a little guy with a great big smile, and he came up to me and said, ‘That was the best show I’ve ever seen!’ I said, ‘You’re the reason!’”

uses: “strategic needling of the hammer felt,” which can alter the tone of the piano drastically. “I get specific requests regarding pianos – it needs to be bright and on the edge for a solo recital and more muted for chamber music when you’re looking for something more subtle. And for a concerto, you have to pay particular attention to the pitch. “The biggest challenge is scheduling, of course, and the humidity (or lack thereof) in Carnegie Hall, especially in the wintertime. Forced hot air from the heating system is a big problem when it comes to piano tuning.” His favorite backstage moment: “Keith Jarrett. He gave a solo recital some years ago, and he can be very particular. But as he exited the stage, he took one look at me and just said, ‘Thank you very much.’”

E. J. “Lady Jeff” Bryant Mazauskas Usher


Somewhere Project The

As part of Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary season, the Weill Music Institute (WMI) launches the Somewhere Project, a citywide exploration of West Side Story. This creative learning project engages artists and audiences in all five boroughs in a celebration of community and music, encouraging everyone to consider the musical’s timeless themes.

Throughout the season, WMI will also support the creation of new works by students and community members, each inspired by “Somewhere,” the classic song that forms the affirmative core of West Side Story. This original music will be performed by an array of New York City-based artists in free Neighborhood Concerts. There is also a free online course

The real story of West Side Story and its creators, says James Jolly, is in the social wounds it can still heal – which is precisely what the Somewhere Project aims to do.

The radioactive fallout from West Side Story must still be descending on Broadway this morning. Director, choreographer, and idea-man Jerome Robbins has put together, and then blasted apart, the most savage, restless, electrifying dance patterns we’ve been exposed to in a dozen seasons.” Walter Kerr, writing in the New York Herald Tribune on Sept. 27, 1957 – the day after its premiere – captured the originality of this now-iconic piece of music theater (West Side Story ran for 772 performances on Broadway). Rarely have word, music, and dance fused so perfectly to capture the zeitgeist as this work by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, and Jerome Robbins. The idea was first floated in January 1949 by Robbins, who had worked with Bernstein before on Fancy Free and On the Town – both works where New York City itself takes center stage. He

Museum of the City of New York/The Art Archive at Art Resource, NY

Time to Learn, Time to Care



created in partnership with Soundfly, an online music school, that explores the music, dance, drama, social issues, and other artistic elements of West Side Story. The Somewhere Project culminates in three performances of West Side Story in March 2016 at the Knockdown Center (pictured at right), a restored factory in Queens. Conducted by Marin Alsop and directed by Amanda Dehnert, professional actors in leading roles will take the stage alongside students and community members in an immersive production that is equal parts exhibition, theater, and special event. Arts organizations and community groups throughout New York City will also be part of the Somewhere Project, and participants’ works across multiple artistic disciplines will be shared with the community online and through events around the city.

wanted to present an updated version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with a book by Laurents. The idea took hold, but the project faltered as each man was pulled in different directions (in Bernstein’s case, it was the lure of securing a top job as a conductor, something he’d achieve the same year as West Side Story’s Broadway opening when he was named music director of the New York Philharmonic). When the project returned as a possibility, Sondheim came aboard as librettist. What they wanted to convey was the seething social problems that were bubbling to the surface in postwar America. This was perfectly put by the original Maria, Carol Lawrence: “It was an attack on society. It was attacking gangs and intolerance and bigotry and feuds that meant nothing. And Jerry said the

“This event is a celebration of our communities in New York, of the local community in Queens at the reclaimed factory where this production will happen, and of us all.”

subtext was, this kind of bigotry is intolerable. It’s not to be accepted. And this is the only way we can say that forcefully, beautifully, touchingly, movingly, and, hopefully, successfully.” Bernstein, always socially aware, must have been inspired by the fact that this was a show about a new generation and its future; Sondheim, too, was drawn by themes that would later dominate his own music theater works, often with a very dark

core. And for Robbins, the raw emotions that West Side Story exposed offered a gateway to a new form of dance. For conductor Marin Alsop and director Amanda Dehnert, the creative guides of Carnegie Hall’s production of West Side Story that anchors the larger Somewhere Project, that “attack” is as relevant today as it always was. As Alsop says, “The timeless message of West Side Story and the timeless themes of Romeo and Juliet are sadly relevant in our world today. When people cannot pursue reasoning and communication, the results are often tragic. How often is judgment clouded by misunderstandings, irrational preconceptions, and destructive rhetoric? Are the arguments ever worth the lives of our young people? These are questions that we need to ask ourselves, just as Shakespeare asked his readers so many

“Somewhere, We’ll find a new way of living,

presents Chris Lee

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85 centuries ago. It is long past the time to stop fighting and start respecting and valuing each other.” All major works, says Dehnert, “are always about the human universals, the things that people would have understood 200 years ago and will understand 100 years from now, and it’s a mistake to think of these works as pieces of history only, even if the plot might be rooted in a specific time. West Side Story is one of those pieces. “But for me,” continues Dehnert, “it’s really about how we as a society and as individuals deal with ‘the other’ – anything that’s different from what we consider to be ‘us.’ In West Side Story, that’s expressed in the way the Jets relate to the Sharks and the way both gangs relate to law enforcement. And there are always people and groups in life who divide everything into my side and your side, whether that be around gender, sexuality, politics, race. We do that. It’s one of the most dangerous aspects of human nature, and this musical lets us see the tragic outcomes of that kind of behavior.” Asked how, specifically, she and Alsop will make the show “relevant,” Dehnert reflects, “When something is relevant, you don’t have to work too hard at bringing that out. That might sound coy, but it’s the truth. It’s easy to think that the audience has to have something very carefully explained to them. They don’t.” For this reason, the cast will be multiracial and multiethnic,

Exploring New York’s Dark Side It’s fitting that a citywide project focuses on West Side Story, says Bernstein expert Nigel Simeone, as, wherever it’s mounted, the show is as much about NYC as about its characters.


pen the script of West Side Story and after the cast list, there’s a two-line statement: “The action takes place on the West Side of New York City during the last days of summer.” Leonard Bernstein had previously composed the music for On the Town and Wonderful Town, both of which start with numbers that leave us in no doubt about their New York setting. In On the Town, the three sailors rush on to sing “New York, New York! It’s a helluva town!” and Wonderful Town even has a tour guide to describe the scene: “On your left, Washington Square, right in the heart of Greenwich Village.” In West Side Story, New York City is a constant, looming presence, but now it’s a cruel and troubling place. Jerome Robbins’ original idea for the show, which he proposed to Bernstein and Arthur Laurents back in 1949, was to set it on the Lower East Side, with rival gangs of Catholics and Jews. For the next six years, the three collaborators were busy with other projects. But in June 1955, Robbins revived the idea, and The New York Times reported that work had resumed on the musical “tentatively being called East Side Story.” Later that year, after reading newspaper reports of gang violence, Laurents and Bernstein were fired up by the idea of rival gangs of Puerto Ricans and Americans on the city’s West Side. They sent Robbins a fresh outline that was refashioned into the plot as we know it. In October 1955, Stephen Sondheim joined the team and the show started to make progress. It also acquired its final title: In January 1956, The New York Times announced that “this modernized treatment of the Romeo and Juliet legend” was to be called West Side Story (a later plan to call it Gang Way! was fortunately abandoned). Other than its West Side setting, there are no precise landmarks in the show. Sondheim originally wrote lyrics for the prologue, but they were about reaching for the moon – and escaping from New York. This early version of the prologue ran straight into the “Jet Song,” with different lyrics from the ones that eventually made it into the show. There’s one witty New York detail in the abandoned lyric: “How ’bout the day when we made all that mess / With the mice we let out on the Bronx Park Express?” The prologue was reworked as a purely dance number (and the “Jet Song” given new, sharper lyrics), but as Brooks Atkinson

We’ll find a way of forgiving,

CONGRATULATIONS ON 125 MUSIC-FILLED YEARS! We at DCINY are proud to be part of the Carnegie Hall Family and look forward to many more life-changing performances.

May 24, 2015 DCINY Production Verdi Requiem Photo by Nan Melville

Changing Lives through the Power of Performance Iris Derke, Co-Founder and General Director | Jonathan Griffith, Co-Founder and Artistic Director

250 West 57th St., New York, NY 10107

Tel: (212) 707-8566


Backdrop Elevation for The Rumble Scene from West Side Story; Set Design by Oliver Smith, © Rosaria Sinisi, in the collection of the Marion Koogler McNay Museum


87 and it will be up to the storytelling alone to make clear to which gang a character belongs – not the race-based depiction of many other past productions (Dehnert relates the sad, frequent tales of actors not deemed physically to look either dark or white enough for previous productions). If it works, it should make a fitting allegory for the polyethnic world of New York City – or any large Western metropolis – today. And there’s one more way in which this project diversifies. Under the auspices of the Weill Music Institute, students from across all five boroughs of New York City will join the production amidst their established older colleagues, both on stage and in the 200-voice choir. “So this event is a celebration of our communities in New York, of the local community in Queens at the reclaimed factory where this production will happen, and of us all,” says Dehnert. “The spirit of the Somewhere Project is about getting everybody together to ask one question: What do you want the future to be?” c

wrote in his New York Times review, “there is nothing mythical about the environment of West Side Story. It is New York today, and the principal characters are the tense, furtive, feral members of two hostile teenage gangs, lost in a fantasy of hatred and revenge.” He could have added that the city itself – ever-present and all-seeing – is almost another character in the show. While On the Town and Wonderful Town celebrate New York’s sights and sounds, West Side Story explores its grim underbelly, with young lives fueled by poverty, violence, and racial hatred. The utilitarian settings intensify this. In the script, we find “the street,” “a backyard,” “the drugstore,” “the neighborhood,” and so on. One aspect of the movie version that troubled Bernstein (and some of the other collaborators) was the opening helicopter shots of Manhattan. He thought this looked like a travelogue, and said so to Saul Chaplin, one of the producers. Chaplin replied that it took audiences “to the locale of the picture in a most effective manner.” As seen in the movie, that locale was the area of the Upper West Side south of 66th Street, the area known as San Juan Hill, demolished after the film was shot to make way for Lincoln Center. It’s easy to see why Bernstein found the opening of the movie too literal and too pictorial – presenting a vision of New York that was far removed from the bleak realism of West Side Story. While exact locations are never specified in Laurents’ book, the feeling of being immersed in the city is pervasive and threatening. Oliver Smith echoed this in his inspired set designs. His concept incorporated typical features of New York’s urban landscape, such as the Z-shaped fire escapes and the concrete bridge piers “under the highway” for the rumble scene (similar relics can still be seen in what remains of the West Side Elevated Highway around 70th Street). The characters themselves strengthen the sense of place – not only the youthful principals, but also the adults in the cast: Doc, owner of the drugstore; Lieutenant Schrank and Officer Krupke, two streetwise and cynical New York cops; and Glad Hand, a well-intentioned volunteer hosting the dances at the settlement house that doubles as the gym. At the end of West Side Story, the procession carrying Tony’s body makes its way across the stage. The last direction in the script reads: “The adults – Doc, Schrank, Krupke, Glad Hand – are left bowed, alone, useless.” These archetypal guardians of decency in the city are powerless: It is as if New York itself is looking on, its spirit sapped by violence and death. Finally, there’s Bernstein’s music: With its angular intervals, harsh dissonances, tense A set design illustration repeating motifs, and by Oliver Smith for the gritty orchestration, it’s an rumble scene of West unflinchingly urban soundSide Story references the concrete bridge piers of world. The police whistle in New York’s West Side the prologue and the siren Elevated Highway. in the rumble are no mere effects, but are integral to the score: They can be seen in Bernstein’s earliest sketches, long before the orchestrations were made by Sid Ramin and Irwin Kostal (under Bernstein’s watchful eye). The array of Latin-American percussion is used to depict a strident and hostile city; and right at the start of the prologue, the vibraphone and alto sax ooze disquiet and sleaze. Has anybody created a more evocative soundtrack for New York’s dark side? I doubt it. c

Somewhere …”

SCHOOL. ARTS. BOARDING. » The atmosphere at my school inspires me to be inspirational. My favourite part of the day is playing music at school. I am free to express myself. That’s what I like best. « Caroline P., Student


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89 Left: Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 23, 2012.


