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2008 Opening Night Gala Concert at Carnegie Hall in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. Photo: Julie Skarratt

History Of Carnegie Hall

The Music Hall founded by Andrew Carnegie opened on May 5, 1891, with a concert featuring the American debut of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and was at once heralded as a triumph for music and architecture. Designed by William B. Tuthill, the building was a self-contained performing arts complex with three auditoriums, and it quickly became known simply as Carnegie Hall in recognition of the great industrialist, whose second career in charitable work set a new standard in philanthropy.

Tchaikovskys opening-night appearance set an auspicious precedent for the array of classical musicians and conductors for whom the Hall would become the essential venue in the United States. Henceforth, a success at Carnegie Hall would be the litmus test of greatness. Among the artists who have appeared at Carnegie Hall throughout the years are Maria Callas, Enrico Caruso, Pablo Casals, Jascha Heifetz, Josef Hofmann, Vladimir Horowitz, Gustav Mahler, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arthur Rubinstein, Arturo Toscanini, Leopold Stokowski, George Szell, and Bruno Walter. The great American orchestras have been a staple of Carnegie Hall programming since the Halls first decade, when both the Boston Symphony and Chicago Symphony made their first visits. Over the years it has become a home away from home for the orchestras of Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Washington, DC, among others. Also calling the Carnegie Hall stage home are such international symphonic ensembles, including the philharmonic orchestras of Berlin and Vienna, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the Kirov Orchestra.

Early jazz was first heard at Carnegie Hall in 1912, in a concert of early African-American music by James Reese Europes Clef Club Orchestra. The Hall has since featured a cavalcade of jazz greats that has included Fats Waller, W.C. Handy, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughan, Gerry Mulligan, Mel Torm, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. A 1938 concert by Benny Goodman and his band, one of the most celebrated events in Carnegie Hall history, marked a turning point in the public acceptance of swing. Duke Ellington made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1943 with the New York Premiere of his tone poem Black, Brown, and Beige.

In 1925six years after Andrew Carnegies deathMrs. Carnegie sold the Hall to New York realtor Robert E. Simon. When it was announced in the mid-1950s that the New York Philharmonic would move to a new performing arts center, Carnegie Hall was put up for sale; however, the only parties interested in purchasing it were developers. In September 1957, Life magazine published a now-infamous artists rendering of a red office skyscraper proposed by developers to go up on the site of Carnegie Hall. The date of March 31, 1960, was set for its demolition.

Although many wanted to save the Hall, and several committees to help rescue it were formed, it was only at the eleventh hour that the Committee to Save Carnegie Hall, headed by Isaac Stern, was able to stop the impending demolition. On May 16, 1960, as a result of special state legislation, New York City was permitted to purchase Carnegie Hall for $5 million. A new nonprofit organization, The Carnegie Hall Corporation, was chartered, and to this day it manages the building and its operations. Isaac Stern served as President of the Corporation for over four decades, until his death in September 2001.

Carnegie Hall thrived throughout the 1960s and 70s, hosting renowned artists such as Judy Garland, Vladimir Horowitz, the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Itzhak Perlman, and Luciano Pavarotti. By the late 1970s, however, concerns were mounting about the physical condition of the Hall, and a 1981 architectural evaluation showed a serious need for renovation. Carnegie Hall celebrated the 25th anniversary of its saving by announcing a $60 million capital campaign committed to the restoration and renovation of the building. On May 18, 1986, Carnegie Hall closed its doors and on December 15 of the same year reopened with a completely refurbished main lobby, box office, Recital Hall, Main Hall, and backstage area.

In 1987, the Recital Hall was renamed Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in recognition of the long-standing generosity and support of current Carnegie Hall Chairman Sanford I. Weill and his wife. Carnegie Halls Rose Museum opened in April 1991, when it began displaying historical memorabilia from the Halls archives, as well as special exhibitions relating to themes in concert programming. In January 1997, the Main Hall was dedicated as Isaac Stern Auditorium.