Below: Andris Nelsons conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The Out-of-towners

For orchestras coming to play New York at its most famous concert venue, the experience is always special – and, reports James Inverne, they can tell you exactly why.


The minute you step on that stage, you are joining a history of the greatest music-making to date. Every time an orchestra goes to Carnegie Hall, we have a chance to add to that legacy. So you want to deliver your best performances in both your home and in that hall – because if Carnegie Hall’s walls could talk, they would be full of the sounds and voices of those we have loved and cherished in our orchestras for these 125 years. Going to Carnegie Hall is about that, for all of us.” So says Allison Vulgamore, president and chief executive of the Philadelphia Orchestra. And it is fitting that her words come first here, since of all orchestras it is the “fabulous Philadelphians” who have enjoyed one of the longest, deepest associations with Carnegie Hall. Something about the vivid colors and the energy of that orchestra’s performances seemed very early on to gel with the splendid new hall, and the two have enjoyed their New York

rendezvous every year since that first visit in 1902. But a visit to Carnegie Hall means a great deal to the orchestras who go there. It is emphatically never just another hall, just another tour stop. Of course, some appearances are more inherently dramatic than others. “In March 2011,” recalls conductor Andris Nelsons, “I stepped in to conduct a performance of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, a chance encounter that would eventually lead to my appointment as the orchestra’s music director. I have to admit that at first it was a very challenging situation. The orchestra and I never had the opportunity before to work together, and we had to prepare a monumental work with limited rehearsal time. However, I felt the orchestra’s complete support throughout every moment of that music. It was in the wonderful Carnegie Hall that I fell in love for the first time with the orchestra’s remarkable sound.” The very fact of appearing at Carnegie Hall for an out-of-town





91 orchestra is a statement to the country, even to the classical music world – not least because New York has by far the highest concentration of important media outlets in America, and certainly the highest proportion of outlets that will cover classical music. But sometimes that statement feels more important than ever, as is currently the case for the Minnesota Orchestra, due to return after its labor dispute, which resulted in the cancellation of its last scheduled appearances at the venue during the 2013-2014 season. Its (returned) music director, Osmo Vänskä, feels this keenly. “Our next visit will be a historic event for us because of the lock-out and the concerts we had to cancel – this will be our first concert there since that. So it’s very special for us, and by ‘us’ I mean not only the orchestra, but also the audience. A lot of people followed what happened in this very unhappy situation, and so it’s great to go back to Carnegie Hall and say,

“The entire audience was cheering and whooping. I was so happy about that; it speaks about that kind of audience, people who really get what’s going on.”

Osmo Vänskä conducts the Minnesota Orchestra during a performance at Carnegie Hall on May 4, 2009.

‘Hi, we are back and we’re here to play for you again!’” It’s not all a question of atmosphere, history, mythology. The out-of-towners are able to be quite precise on at least two aspects of what makes Carnegie Hall so special. “Acoustically it’s beyond criticism,” says Harry Bicket, artistic director of the English Concert (whose annual visits are now a staple). “When you first go into a place, one usually needs to tweak quite a bit, working out whether the bass needs more, or does the hall favor the top of the orchestra, and so on. But the first time we went in there and played, everyone just smiled. There are halls that sound good to the audience, but the musicians can’t hear each other. There are others where it sounds great on the stage,

The English Concert performing Handel’s Alcina at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 26, 2014.

but not to the audience – it’s an interesting phenomenon. Carnegie Hall is a joy to play, and it sounds great as well.” “There’s a match between the acoustic and our sound,” says Philadelphia’s Vulgamore. “Our sound comes from our chamber-like way of playing, the blending of the winds and the bowing, for instance, into this full-bodied and lush Philadelphia Orchestra sound, and at Carnegie Hall you feel as if you’re surrounded by the sound and made a part of it.” Vänskä, too, picks up on the chamber-music theme. “Every great symphony orchestra is like a big chamber music group because you can’t play well if people aren’t listening to each other and if the hall doesn’t agree with that idea – the hall itself is an instrument! But at Carnegie Hall, the sound goes straight to the audience – they hear everything you do, and the players hear each other. That, in turn, means there can be some spontaneity in the performance

Photograph by Jeff Goldberg / Esto

The Eastman School of Music Congratulates CARNEGIE HALL on its Historic 125th Anniversary Carnegie Hall has long been a symbol of America’s legendary musical achievement. So has the Eastman School of Music. We are proud that many of our alumni, students, and faculty artists have performed on the Carnegie Hall stages.


93 because there is less risk. And then, having been very controlling in the rehearsal, as a conductor in the performance you can be the racecar driver!” “It has absolute clarity,” adds Bicket. “It doesn’t feel like the false acoustic some halls have either. In some of the newer halls, someone takes a breath and you can hear it on the top balcony, which is rather scary and not very true in one sense, almost as though the whole thing has been exaggerated. At Carnegie Hall, the sound is very natural and unimpeded. The acoustic sounds very natural no matter who plays there.” And the final vital ingredient for Carnegie Hall’s allure for these visitors? The audience. “My orchestra had not done a lot of opera before me,” says

H a c k e n s a c k

Bicket, “so when we started bringing Handel operas to Carnegie Hall, some of them perhaps felt that they were cast as a backing band to the singers. And I was always saying, ‘No, the orchestra is a central part of this event.’ Then one evening, before the Third Act of Alcina, we were all standing in the wings – me, Joyce DiDonato, Alice Coote, and the rest. And when the orchestra went casually on stage to get ready for the act, we heard this enormous ovation. The entire audience was cheering and whooping. I was so happy about that; it speaks about that kind of audience, people who really get what’s going on, who are so attentive and so warm. The players were thrilled

U n i v e r s i t y

and surprised. The audience decided they wanted to show the orchestra their appreciation – just for them. The musicians were very moved.” “We always feel warmly welcomed by the Carnegie Hall audience,” accords Nelsons, “which means that all the more we look forward every season to our concerts in New York.” So a visit to Carnegie Hall is never just a “turn up and play” for these orchestras. It is an occasion and frequently a priority. In the midst of planning the new season for the Philadelphia Orchestra alongside Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Vulgamore admits, “We are constantly saying, ‘Which of these programs will the Carnegie Hall audience appreciate?’” c

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A Day in the Life of Carnegie Hall There was a sold-out crowd at the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America’s (NYO-USA) concert at Carnegie Hall last July. By all accounts, the two-hour event was a resounding success. But what did it take to get the Hall ready? Here’s a rare look behind the scenes.


Morning As the day begins, stagehands hang microphones, carefully position chairs and music stands, and roll out a glossy Steinway & Sons grand piano to center stage, where a piano tuner waits to inspect each string. Hall cleaners groom the iconic red carpet and seats that sweep Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage.



Elsewhere in the Hall, the video team meets to discuss the shots for the night’s live webcast on Camera angles are perfected with a cameraman positioned on the first tier. Along Seventh Avenue, the buses carrying all 114 orchestra members arrive, dropping them off in front of six NYO-USA posters on the side of the building.


Rehearsal The stage is already set as NYO-USA musicians step out into the Hall for the very first time. Several bass players try to squeeze in one more sectional rehearsal, and the Hall erupts with dissonant fanfare as musicians warm up their fingers before conductor Charles Dutoit steps onto the podium to begin rehearsal.



Wonderstruck, many of these young musicians experience the Hall for the first time and can’t resist jumping up onto the podium to snap quick photos to share with family and friends.


Showtime! As concert time approaches, ushers gather to discuss their stations for the evening while concertgoers pick up tickets from the box office. Once the house is open, everyone makes their way up the stairs before going in to find their seats.




Alan Gilbert Music Director





Backstage the orchestra members are dressed and the instruments are tuned. Some musicians meditate quietly as others drill their scales among the pillars of instrument cases stacked along the walls. Minutes to showtime, the musicians board the elevator that will take them to the stage. While the lights dim and the Hall falls silent inside, outside the poster for that evening’s event is already being replaced with one for the next concert on the calendar.

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The audience is still cheering as the orchestra exits the stage. Backstage is a buzz of celebration with hugs, happy tears, and flowers. Members of the orchestra line up to sign a card commemorating their Carnegie Hall debut. Maestro Dutoit steps to the side for a radio interview, offering his post-concert reflections. As the audience empties out of the Hall and musicians gradually exit out of the backstage door, stagehands clear the chairs and music stands, leaving Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage quiet once again. After all, who knows what tomorrow will bring? c


Sam Livingston: Reformed Performer My first interaction with Carnegie Hall was as a high school percussionist 10 years ago, when I played here with a youth orchestra. While exciting at times, life as a percussionist frequently requires a good deal of sitting and counting rests. During these moments at Carnegie Hall, I remember looking out at the curving lines of the auditorium (there doesn’t seem to be a straight line in the place) and the faint glow of the lanterns along the balconies. I hoped I might return someday, knowing that the first performance at Carnegie Hall is a rite of passage for many aspiring musicians. Fast forward through a music degree and a few jobs, I found myself at the Hall again, wide-eyed and eager to get to work. This time, choosing the staff entrance over the stage door, I joined the education and community programming team of the Weill Music Institute, where many of my colleagues turned out to be “reformed performers” like me, finding a role offstage as well as on. For me, it all came full circle when we launched the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America in 2013. Like my own Carnegie Hall experience 10 years before, that first rehearsal was just the beginning for these teens. I can’t wait to see where they find themselves in the decade to come. Anything is possible – I know I certainly didn’t expect to be back at the Hall so soon. Sam Livingston is manager of Education Administration and Special Projects at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute.

Fast forward through a music degree and a few jobs, I found myself at the Hall again, wide-eyed and eager to get to work.

That Carnegie Hall Moment It can happen in any concert hall – those elusive instances when art and life and a particular confluence of events or feelings come together to carve out one of those unforgettable, meaningful moments that is forever etched into your brain and heart. Those moments can change us. For it is in such moments that we perhaps experience the highs of life most fiercely. All of this is true of Carnegie Hall, but amplified. What else would one expect from a building that even the most seasoned performers acknowledge changes your mood the minute you walk through its doors? And of course, a lot of interesting people do walk through them … The testimonies featured here were collected from arts professionals and visitors to, where everyone is invited to share their own Carnegie Hall memory.

Dana Redfern: From Near-death to a Once-in-a-lifetime Experience I experienced a brain hemorrhage and was not expected to live. While recovery was long and hard, it was helped by singing in choirs. Through the patience of friends, and some financial support as well, I was able to be part of a 400+ choir that sang Vivaldi’s Gloria at Carnegie Hall with the New England Symphony. While waiting to go onstage, I realized I was standing where so many talented people had been before me. We all stand and wait behind the same door to go onstage. I was in the company of Pavarotti and so many others who had stood, silent, contemplating the performance to come. What joy! What an astounding experience! The concert was over far too soon!


105 fred plotkin: A New York Rite of Passage

Grazyna Obrapalska: Immigrant Memory My first encounter with Carnegie Hall was in spring 1987. It was just a date, but in the context of our lives it was pretty unusual. We were a small immigrant family [that had] just arrived in New York from Warsaw, Poland, in October 1986. We worked hard for our daily bread, but needed more than that – books, music, and theater were elementary needs as much as a roof over our heads and food on the table. Almost swallowed by New York (with the sensory overload that new arrivals typically experience), we were rescued by music. Our first concert was on April 25, 1987, at Carnegie Hall. It was Stanley Jordan, Bobby McFerrin, and Michel Petrucciani playing exquisite jazz. The concert was amazing and, despite the long return journey to our first apartment on Staten Island, it was worth every effort – emotional, financial, and physical … Now, in the suburbs of Raleigh, North Carolina, with our German shepherd, surrounded by oaks and birds … I can see in retrospect that solid building, Carnegie Hall, was a milestone in our life. Culture can bring immense relief and rescue for the immigrant soul.

Photo by richard termine

Almost swallowed by New York (with the sensory overload that new arrivals typically experience), we were rescued by music.

Carnegie Hall, for every native New Yorker, represents the pinnacle of success. Its name is practically an adjective. It is also, as Jacqueline Kennedy once observed, a rite of passage for a New Yorker when he or she enters Carnegie Hall for the first time. Anyone of a certain age, or with an interest in urban history, knows that we nearly lost the Hall to a wrecking ball more than 50 years ago. New York has seen too many of its cultural temples crumble to the ground, so whenever I cross Carnegie Hall’s threshold, I pause to express gratitude to Isaac Stern and everyone else who I thought of stilled that wrecking ball. Mrs. Kennedy I have a lifetime of memories at whispering in Carnegie Hall, having spent thousands my ear, “This of nights there, but two come to the is your rite of fore. On Sept. 30, 2001, Leontyne Price passage.” came out of retirement at the age of 74 and was joined on the stage by Yo-Yo Ma, James Levine, and four members of the MET Orchestra. This was a free concert of remembrance to honor the victims of the tragic events of September 11. The program included works by Bach, Mozart, William Bolcom, and Mark O’Connor – all suitably meditative yet capable of animating impoverished souls. The highlight was the great American soprano singing two songs, “This Little Light of Mine” (which she changed to “This Little Light of Ours”) and “America the Beautiful.” When Price sang a soaring B-flat below high C as the final note, the collective unburdening that the music and this peerless artist unleashed was – for all of us in the Hall – the moment when we realized that New York would grieve but also come back brilliantly. Everyone dreams of a Carnegie Hall debut and mine came on Nov. 22, 2013 (although I had appeared on the stage as part of a youth choir in 1968). This was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, who lived in New York in the late 1930s and went to Carnegie Hall. On Britten’s centennial, the St. Louis Symphony gave a riveting account of Peter Grimes with David Robertson conducting a stellar cast led by Anthony Dean Griffey. I was asked to give the pre-concert lecture about Britten and his meaning. I was not nervous because this material was well within me. But, as I strode onto the stage and saw the audience, the cranberry-red seats, the creamy walls with flecks of gold, and the soberly elegant tiers reaching up to the gods and ghosts who commune there, I again paused. I thought of Mrs. Kennedy whispering in my ear, “This is your rite of passage.” I looked up to fully take in the room, breathed in its mythical ether, and I began.

Fred Plotkin is considered one of America’s foremost experts on opera and has worked around it for his whole life, currently including as a regular blogger for, as well as on the (not entirely unrelated) field of Italian cuisine.

Skidmore College congratulates Carnegie Hall and its 125 years as a world renowned home for the arts and creativity.

Since 2007, Skidmore has been proud to partner with Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and The Weill Music Institute in supporting Ensemble ACJW’s twice yearly residencies, including performances in the College’s renowned Arthur Zankel Music Center, now celebrating its own 5th anniversary.

Creative Thought Matters The Arthur Zankel Music Center at Skidmore College



Phyllis Pastore: How Do You Keep the Music Playing? My first visit to Carnegie Hall was to see Tony Bennett. I had only recently moved to NYC and was enchanted with the city. But when I walked through the doors of Carnegie Hall, I started crying. I couldn’t believe that I was actually in the most revered concert hall in the world to see an artist whom I have loved for so long. The concert was impressive, but most impressive [was] when Tony turned off all of the amplification and let the beautiful acoustics in the Hall do the work. He sang “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” I will never forget hearing that clear, true tone wafting through the Hall. I get that feeling every time I go to Carnegie Hall. It is the place that keeps the music playing ... and so beautifully.

I had only recently moved to NYC and was enchanted with the city. But when I walked through the doors of Carnegie Hall, I started crying.

Photo by stefan cohen

Tracey Scheer: You Didn’t Say Hi? My sister and I took ballet lessons in the Ballet Arts studio at Carnegie Hall with Vladimir Dokoudovsky. One Saturday afternoon after class, our dad took us over to the Hall, where we peeked into a rehearsal in progress. The man singing on the stage spotted us and called, “Hi kids!” and waved. My dad waved back. When we got home, dad told our mom we saw Frank Sinatra rehearsing and he said hi to us. My dad laughed and said we were too shy to answer, and my mom was incredulous: “You didn’t say hi to Frankie?” Of course we had no idea who he was or that my mom had waited for hours in line as a teenager to see him at the Paramount. I believe it was 1963 and I was about 7 years old. I never forgot the day that I saw Sinatra.

Opening night, minutes before I was to speak, I could not recall my first line. Here I was, center stage at Carnegie Hall and starting to panic.

Elliott forrest: What a View The first time I entered Carnegie Hall was from the 56th Street artist’s entrance, through backstage right, and onto the stage. My first vision of the great hall was not from the audience, but from the stage. What a view. As I soaked in the room, it did not escape me that this was the same place where once stood Tchaikovsky, Judy Garland, Lenny Bruce, and the Beatles. I was there to rehearse with Peter Schickele, aka P.D.Q Bach, in a non-musical comedic role. Opening night, minutes before I was to speak, I could not recall my first line. Here I was, center stage at Carnegie Hall and starting to panic. But I took a deep breath and said to myself, “You don’t need to know the line yet.” So I calmed down and when the cue came, I remembered and we went on with the classical hijinks. While I was understandably nervous that first performance, now I stroll on like I own the place. Little did I know it would be the first of some 60 appearances, hosting glorious concerts for the New York Youth Symphony, all 24 concerts of the Spring for Music series, various benefits, and radio shows. When asked to host a concert on stage at Carnegie Hall, the answer is always yes. I like the view. Peabody Award-winning presenter and producer Elliott Forrest is a regular broadcaster for WQXR.

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sedgwick clark: Mind-blowing Mahler Most likely, no one in Carnegie Hall on Jan. 9, 1970, has forgotten the mind-blowing Mahler Fifth played by the Chicago Symphony under Georg Solti. From Adolph Herseth’s opening trumpet solo to the concluding whiplash of the full orchestra, the performance was one peak experience after another as those amazing players strutted their stuff. Foremost in my memory are the heart-rending lamentation and stormy attacks of Frank Miller’s cello section in the first two movements and Dale Clevenger’s astonishing horn solos throughout. Fifteen minutes and 14 curtain calls after the final note, Solti finally pulled concertmaster Victor Aitay offstage, and I staggered out of the Hall, hoarse for days from shouting bravo. Solti himself wrote in his Memoirs: “When we finished the last movement, the audience stood up and screamed hysterically as if it were a rock concert. The applause seemed endless; they had fallen under the spell of our exceptional performance. I had never experienced such an overwhelming phenomenon in my life and probably never will again.” Yes, an incredible experience. And there were others, notably opera-in-concert performances of Wagner’s Das Rheingold (April 27, 1971), Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron

(Nov. 20, 1971), Strauss’s Salome with Birgit Nilsson (Dec. 18, 1974), and a never-to-be-forgotten Elliott Carter Variations for Orchestra (April 22, 1972). But by the late 1970s, I was looking forward more each season to another conductor and orchestra: Mstislav Rostropovich and the National Symphony. Some said he couldn’t conduct, but the extraordinarily moving concerts he led at Carnegie Hall belied such facile judgment. There was red blood and deep, emotional musicality in everything he did, and the Washingtonians responded in kind. Britten’s War Requiem was humbling beyond words, with Peter Pears, John Shirley-Quirk, and Galina Vishnevskaya. I remember that when the applause had died down, the late critic Andrew Porter of The New Yorker walked slowly up the aisle as if shell-shocked. Several Shostakovich symphonies, particularly a devastating Eighth in the mid-’80s, and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta (with Vishnevskaya and Nicolai Gedda), stand out in memory. Unfortunately, unlike his many wonderful recordings as a cellist, Rostropovich the conductor rarely duplicated his singular concert achievements in the recording studio. But the memories remain unfaded. Sedgwick Clark is editor of Musical America.

I staggered out of the Hall, hoarse for days from shouting bravo.

Photo by Jennifer Taylor

Walter Winterfeldt: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau at Carnegie Hall I was privileged to hear many Fischer-Dieskau recitals at Carnegie Hall, and the greatest memory I have of them is sitting in the Walter Winterfeldt: Dietrich first row in 1973 and hearFischer-Dieskau atsing Carnegie ing him severalHall Brahms I was privileged manyincluding Fischersongstoashear encores, Dieskau recitals at Carnegie Hall, “Feldeinsamkeit.” I was 14, and the greatest have of them and memory I’ll never Iforget those is sitting in the first row inof 1973 and few minutes sublime hearing him sing several Brahms songs as music-making. encores, including “Feldeinsamkeit.” I was 14, and I’ll never forget those few minutes of sublime music-making.


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Caroline Ritchie: Circle of Life The matriarch of my large Southern family is a woman named Dicksie Cribb – my grandmother – who introduced me to great music and also to the high calling of making it widely accessible. Tagging along in complete adoration of her, I noticed from a young age that when anyone would say the words “Carnegie Hall,” the molecules in the room would change. Eyebrows would lift. Heads would tilt forward in wonder, in reverence. I grew up thinking of Carnegie Hall not as a prestigious landmark or a shimmering architectural jewel (in fact, I had never even been to New York City), but rather as a mythical destination, the summit of one’s career. “Carnegie Hall” was not a concert venue; it was a synonym for everything excellent about music. At age 25, I became an intern in the Development offices at Carnegie Hall. My first day was Oct. 1, 2012, ironically the exact same morning that former New York Philharmonic director and cherished family friend Carlos Moseley passed away at the age of 98. I was timidly hopeful that the coincidence signified some kind of “circle of life” – of the arts administration variety – and that I could somehow accept the torch and follow in Carlos’ footsteps. Later that week, my footsteps took me inside the Hall itself for the very first time to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I didn’t mind that my seat was on the very last row of the very last section of the balcony. It was a rite of internship passage, it seemed, to climb those stairs and assume my place in the nosebleeds. My mind immediately went to my grandmother, thanking her silently for teaching me how to appreciate that moment. Caroline Ritchie is manager of Carnegie Hall’s Patron Program.

Photo by chris lee

Colleen Reade Pohmer: Remembering My Father My father worked at Carnegie Hall! Several years back while driving past the Hall with my son and telling him my father worked there, a song came on the radio with lyrics that said “your father’s spirit still lives here”! I don’t remember the name of the song. I just remember that my son and I were stunned ... What a great sign it was! I miss him dearly. [Note: The song was “Don’t Drink the Water” by Dave Matthews Band.]

Celeste Chau: Heart-stopping Moment I have been lucky enough to grow up in NYC, attending concerts at Carnegie Hall more often than going out for ice cream. One of the first moments where it dawned on me how music can affect me physiologically was during Susan Graham’s Belle Époque concert. She sang Reynaldo Hahn’s “À Chloris” as her encore – the first time I ever heard his work. My heart stopped just hearing the first chords of the song. You could hear a pin drop as the whole auditorium hushed and held its breath, witnessing extraordinary beauty. I was happy to be alive to listen in person at that moment in my beautiful Carnegie Hall.

Rosanne Cash: Pavarotti’s High Note One [memory] is seeing Pavarotti sing at Carnegie Hall. I was sitting in the first row of the boxes. And he hit this note that I swear went through my heart and into my soul. I have never forgotten it. And I actually wrote a line in a song about it – “the note that hangs in the gilded hall.” It was so beautiful. When I even think about that moment, I get chills.

He hit this note that I swear went through my heart and into my soul.

photo by richard termine


Violist Dana Kelley leads students at PS 226 Alfred De B. Mason in Brooklyn as part of her Ensemble ACJW fellowship.


next 114





Remembered yesterdays, digital tomorrows

Carnegie Hall leaders discuss the forward-looking work of the organization

Future-lab: the Resnik Education Wing

Beyond four walls, across America

New music x 125



Whither music tomorrow?

Thoughts on the marriage of music and technology

The Past Goes Digital The digitization of the Carnegie Hall Archives and the Digital Hall of Fame initiative bring the great venue’s past into the present – and the future. Martin Cullingford discovers how.

The project to digitize Carnegie Hall’s archive is now a few years old. It stemmed from the 100th anniversary of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, founded by Andrew Carnegie himself for “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.” It was looking for important projects to support, and digitizing Carnegie Hall’s archive and making it widely available perfectly fit that brief. But first some history, if you’ll excuse the pun. Carnegie Hall did not, in fact, establish an archive until 1986, so a good portion of its heritage was, in a word, missing. With the 100th anniversary looming in 1990, it set about fixing that, and so, as Carnegie Hall archivist Gino Francesconi puts it, “For many years that’s really all we were doing – collecting, collecting, collecting to fill the gap in our history.” Through advertisements in newspapers and magazines, the general public was called upon to help and donated many thousands of items. One such donation, which even



Carnegie Hall archivist Gino Francesconi.



very organization has a story to tell. Few, however, are as significant to an understanding of New York’s cultural life over the past century and a quarter as that of Carnegie Hall. From its foundations in a thenfar-from-fashionable quarter in 1891 to its place at the pinnacle of performance today, its story is interwoven with that of music-making itself. And it’s a story that Carnegie Hall strongly believes shouldn’t reside purely in climate-controlled cabinets or in photos lining the walls en route to an auditorium. It wants to make sure it is accessible to everyone. And what better way to do that than by placing it on the Internet?



Far left: Souvenir program from a series of 10 Carnegie Hall concerts given by pianist Artur Rubinstein between Oct. 30 and Dec. 10, 1961. Above: Tickets from the Carnegie Hall archive. Left: A letter from 1890 from Andrew Carnegie to Frederick Holls, secretary of the Music Hall Company of New York.

led to the establishment of a museum at Carnegie Hall, was one of Benny Goodman’s clarinets, given by his family. Other items ranged from letters by Andrew Carnegie to tickets and photographs – and the search continues today, with sites such as eBay proving helpful new tools. Digitizing such material is, of course, an ideal way to bring it to the broadest audience, particularly so with sound and video recordings, of which there are nearly 6,000 pieces on 19 different formats (15 of which are becoming “obsolete by the moment, according to Francesconi). So, with the Carnegie Corporation grant, joined by two further grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation, that’s what Francesconi and

his team set about doing. Already visitors to can search for details about any concert – that’s 40,000 events. In time, the plan is to link each entry to related digitized material, beginning with the concert programs. It’s these programs that are, for Francesconi, among the highlights of the archive, fascinating not just for what

The organization’s history doesn’t stand in isolation – its story is interwoven with that of the culture, society, and city of which it is such a vital part.

they say about what was played and by whom, but for what they reveal about the fonts or fashions of an era. And it’s this that perhaps underscores one of the most significant things about Carnegie Hall’s archive: The organization’s history doesn’t stand in isolation – its story is interwoven with that of the culture, society, and city of which it is such a vital part. “When Carnegie Hall was established, it was at a time when America was still fairly insecure about its own culture,” says Francesconi. “If you take the top 12 industrialists of the day, they were – combined – making more money than European countries. Culturally things still had to come from Europe – it wasn’t any good if it didn’t come from over there. And yet in less than a generation,

116 Some of the individuals who

Carnegie Hall Digital Hall of Fame illustrations of Andrew Carnegie and Marian Anderson by Stanley Chow.

it became as important to make a Carnegie Hall debut in America as it was to make any other debut in any other concert hall anywhere else on the planet. And so Carnegie Hall acted, in my opinion, in helping America become more secure culturally.” While the full digital portal is at least a year away, it’s hoped that as much material as possible will be made available in the meantime. From photographs to playbills to workshops by choral legend Robert Shaw, the end result will be a rich insight into Carnegie Hall’s past,

and, indeed, into its present. New concerts and new material will constantly be added, in time becoming tomorrow’s historical documents. And not just of the events we automatically associate with Carnegie Hall, either; as well as concerts by today’s leading musicians, the Hall also plays host to such events as Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year Awards, all of which will also form part of the archive too. For the curious casual browser to the specialist historian, it promises to be a resource of really remarkable value. c

What’s Next The anniversary year sees the digital archive reach a crucial stage in its development, one in which the team behind it will develop the final form it will take. The first phase will involve adding digitized programs and other material (including images) relating to artists and events to the current database. The next phase will aim to add more general material, such as video recordings of Robert Shaw leading workshops. In the meantime, new material, such as curated slideshows of historic images, will be regularly added to showcase what’s to come.

played a particularly significant role in the Hall’s remarkable story are celebrated in another online initiative: the Carnegie Hall Digital Hall of Fame. The 12 initial honorees start with founder Andrew Carnegie, who had risen from a humble background to become a phenomenally successful industrialist and inspiring philanthropist. Other luminaries from Carnegie Hall’s early days include his wife, Louise, who instigated the conversation that led to the Hall being built; that conversation was with fellow honoree Walter Damrosch, the conductor and music director of the Oratorio Society of New York, which was to find its home in the new venue. Architect William Burnet Tuthill is next on the list, joined by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who was brought over to conduct (to spectacular success) the Hall’s opening night in 1891. Contralto Marian Anderson, a significant figure in the history of both music and civil rights, is the next musician on the list, followed by pianist Vladimir Horowitz, clarinetist Benny Goodman, violinist Isaac Stern (instrumental in saving the Hall from demolition in 1960), jazz legend Duke Ellington, conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, and jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. Each honoree will be profiled on Carnegie Hall’s website, with biographical material, archive photos, videos (where they exist), and a specially commissioned portrait by Stanley Chow, an artist who works in digital portraiture, thus neatly embodying the bond between Carnegie Hall’s history and future. Another group of individuals will be inducted into the Digital Hall of Fame each season.











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YOU’LL KNOW THIS PLACE IS pure magic FROM THE OPENING NOTE. 92Y’s 2015/16 classical concert season, featuring Angela Hewitt, Jeremy Denk, Pepe Romero, young pianists selected by András Schiff, Daniil Trifonov and musicians from the New York Philharmonic, the Zukerman Trio, Garrick Ohlsson, Julian Rachlin, Steven Isserlis and Stephen Hough, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet — like you’ve never heard (or seen!) them before.

WED, OCT 28, 7:30 PM

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TUE, MAR 15, 8 PM

Angela Hewitt

Julian Rachlin

Steven Isserlis & Stephen Hough

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THU, FEB 18, 7:30 PM

Brentano String Quartet & Gabriel Calatrava: Bach’s Art of the Fugue

Australian Chamber Orchestra: The Reef

WED, APR 20, 7:30 PM

St. Lawrence String Quartet An agency of UJA-Federation

World-class artists, extraordinary programs, our bold new Seeing Music festival, a new Soundspace concert series — all in some of the best halls in NYC. We can’t wait to see you here! For tickets, visit or call 212.415.5500 92nd Street Y Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street, NYC

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Engaging, Exploring, Enjoying the Music Carnegie Hall offers a vast array of resources to bring you closer to the music. You can attend a pre-concert lecture, meet artists at a post-performance Salon Encores gathering, have a drink with fellow music lovers before a Late Nights at Zankel Hall concert, and lots more. Visit for additional information. Details, tickets, and more at, 212-247-7800, or the Box Office. Artists, programs, and dates subject to change. Š 2015 CHC.

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Shaping the Future

Carnegie Hall in the 21st Century

Photo by Jeff Goldberg/ESTO

Moving forward is all about looking ahead, backward, and outward, as James Inverne found out.

However great the stars who twinkle on the stages of Carnegie Hall, it is true to say both that their own fame never eclipses the prestige of the venue and that they simultaneously contribute to its ever-evolving identity, sometimes to its mythology. As it was in the beginning, the Hall continues to be known as perhaps the world’s top destination for artists and all those who love music. These days, by which we mean this century, it also flows the other way: There are those seminal developments in Carnegie Hall’s ever-growing body of education and community work that expand on what Carnegie Hall actually is, further shaping the Hall’s identity, creating new ways to engage with today’s audiences, and even adding more luster to some of the biggest names who perform there. One could pick any number of red-letter years on which to focus to see happenings that have shaped the trajectory of the Hall’s story. The opening of Zankel Hall and the founding of the Weill Music Institute (WMI), both in 2003, had a fairly seismic effect. In 2007 came the launch of Ensemble ACJW, which supports young professional musicians as performers, programmers, and teachers who deeply engage with the communities in which they live and work. More recently, the inauguration of the National Youth Orchestra of the Unites States of America (NYO-USA) in 2013 had a big impact and has still, one feels, to grow to its full potential. And

Photo by Chris Lee

Photo by richard termine


Top left: Sir Clive Gillinson participates in a broadcast of NYOUSA’s Carnegie Hall performance in July 2015 with radio station WQXR. Top right: Members of NYO-USA 2015 perform in Hong Kong on July 26, 2015. Above: Sarah Johnson, director of the Weill Music Institute, chats with two children at a Link Up concert.

the following year, in 2014, the Resnick Education Wing was unveiled in the Hall’s upper floors, where 24 teaching and performance rooms all share one thing: a sense of space – a space for sound, for risks, for communication. When I spoke to Sir Clive Gillinson (he doesn’t stand on the “Sir,” but in deference to Her Majesty and to him, let us use it just this once), who arrived to lead Carnegie Hall in 2005 from a successful tenure running the London Symphony Orchestra (and before that as an LSO



photo by steve j. sherman

Photo by Chris Lee

NYO-USA is particularly close to Gillinson’s heart – which isn’t surprising, given that as a young cellist (and much later as a board member), he was part of Great Britain’s own longstanding National Youth Orchestra. cellist), he was in the busy days before NYO-USA was preparing to leave for its first tour to China. A program created by WMI, it is particularly close to Gillinson’s heart – which isn’t surprising, given that as a young cellist (and much later as a board member), he was part of Great Britain’s own longstanding National Youth Orchestra. “It was simply one of the greatest experiences of my life,” he says of those early years. “It stays so vivid in my memory because you go from being quite a star in your own little local firmament, and suddenly you’re with the best in the country. It’s frightening, but unbelievably inspiring. Your standards lift, and you’re on a high for the entire time.” So when he moved to the United States, he was, he says, “astonished” to find that there was no national youth orchestra stateside. It was on the agenda from very early on, but it had to wait its turn. First he had to assemble

Ensemble ACJW performing under the direction of David Robertson.

the right personnel, not least the hiring of the “phenomenal” Sarah Johnson to head up WMI. And, come the time, come the orchestra. Yet as with so much at Carnegie Hall, this orchestra was also something of a reinvention. It was never only about playing a series of concerts. There were important things for the ensemble to do, both internationally and within the United States. “There is significant interface with the young people wherever they go,” says Johnson. “We work so that the young players can go back to their communities and share the experience they’ve had, supporting other talent and nurturing other kids locally whenever possible. And on tour, we add an extra day in many cities so that the musicians can learn about the culture and the place they’re visiting and meet other young musicians.” It’s an enlightened and enriching approach, one that cannot help but swell and broaden what the orchestra is – and when Gillinson speaks of the orchestra also “acting as an international ambassador for the U.S.,” one feels that this is the kind of diplomacy that is meaningful, that can foster human relationships and understanding, where business or politics have only begun to pave the way. And, coming back to the performance itself, clearly they are getting something right: Reviews for the China tour would be testament to its artistic success (“… the precision and force of the young orchestra was overwhelming,” swooned the South China Morning Post).

Joining hands, joining voices Sometimes reinvention means collaboration. This, too, is an area where the Carnegie Hall team has been hard at work to break down barriers, and, as Gillinson readily admits, in the beginning it wasn’t easy. “We conceived an idea to create themed festivals with many partner institutions across the city. At the start, lots of people said it was not worth trying because New York organizations don’t work together – we would all be chasing the same donors and so on. But now everyone realizes that if we are all successful for the city and the country, we all gain.” The festivals to which he refers have been a success story for Carnegie Hall. Encompassing themes ranging from Leonard Bernstein to the African-American cultural legacy, and locales as varied as China, Japan, Berlin, Vienna, Latin America, and South Africa, they have attracted star curators and artistic advisers (from Jessye Norman to Hugh Masekela) and also – in partnering with schools, art galleries, dance centers, arts incubators, botanical gardens, and academic institutes – span many strata of New York society. “We explore partnerships in projects like the festivals,” he says, “as a way to leverage benefits for people. Not institutions – people. So the journeys of exploration we can offer audiences in New York are very different to what any single institution could offer on its own.” This way of thinking has been brought to other areas, not least big educational projects. One of those most inspiring, which harks back to an earlier Carnegie Hall administration, is Link Up. As part of Link Up, Carnegie Hall partners with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in a culminating concert at the Hall to celebrate the rudiments of music and playing techniques that the elementary school children have learned during their year in the program. The curriculum and concert materials are now distributed by Carnegie Hall for free to more than 80 orchestras around the United States. Funding has also been raised to expand those activities so that throughout the next decade they will reach 5 million children countrywide. “That’s the power of partnership,” Johnson says. “We anticipate eventually partnering with 150 orchestras, sharing resources and building a community for discussion that ultimately raises the quality of what

Elementary school students and professional musicians play music together in a Link Up concert.

everyone is doing. This is about making a powerful contribution to the future of music, and we can be much more effective in this effort if we collaborate rather than go at it alone.” She is right, of course, that all of these activities are about caring for music’s future. And the greatest asset, arguably, is time itself. Plant a seed and watch it grow stronger, taller. A child attending his or her first concert – having it properly explained and being encouraged to engage with the music – will be fascinated, will be pleased to be taken again, and at a certain point will strike out alone on a lifelong musical adventure. Most of us who love music have been there. None of which is to say that there are not challenges still to be surmounted. For all that Carnegie Hall is a leader in the field of music education and community programs, there are still the same divisions there always were between different parts of society. “It’s about access, opportunity, diversity, and equity,” says Johnson. “Those are the most crucial divides that we hope to bridge.”

Photos by chris Lee



Some of those bridges are already being built. In 2011, Carnegie Hall started the Lullaby Project, a program that helps new or expectant mothers in challenging life circumstances to compose lullabies for their babies. And in the summer of 2016, Carnegie Hall will launch a new initiative called NYO2, rooted in the groundwork already laid by NYO-USA. NYO2, however, comes at a similar issue from a different angle. Recognizing that most children with enough musical grounding to be in a position to audition for NYO-USA largely come from places where high-level teaching is available to spot and nurture talent early, NYO2 aims to reach outside of the traditional bubble. “NYO2 will have a particular focus on attracting talented students from groups underserved by and underrepresented in the classical orchestral field,” says Johnson. So 14- to 17-yearolds who usually would not have the background or support to help them find their way to playing music at a high level will be offered an opportunity to spend time at NYO-USA’s annual summer residency at Purchase College, SUNY, working alongside NYO-USA musicians as well as players from the Philadelphia Orchestra. The hope is that the newcomers will add to their skill levels in such a way that in the future they could potentially themselves be candidates for NYO-USA or other similar ensembles, and one day perform on a Carnegie Hall stage.

What is a hall? Talk about Carnegie Hall, and you tend to have one of two conversations. The first is a conversation that, in one form or another, you might have had at almost any point over the last


Gillinson (second from right) participates in the ribbon cutting of the Resnick Education Wing in 2014.

125 years – about great performances, the world’s finest musicians, and the experience of attending a concert there. The second is about music education, about the innovative way that Carnegie Hall stands as a leader among national music programs. So, since anniversaries are for looking forward as well as backward, here’s the question for year 125: What should the balance be between the old and the new traditions of what a concert hall should embody? As the future nears and becomes the present, will the basic, most fundamental job of Carnegie Hall always be the same – to put on great live concerts? “It is still the greatest concert hall in the world,” Gillinson says with fervent passion. “None of the rest would be possible – all this education work and our general role in society – if at the center of it all we weren’t doing the greatest concerts across music genres. Our focus on that has not diminished one degree. There are all sorts of performance projects in the Hall. We’re exploring backward to early music with our recent Before Bach project, and we’re looking forward with the 125 new works we’re commissioning across five years starting in our 125th anniversary season. We are setting out consciously to expand the repertoire, from discovering more of the past to creating for the future.” Setting out? One doesn’t traditionally think of a performance hall as being very much more than a receiving or facilitating house. How much does Gillinson feel Carnegie Hall should follow

The Curtis Symphony Orchestra with conductor Juanjo Mena on February 15, 2011 Photo: Steve Sherman






next and how far should it lead? He considers for a moment. “Every great institution has to be a leader and think of itself as if it were an artist, so we develop the things we believe in and are passionate about, but also based on the understanding of our audience. Our programming team brings in the greatest ensembles across genres, but we work with them to develop the repertoire they’re going to do – and we, alongside them, take our audiences on journeys of discovery. And on any journey, there have to be enough things that people can grab hold of that inspire them to come at all, but with equal parts novelty and exploration that isn’t just static. So you have to have an element of challenge. It’s about aspiration toward quality, but also toward discovery and leading audiences on that journey.”

Photo by chris Lee

In tomorrow’s America Carnegie Hall could so easily have become trapped in its glorious building, as a kind of gilded cage one cannot physically change or move and therefore similarly trapped in the era for which it was built. Instead, the Hall has become a beacon that shines out across the city and the country, connecting entire cultural worlds. It is nothing if not dynamic. So, what now? What will Carnegie Hall’s place in American life become? “We have a huge responsibility to society,” says Gillinson with gravity, “and the more iconic the institution, the greater the responsibility. We have so much to do – great concerts across the whole spectrum of music. We need to represent the diversity of American society, to be meaningful to people of all kinds. There is social responsibility through education – we now reach half a million people a year through those programs and that will grow massively. We need to enable others to succeed. We work with prisons, homeless shelters, hospitals – with people who otherwise would not have access to great music. And all of this, by the way, feeds back, inspiring the musicians involved in this work with us. “And then you come to technology, whereby the possibilities for sharing what we do in the wider sense online again enables people to engage with music.” He speeds up, either because time is short and he has so much to do, or he can’t wait to get started. Or both. “After all, 99 percent of


A family-oriented Carnegie Kids concert.

the world will never be able to come to a Carnegie Hall concert. How do we make that available? Of course the live experience is greater than any other, but we can still serve you if you can’t come. So we look at every way to best use media on that front.” He pauses, then speaks with finality. “We’re only just at the beginning of what can be achieved.” When the Carnegie Hall leadership makes such bold statements, you believe them. After all, the greatest organizations become what they always were, only more so. And Carnegie Hall’s mission statement promises four things: “… to present extraordinary music and musicians on the three stages of this legendary hall, to bring the transformative power of music to the widest possible audience, to provide visionary education programs, and to foster the future of music through the cultivation of new works, artists and audiences.” Each successive era allows them to improve on these promises. Tomorrow will bring them even more tools, ever wider in scope, to transform ever more lives. c


Build It, Fill It, and See Tomorrow

The still-new Resnick Education Wing is now a fact, as are its thriving programs, and, says Martin Cullingford, it is what all that says about ideals for the future that is the most exciting thing of all.

Education lies at the absolute center of what we do and the way we think about everything.” These are the words of Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s executive and artistic director, and are eloquent testimony to the institution’s passionate commitment to inspiring the musicians and audiences of tomorrow. And there can be no greater physical manifestation of that commitment than the recently opened Judith and Burton Resnick Education Wing. The new facility, a substantial addition to the auditoriums that have already played such an iconic role in New York musical life, is housed in the two Studio Towers built above the Hall in 1894 and 1897, and which now serve as a very visible guidepost for something that lies at the heart of Carnegie Hall’s philosophy. Designed to be full of light and to offer excellent acoustics (of course!), the Resnick Education Wing aims to be an inspiring and inspirational space in which Carnegie Hall’s educational mission can flourish. The largest of the 24 rooms in the new wing

is the Weill Music Room – a double-height hall at the development’s heart, large enough to hold orchestra rehearsals, or to fit an audience for a children’s concert, or to host master classes with world-class artists. The many rehearsal and teaching rooms vary in size, variously offering the focused intimacy required for one-to-one instruction, or larger facilities for classes or chamber collaborations. Continuing the theme Mezzo-soprano of space and light is Joyce DiDonato works with a the Weill Terrace, a participant new outdoor space during a master class on the roof. The idea in the Resnick for this external area Education Wing. isn’t a new one: The Hall’s original architect, William Burnet Tuthill, first conceived of the idea back in 1892. But here, more than a century on, his idea has been realized, offering Resnick Education Wing visitors a contemporary meeting place amidst the New York rooftops. But it’s what goes on inside these new rooms that truly fulfills those opening words of Gillinson: the workshops, the rehearsals, the children’s



Photos by jeff goldberg/esto

photo by jennifer taylor

concerts, the master classes. Perhaps most of all, the Resnick Education Wing aims to be a meeting place – a place where people meet each other and everyone together encounters music. A place where teachers meet other teachers and share ideas and experiences. A place where music students meet and collaborate. A place where young, aspiring performers meet today’s greatest artists – gaining insight from the wisdom and experience of figures as diverse as South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and acclaimed British early-music vocal ensemble the Tallis Scholars. A place where current fellows of Ensemble ACJW can meet other fellows or alumni. A place where a 3-year-old child might, for the first time, encounter a musical experience, and where the seeds are sown for, well, who knows what? And seeds, as any gardener knows, require fertile ground, a perfect environment where conditions are conducive to growth, development, and blossoming. And that’s what the Resnick Education Wing aims to offer. Its new rooms have provided a badly needed new home to much of the work of the Weill

The Resnick Education Wing aims to be a meeting place – a place where people meet each other and everyone together encounters music. Music Institute (WMI), whose visionary work in shaping the artists and innovators of tomorrow, and changing people’s lives through music, began in 2003 and now reaches 500,000 people per year through programs being shared and implemented around the globe. WMI’s director, Sarah Johnson, stresses the sheer breadth of what the Resnick Education Wing aims to offer, describing it “as a place where people of all ages have the opportunity to take part in inspirational music education experiences. It also serves as a hub where teachers, musicians, teaching artists, and community leaders collaborate, learn together, and prepare to bring Carnegie Hall programs into places all across New York City.” The notion of a “hub” is clearly a key one. For while taking Carnegie Hall’s

music-making and educational work out into the wider city and beyond is a longstanding part of the organization’s vision – and one that will continue, of course – what’s particularly special about the new wing is how it also enables Carnegie Hall to draw those points of connection actually into the building itself, including many education activities that had previously been taking place off-site. “Over the years, music education has grown to become a central part of Carnegie Hall’s mission, and it has made such a difference in this last season to finally have dedicated space on-site in which to present this work,” continues Johnson. “For the artists that we present in our three halls below, the location not only makes it easier to incorporate education work into their time spent in the Hall, they have told us that they find the facilities to be of the highest quality, well-equipped for programs and rehearsals, and also very beautiful – a wonderful setting in which to share music. For teachers, young people, and young artists, it is inspiring to come in the same doors that so many great musicians have entered through the decades The wing’s rehearsal and teaching rooms vary in size, from smaller spaces conducive to one-to-one instruction (far left), to larger rooms for classes or chamber collaborations (left).

Photo: Jennifer Taylor

Rice UniveRsity’s shepheRd school of MUsic congRatUlates caRnegie hall on its 125th anniveRsaRy season Since its founding in 1975, The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University has established itself as one of the premier university-level music schools in the country. Under the leadership of music director Larry Rachleff, the Shepherd School orchestras have gained an elite reputation among their peer ensembles. Shepherd School alumni are found in more than 100 orchestras around the world, including the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. To learn more about the Shepherd School’s extraordinary students and world-class faculty, visit

Robert Yekovich, Dean


Photo by stephanie Berger

Photo by mark cordell robinson


and to become a part of Carnegie Hall’s musical history in many ways. With many different programs now crisscrossing within the new wing, the breadth of programs is also much more visible.” Perhaps, then, we need to add another entry to that list of meeting places above, for the Resnick Education Wing is also where many people will meet Carnegie Hall perhaps for the first time. Once inside those famed doors, once a part of the activities taking place throughout the site, any perceptions of barriers that people might have felt between their world and the world of musical excellence for which Carnegie Hall stands can soon fall away. Maybe it won’t feel such a huge step from attending a children’s workshop in the Weill Music Room at age 3, to, several years down the line, sitting in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage as a regular member of the Carnegie Hall audience – or even performing on the stage. The other key resident of the new Resnick Education Wing is Ensemble ACJW, the program that helps support and train some of today’s finest young

musicians for careers that embrace performance, programming, and teaching. Created in 2007 by Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and WMI in partnership with New York City’s Department of Education, Ensemble ACJW aims to nurture and inspire those who are committed to a career in which performance will go hand in hand with passing on that passion and knowledge to the next generation through community concerts, through working in public schools, through endeavoring to make sure that musical excellence is never the preserve of a privileged few but something everyone can experience. “The wing is the ideal place for fellows to rehearse in chamber music settings, work together in professional development sessions, teach, and practice individually,” says Anna Weber, Carnegie Hall’s general manager whose team oversees the Ensemble ACJW program. The scheme’s fellows are those who have, as conductor Sir Simon Rattle puts it, “realized that they have to be evangelists, not high priests.” What better group of people could possibly embody the philosophy of the Resnick Education Wing?

With the opening of the Resnick Education Wing, many of Carnegie Hall’s educational activities – from digital music production workshops to Ensemble ACJW rehearsals – are now housed in highquality facilities under one roof.

One year since the opening, the new wing has already made its mark on the life of Carnegie Hall and the people who come into contact with it. It has played host to master classes by leading artists such as mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato (webcast around the world, further expanding the Resnick Education Wing’s reach). It has offered a space for teenagers taking part in digital music production workshops. It has even welcomed children aged between 3 and 12 years and their parents to explore the space in a free Family Day during the inaugural year – an event that was so successful that two free Family Weekends will take place this season. It is the beginning of a long and exciting journey for everyone – both for people benefiting from the facilities and for the Hall itself – but the sense that this was absolutely the right journey for Carnegie Hall to embark on was, for Johnson, clear even before the wing officially opened. Two weeks beforehand, a workshop for music educators was held, and the response she received from that is something that sticks firmly and fondly in her

Steve J. Sherman

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Photo by stephanie berger

Kids enjoy the new Resnick Education Wing during the inaugural free Family Day.

memory. “After our session,” she recalls, “they kept coming up to say ‘thank you,’ and to express their gratitude for this new incredible facility that had been created, dedicated specifically to education. It sent a message that the work that they were undertaking was important. I think it hit me, at that moment, what powerful and meaningful statements you can make with a physical space, with a building.” Perhaps most important, the new facilities have enabled Johnson to expand the work of WMI. “The Resnick Education Wing makes it possible for us to invite more people than ever before to Carnegie Hall, allowing us to expand our after-school programs for teens, interactive concerts for families, and intensive workshops for band, orchestra, and choir teachers from around the country.” Specific programs include Carnegie Kids – concerts for families with children aged between 3 and 6 that will take place in the Weill Music Room and feature musicians playing a wide range of genres from classical to indie pop. Beginning

this fall, new after-school programs also welcome New York City teenagers from across all five boroughs into the wing to meet both with their peers and professional musicians, and where they’ll be supported in developing skills that include songwriting, performing, and using digital media. And then, of course, there are those Family Weekends, in which young children will be offered a range of activities, including making music on traditional or handmade instruments, writing songs, creating digital sound samples, building instruments, or simply listening to music. Such weekends offer a complete – and wonderful – contrast to any image someone might hold of what a traditional concert hall looks and feels like. But then Carnegie Hall has long since ceased to simply be a “traditional concert hall.” And while today’s education programs, let alone Family Weekends, go far beyond anything that the Hall’s founder, Andrew Carnegie, might ever have envisioned, it’s hard to imagine that he

wouldn’t have been pleased by the notion of children taking over his Hall, albeit for just a weekend or two. This was, after all, the man who never forgot that as a child he was barred from entering the large private park that lay in the middle of his birthplace of Dunfermline, Scotland, and so later on took great pleasure in buying it and donating it to the town so that everyone could freely run around, explore, and enjoy the space. The many programs and projects to be found within the Resnick Education Wing embrace different age groups, different backgrounds, and different musical genres. But what unites them all is a shared vision of what music can mean to people. As Johnson puts it, “We’re interested in creating musical experiences that help people to tap into their own creativity and explore what music can mean to them.” And while it may be what goes on inside that counts, it’s important never to ignore the significance of the building in which it all takes place, whether it be the state-ofthe-art facilities, the inspiring architecture, or simply the single unifying location for a meeting place. As Gillinson reminds us, “When you create inspirational programs, you have to have inspirational spaces to maximize the impact on the participants. What better way to communicate that music education is important?” c



or many years – centuries, in fact – the exchange between musician, producing organization (or patron), and listener was almost always more or less the same: The musicians played, the audience heard. As for music education, that was the job of the schools and the parents, and by and large – at least for those of a certain class – they did it. Today that dynamic has changed. It’s more open, in the sense that orchestras and presenting houses have long since internalized that their jobs don’t have to begin and end with what happens on stage (though of course that remains at the center of what they do). It’s more urgent, in that there is a sense of the falling-off of music education in schools. And it’s more inspired, as the power of music to change lives and bring people together in our communities has become evident. But where do you start with so many roads to travel? It can be dizzying. But those who As part of Weill Music Institute’s Musical Connections programming, Slavic work at Carnegie Hall begin at Soul Party! brought musicians and people in the justice system together at another place. They begin with Queensboro Correctional Facility on Nov. 16, 2012. the vision, a vision that says if you can design programs whether they connect through and initiatives around music that can empower people themvarious digital channels or are selves to explore and create wherever they are – far though that some of the half-million people may be from New York – then those people will feel the music. who will be reached by the In their homes. In schools. Even in prisons. Anybody, anywhere, Hall’s Weill Music Institute this can connect with the values Carnegie Hall holds dear through the season alone, this is a journey music. And so in a sense, the logistical questions of “How do we forever headed into the future. physically get there to reach those people?” becomes less chalIt is a journey that Carnegie Hall lenging. Partnerships, programs, and guiding principles provide and its fellow adventurers map the structures, while music itself and people’s instinctive reacalong the way to awaken the tions to it can be trusted to do the rest. Beyond the four walls of Carnegie Hall lie pathways – two distinct creativity in those who take part and to inspire the rest of us. pathways formed of people connecting and being inspired. And


133 Out and into cyberspace …

photo by jennifer taylor

Broadcasts and Webcasts Now in its fifth year, the Carnegie Hall Live series – a partnership with WQXR – had record listenership last season, heard on more than 200 public radio stations across the United States and reaching listeners worldwide through online broadcasts. Starting this fall, past Carnegie Hall Live programs will air in China, broadcast on a weekly basis in Shanghai, marking the first time that programs from the Hall will be heard on a regular basis in this growing classical music market. And just last year, there were more than 1 million online views of six concerts and three master classes from music lovers around the globe through Carnegie Hall’s partnership with “Bravi to all concerned ... Wonderful to be able to share this live from the other side of the planet.” – Roger Joyce, Wellington, New Zealand

Photo by Chris Lee

“I am just a few blocks from Carnegie Hall, but can’t always take advantage of the incredible concerts. This is fantastic!!” – Janet Jordan, New York, NY

Beyond the Four Walls By Martin Cullingford

Digital Archives In July 2012, Carnegie Hall’s Archives embarked upon an exciting new chapter with the start of its Digital Archives Project, a multi-year initiative that will preserve and digitize most of the Hall’s historic collections. Information about nearly 40,000 events is currently available online through the Performance History Search. And when the project is complete in 2018, there will be more than 5,800 audio, film, and video assets and 635,000 pages of photograph and text files – all available digitally.

Website and Social Media 3,500: The number of young musicians connecting with their peers around the world through Musical Exchange, Carnegie Hall’s


…the world is listening.

CONGRATULATIONS ON 125 MAGNIFICENT YEARS FROM THE OBERLIN CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC From its founding in 1865, Oberlin’s name has been synonymous with excellence. A pioneer in music education and the highest quality conservatory training, Oberlin Conservatory has celebrated its ensembles and milestones on Carnegie Hall stages. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to another paragon of excellence, Carnegie Hall.


Happy 125th Anniversary!


135 global online community for ages 13 and up. • 215,000: The number of Carnegie Hall’s followers through social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. • 5.3 million: The number of YouTube views to date. • 2.4 million: The number of unique visitors to Carnegie Hall’s website during the 2014-2015 season, representing hundreds of countries, the top 10 being the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, India, Japan, France, Brazil, Australia, and Italy.

Neighborhood Concerts For 40 years, Carnegie Hall has presented free Neighborhood Concerts in all five boroughs of New York City, featuring performances by renowned main-stage artists and rising stars of classical, jazz, and world music. With more than 1,000 of these events having taken place to date, Neighborhood Concerts bring great music out of the concert hall and into communities from the tip of Brooklyn to the top of the Bronx. Tapping into the pulse of diverse audiences, these free concerts bring together local residents and people from throughout the city to share in the joy of music.

Photo by Jack Vartoogian

Photo by Jennifer Taylor

And through educational and engagement programs …

Famed Mexican-American singer Lila Downs performing at a Neighborhood Concert at El Museo del Barrio on Feb. 18, 2012.

When Daniel Barthels first took up the violin as an inmate at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, he had no expectation of where his newfound interest might take him. But when he began to learn about composition as a participant in a Musical Connections program, he started practicing every day and took lessons from Carnegie Hall musicians who read his compositions and offered advice. “It kindled the fire within me, and I felt this strong drive to better myself and to become a strong musician,” he said in a recent interview with Metro. Since his return to New York City in September 2014, Barthels has worked with other musicians and helped with the transcription of instrumental parts using notation software – a skill he learned while in Sing Sing – as well as performed as a special guest in a concert at Rockwood Music Hall. He cites the discipline of studying classical music as having given him the strong work ethic he has today as the owner of Cooldown Juice in Queens.

new mothers facing challenging circumstances – such as incarceration, homelessness, or teenage pregnancy – write personal lullabies for their babies. These songs provide a chance for mothers to express the hopes and dreams they have for their children. The lullabies are professionally recorded and presented to each mother on CD. In the three years since its inception, the project has resulted in more than 200 new lullabies in New York City and at seven partner organizations across the country. “For me, the common denominator is music and love.” – Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano and an artist involved in the Lullaby Project

The Lullaby Project at Siena House on Nov. 27, 2012.

Musical Connections Since 2009, the Weill Music Institute’s (WMI) Musical Connections program has been making music with people in homeless shelters, in hospitals, and throughout the justice system. Today, most of the projects involve the intended audiences as the music-makers themselves, working alongside professional musicians through songwriting, choral, and composition projects. By the end of next year, 50,000 people will have come into contact with Carnegie Hall programming in Musical Connections settings, including nearly 20,000 participants in the justice system – among them more than 1,200 inmates and guards at Sing Sing Correctional Facility alone.

The Lullaby Project Within Musical Connections, the Lullaby Project helps expectant or

Link Up With national and international participation up more than 800 percent since 2010, Link Up now pairs more than 80 orchestras across the country with schools in their local communities, inviting 350,000 students and teachers nationwide to learn about orchestral repertoire through a yearlong, hands-on music curriculum. The program helps address an urgent need in the field for highquality, accessible music education resources by providing a free yearlong curriculum, including classroom materials, online video and audio resources, and the professional development and support necessary to make the program an engaging and instructive experience for students. Each year focuses on specific concepts, including rhythm, melody, tempo, orchestration, and composition, with students participating in



Performing on stage and off

Earning a Ski Patrol jacket at Sunday River Resort

Testing prototypes in the new IDEAS Center

Carnegie Hall… Congratulations on your 125th year! You Inspire Us All. Our students are your future.

GouldAcademy It’s All About the “AND” Gould Academy is proud to be an All-Steinway School and believes that while learning begins in the classroom, it doesn’t need to end there. Our students continue learning out on the mountain, through our distance partnership with the Manhattan School of Music, and in a global community fueled by curiosity and commitment. The combination of experiences that an individual student chooses creates an education that’s unique—just like our graduates. More information at

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137 active music-making both in the classroom and at a live performance where they have the opportunity to sing and play the recorder or violin along with their local orchestra. “The musicians were in tears hearing the students perform their recorder song with the orchestra. They did not understand the impact of emotion they would feel by experiencing students all playing their recorders together – precious. What a great testimony to the Link Up program and the goal of helping students know the joy of understanding, playing, and appreciating music.” – Karen Vander Zanden, West Michigan Symphony Orchestra’s director of Education and Community Engagement Programs

Photo by stefan cohen

Musical Explorers For student in grades K-2, Musical Explorers develops basic singing and listening skills in the classroom as children learn about different musical styles and songs reflective of cultures in their own communities, culminating in a live interactive performance at Carnegie Hall. WMI has also devised a new digital program in order to reach more New York City schoolchildren, providing footage from the live concert experience and additional online resources. After expanding the program

A student at PS 161 in Manhattan learns about music through the Musical Explorers program.

beyond New York City for the first time last season in pilot partnerships with the Savannah Music Festival in Georgia and the Broad Stage in California, WMI has now partnered with Omaha Performing Arts in Nebraska and the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Connecticut, bringing the total number of students served by Musical Explorers to more than 19,000 across the United States during the 2015-2016 season.

Music Educators Toolbox Launched in 2014 following five years of development at a New York City elementary and middle school, the Music Educators Toolbox includes lesson plans and activities, assessments, best practices, and video examples that have been accessed by more than 24,000 users. These free online resources are designed to be adaptable for a wide variety of classroom settings and feature grade-specific resources that address fundamentals of rhythm and meter, form and design, expression, pitch, and performance. “The best part about being a music teacher is that you get to expose students to music they have never heard before, and you get to teach them how to use their voices and the instruments to express themselves. But there is so much amazing music out there that it can be hard to decide what to focus on, so the concepts in the Toolbox help provide parameters.” – Lindsay Brown, teacher at PS/MS 161M in New York City

Music Educators Workshop The Music Educators Workshop is a community of ensemble directors who come together to learn from each other and from top-notch guest faculty, to attend concerts at Carnegie Hall, and to explore their important role as instigators of creativity and musicality. Since 2013, the program has served more than 125 public, private, and community-based teachers in New York City and 66 teachers who represent 13 states during the inaugural summer installment in 2015.

For violinist Kisa Uradomo, living on the island of Maui posed various problems in her pursuit of musical opportunity. For starters, she had to fly each week to the island of Oahu for Hawaii Youth Symphony rehearsals. Additionally, her private lessons were conducted through online video chats with a teacher she met at a music camp in California. But her dedication and talent were recognized when she became the only musician from Hawaii to be selected for NYO-USA 2015, earning a spot in the 114-member orchestra led on tour to China by famed conductor Charles Dutoit. As an encore to her time with the orchestra, she is now a freshman at the Eastman School of Music.

NYO-USA Each summer, the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) brings together the brightest young players from across the country. Since its inception in 2013, more than 350 teenagers have had the opportunity to take part in a two-week training residency with leading professional orchestra musicians, play on the famed stage of Carnegie Hall, and embark on a tour to some of the great music capitals of the world while serving as dynamic musical ambassadors.

Ensemble ACJW Ensemble ACJW – an inspirational collective of young professional musicians created as a program of Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education – is redefining what it means to be a musician in the 21st century. Each of the group’s 18 current fellows and 83 alumni are exemplary performers, dedicated teachers, and advocates for music throughout the community, reaching approximately 6,000 students each year across all five boroughs in New York City. c


Q: How does a leading concert hall demonstrate its support for today’s composers? A: Commission 125 new works. (Yes, you heard right. 125.) Ben Finane reports on a bold – and massive – Carnegie Hall commissioning project that involves the Kronos Quartet, John Adams, Magnus Lindberg, and, well, just about everyone.


lassical music today finds itself in a post-Ligeti, post-postmodernist landscape. What Igor Stravinsky termed the “German Stem” has come to an end. The train has reached its terminus. Some are exiting to explore on foot, while others are riding back and looking out new windows for a fresh perspective on what was missed along the way. Never has there been a greater sense of stylistic individualism or parity – or possibility! – within the classical genre. “Each composer,” notes John Adams, “has to invent his or her own voice; we’re staring into the void every time we start a new piece. To be a composer now is therefore a little more existentially risky.” In its 125th anniversary season, in a bold commitment to the future of music, Carnegie Hall launches its five-year 125 Commissions Project, an initiative to commission 125 new works from varied composers for varied musical configurations. The project is rooted, notes Carnegie Hall Executive and Artistic Director Clive Gillinson, in the Hall’s “central commitment to creating the music of tomorrow and showcasing the greatest music of today and the past.” The 125 Commissions Project should temper some of that existential risk and prove a creative boon to commendable composers as they seek to add to the dynamic, vibrant, living repertoire. “The tradition of concert music will die and petrify,” warns composer and guitarist Steven Mackey, “if it’s not constantly being renewed.” Fortunate, then, that from the 2015-2016 through the 2019-2020 seasons, at least 125 new works will be commissioned

from leading composers – both established and emerging. Mackey himself will be offering a piece for soprano and percussion quartet in the 2015-2016 season titled Before it is Time. Mackey has likened his music to exploring “fringe states of consciousness,” and the composer says he is fascinated by music that produces the “sensation of movement.” In addition to Mackey and Adams, featured composers in the 125 Commissions Project include Aaron Jay Kernis, Caroline Shaw, Gabriel Kahane, Shara Worden, and Kevin Puts, as well as Glenn Kotche, Magnus Lindberg, Brad Mehldau, and Olga Neuwirth. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis has found increasing freedom in his musical language through the years, passing through Latin rhythms, jazz, and rap alongside the more terra firma harmonic landscapes of the Romantic masters, the Renaissance, and Hildegard von Bingen. “What is so brilliant about this time,” notes Kernis, “is that there are so many fascinating individual voices


next coming.” Kernis will see the New York premiere of his String Quartet No. 3, “River,” in 2016. The youngest-ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music (at the age of 30) for her a cappella work Partita for 8 Voices, composer Caroline Shaw continues to freelance as a violinist and singer, performing primarily contemporary classical music. On her inspiration, Shaw says “sometimes it comes from having a sound in your head that you really want to hear, that you’ve never heard before, and struggling to make that sound happen in any way you can.” Shaw’s The Mountain That Loved a Bird sees its world premiere at Carnegie Hall in April. Singer-songwriter and composer Gabriel Kahane will give the New York premiere of a new work for piano and vocals by Timo Andres – who

139 “Each composer has to invent his or her own voice; we’re staring into the void every time we start a new piece.” will conversely premiere a new work for solo piano by Kahane – during this 2015-2016 season. Kahane is perhaps best known for his work Craigslistlieder, which set text appropriated from Craigslist ads to music. “I build things in layers,” the composer says of his process. “I sometimes have a vague, grand vision, but it’s very blurry, almost like I’m squinting at this thing that is 50 feet away … I do what probably the painter would do by first making the pencil drawing and then going to the canvas.” Composer Shara Worden – who is also a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and frontwoman for My Brightest Diamond – rejects musical classification. “I’m not thinking in terms of pop or classical,” says the composer. “What I’m interested in are the building blocks of music and playing around with them.” Worden will be performing in Mackey’s Before it is Time as well as premiering her own co-composition Timeline with S ōPercussion in the same February concert. Kevin Puts, a Pulitzer Prize winner, will see the New York premiere of a new work for film and orchestra in April, paired with no less than Mahler’s

Members of the Kronos Quartet are among the participants involved in Carnegie Hall’s 125 Commissions Project.

Fifth Symphony, performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Marin Alsop. Puts looks forward to when “that first note is played – [it’s] like church for me, it’s that moment when we are all listening together and are completely with the music.” As part of the 125 Commissions Project, the Kronos Quartet and Kronos Performing Arts Association are embarking on Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire. Collaborating with Carnegie Hall and other partners over the next five seasons, Kronos will commission 50 new works – 25 by female composers, 25 by male – devoted to contemporary approaches to the string quartet, designed expressly for the training of students and emerging professionals. Kronos will premiere each work and create companion materials, including recordings, with all project materials being distributed online, available at no charge. David Harrington, founder and first violinist of the Kronos Quartet, takes inspiration from the past, expressing the hope that the project will “create a body of music for the next generation,” and yield “music that can give a sense of a wider world of music … a place to start and grow into.” “Music,” says Harrington, “helps us understand a little bit more about mysteries, the mystery of being alive. There is nothing quite like music just to be a place for one’s innermost thoughts and feelings.” c


In a world of music where we are so often looking back into the past, Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary celebrations send a clear message about the importance of looking forward, particularly when it comes to programming. To mark each of the years since it first opened its doors in 1891, Carnegie Hall has commissioned 125 new works to be premiered throughout the 2015-2020 seasons. So where do we expect this new music to go? This question was put to both established and emerging composers who have recently been commissioned by Carnegie Hall.


Where Will New Music Go?

By Rebecca Hutter

My guess is that music is swinging back toward a warmer, more genuine type of expression, to that which is often called “sentimental,” but which I have always regarded as “sincere.” Irony as an aesthetic approach has produced some interesting and cerebrally engaging things, but I hear composers once again returning to music which is heartfelt, which is driven mainly by pure emotion, and which hits you square in the gut. The trick – which the greatest of composers have always mastered – is in balancing the cerebral and the emotional. It’s what I continue to try to do. — Kevin Puts

here will new music go? Let’s see … 40 years ago when I was starting to compose, the assumed trajectory involved increasing tonal complexity, rational objectivity, and eschewing reference to the past or to vernacular music. Anything else, especially the preceding dash through neoclassicism, was conservative, even “reactionary.” Somehow, about 15-20 years ago, the labels switched and the above became “old school,” while music that was personal, expressively direct, and that blurred the boundaries of genre and composer/performer became forward looking. The ideological leap-frog continues forwards and backwards as far as the ear can hear, but of course this paints music history in very broad, journalistic strokes, mistaking the editor’s headline for the actual story. In the future, there will be the recurring miracle of birth that opens our hearts and unexpected calamities that harden us. Music is not about those things, but they create raised scars and fine lines at the corner of the mouth when we smile. There will always be music that honestly and precisely imprints those marks in sound regardless of the exuberant polemical cacophony that accompanies it. New music will go where we go. — Steven Mackey




or more than half a century, Pierre Boulez and many others have been integrating the computer with acoustic instruments, working in surround sound, and playing with spatial relationships in performance, and I hope we will see a continuation of that leading-edge spirit. We hear a very wide musical vocabulary being smashed together, influences from all over the world coming together in new and exciting ways, as well as the view of the computer as a legitimate instrument with infinite possibility. There is also a return to songwriting, a renewed value for storytelling, of narrative, and in my opinion, this has been absent in classical music for a long time, so I’m very happy to see a trend that returns to an investigation of the human voice. — Shara Worden

This is an extraordinary time to be a young composer, in large part because institutions like Carnegie Hall have become much more adventurous and openminded in their conception of what constitutes “new music.” As someone who is first and foremost a songwriter coming out of a folk tradition, albeit one infused

The universe is expanding; human music expands with it. Its circumference perpetually widens.

with elements of modernism, I am quite certain that in no other era would I have

Music never just grew in

as many opportunities as I’m blessed to have. One of the things that’s so exciting

any one direction – but

about a time like ours, typified as it is (increasingly) by shattered boundaries, is

in our millennium, thank

the extent to which surface complexity is no longer the only path to “seriousness” in music. As a result, we as listeners are asked to engage equally with ear, heart, and mind, and are invited to let our own, highly personal taste determine what we

goodness, it’s easy to see that that’s the case. It makes me glad just to keep burrowing down

believe to be the art music of our epoch. Going forward, I think we will see the

continued movement away from a dogmatic, ivory tower approach to curation,

my own little rabbit hole (or maybe it’s a

accompanied by the induction into the canon of new masterpieces that draw

wormhole). Who knows

heavily from all corners of the musical earth. Open your ears. Listen.

where it will lead?

— Gabriel Kahane

I think contemporary classical music will continue to become even more eclectic while challenging genre boundaries. To me, the future of classical music is more exciting than perhaps at any time in history because of the extreme variety and openness that’s emerging, mixed with the incredible opportunities the Internet fosters and the increasing willingness of composers to want to communicate with audiences on both a cerebral and emotional level. — Ola Gjeilo


— Matthew Aucoin

usic is the lower part of the higher world and the higher part of this lower world. Music can elevate us, make us look inside, and inspire us for the better. To me, music has always been a personal journey. I have to go somewhere with my music to be moved – it has to be a journey into my inner space. I can lead others to the opening, but they have to enter for themselves. If I am successful, my music will take us all to the entrance. — Jonathan Leshnoff

I think it’s a mistake to try and predict the future of any art form, and luckily, it’s not really that important. Music is more than a collection of trends to chart, and it’s not technological progress – New Music 2.0 isn’t coming along next year. It’s taken as gospel now that a young composer can choose to write in any style he or she wants, that “anything goes.” I think the truth is a bit more complicated than that. Aesthetic parameters are still quite rigidly defined, it’s just that there are more aesthetics to choose from, and commissions and performances seem to be distributed among them more equally than they were 10 or 15 years ago. There’s more than enough room in “New Music” to embrace the singer-songwriters, the electronic noise improvisers, the graphic-score conceptualists, and the heavy metal drummers, and that can only be a Good Thing. — Timo Andres



Thanks, Carnegie Hall, for speaking it so beautifully for 125 years.

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Automating the Future? James Jolly has always been fascinated by the marriage of music and tech. But, he argues, the past points to a future that is unlikely to be one composed by robots.



he year is 1815. You reach gingerly toward a piano and press middle C. The note rings out, filling the room before the sound decays and fades away. And that’s it. The year is 2015. You reach out toward the piano and press middle C. But already you are faced with a host of possibilities: Is the piano actually an acoustic instrument or a piece of electronic equipment that, if programmed, can sound like a piano? Do you want to record it? Do you want to broadcast it? Do you want to sample the sound? In short, the possibilities are endless. Avenues that even 40 years ago were closed to all but those with access to a serious electronics studio are now within anyone’s reach: All you need is a computer … Technology has always played a major role in music, whether it’s the development of instruments with the introduction of new materials and techniques for construction or, later, the ability to simulate the sound of “real” instruments or the ability to create a whole new palette of “artificial” sounds. Even the very act of writing down the notes has moved on from the sheet of music paper to a program that does the job for you (and even creates the individual parts if your music is for a number of players). Once upon a time, a composer would have to rely on the goodwill of friends to gain a reasonable idea of how the finished work might sound. With the arrival of MIDI technology in the early 1980s, the sound of many instruments playing together could be simply synthesized (albeit with a rather sterile result). Now, a composer

143 can piece together an entire “symphonic” creation without the services of a single human player – and many composers have been creating extraordinary scores doing just that, or pretty close to it, for years (think Hans Zimmer and his movie scores from the turn of the millennium onward). The irony, in the latter part of the 20th century, is that as the sheer expertise of players and the technical facility of musicians (like athletes) became ever more impressive, we stopped and looked backward. “How did the music sound when Bach or Mozart played it themselves?” was the question that energized a generation of interpreters from Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt via Christopher Hogwood and Sir John Eliot Gardiner to today’s young “period-instrument” practitioners. Making the old new became the watchword and, today, infuses music-making even when that spirit of re-discovery is not to the fore. Can we predict what the future has in store for composers? Probably not, but what we can be sure of is that the need to express energizes the creative spirit. With the burning need to convey that message, the medium is sure to develop. As humans, we have a remarkable hunger for the new, and music is one field of creativity, utterly abstract, where machines simply can’t replace us: The human heart will always beat. c

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