Carnegie Hall announced a Composers Chair for the first time in its history in January 1995. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich began her four-year term as the inaugural appointee in July of that year, and she served as a collaborator in many aspects of the Halls activities, including contemporary music programming, the commissioning program, and educational projects. September 1999 marked the beginning of Pierre Boulezs tenure as holder of the newly named Richard and Barbara Debs Composers Chair at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Boulez was succeeded by composer John Adams in the fall of 2003.

Other recent programming initiatives include several signature series: Making Music, featuring conversations with and the performance of works by living composers; Perspectives, in which select musicians are invited to explore their musical individuality and create their own concert series in collaboration with other musicians and ensembles; and Distinctive Debuts, Carnegie Halls partnership with several esteemed European concert halls, designed to give rising artists international exposure.

Plans were announced in January 1999 to renovate Carnegie Halls lower level into a flexible hall for performance and education. The space had served various purposes in its first century, including a medium-sized auditorium called the Carnegie Lyceum and the Carnegie Hall Cinema movie theater. The new performance space, located directly beneath Isaac Stern Auditorium, opened in September 2003 as Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. The completion of Zankel Hall represented Carnegie Halls return to its founders vision of three great halls of varying sizes all under one roof. Zankel Hall opened on September 12, 2003, with a two-week Opening Festival of 23 events representative of its season programming, from classical, jazz, world, and pop music to family concerts and education programs. The technologically advanced venue, which seats more than 600, can be configured in a number of ways and features high-performance communications networks that allow for multimedia productions and interactive educational activities.

Also in September 2003, Carnegie Hall established The Weill Music Institute in honor of Board Chairman Sanford I. Weill. The Weill Music Institute uses the resources of Carnegie Halls three stages in a comprehensive variety of acclaimed music education programs. The Institute reaches a broad audienceranging from preschoolers to adults, concertgoers to emerging professional musicians, in the New York metropolitan region, across the United States, and around the worldthrough school-based programs, Carnegie Hall Family Concerts, free Neighborhood Concerts, adult education programs, and Professional Training Workshops with internationally renowned artists and performers.

Today, Carnegie Hall presents more than 190 concerts each yearfrom orchestral performances, chamber music, recitals, and choral music to folk, world, musical theater, and jazzand The Weill Music Institute produces more than 350 education events per season. Continually building on its long-standing tradition of excellence and innovation, Carnegie Hall remains one of the worlds premier concert venues.

The Concert Halls

Isaac Stern Auditorium / Ronald O. Perelman Stage
The largest hall at Carnegie Hall has been the premier classical music performance space in the United States since its opening in 1891, showcasing the world's greatest soloists, conductors, and ensembles. The hall was dedicated the Isaac Stern Auditorium in 1996, and the stage was dedicated the Ronald O. Perelman Stage in 2006. Throughout its century-plus history, the space has been the forum for important jazz events, historic lectures, noted educational forums, and much more. Designed by architect and cellist William Burnett Tuthill and renovated in 1986, the auditorium's striking curvilinear design allows the stage to become a focal point embraced by five levels of seating, which accommodates up to 2,804. The auditorium's renowned acoustics have made it a favorite of audiences and performers alike. "It has been said that the hall itself is an instrument," said the late Isaac Stern. "It takes what you do and makes it larger than life."

Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall
Located on the third floor of Carnegie Hall, the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall is an intimate auditorium ideal for recitals, chamber music concerts, symposia, discussions, master classes, and more. Seating 268 people, the elegant auditorium evokes a Belle Epoque salon and is "remarkable for the symmetry of its proportions and the beauty of its decorations," according to a review from 1891, when the hall was known as the Chamber Music Hall. In 1986, the Chamber Music Hall was renamed in recognition of the generosity of the Chairman of the Board of Carnegie Hall, Sanford I. Weill, and his wife, Joan.

Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall
The new Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall opened in September 2003 as the site of a broad spectrum of performing and educational events. When it first opened its doors In 1891, Carnegie Hall comprised three auditoriums: the Main Hall, the Chamber Music Hall, and the Recital Hall, located underneath the Main Hall. The Recital Hall was leased to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1895 and was used as a theater by various groups until the early 1960s, when it was converted to a cinema. In 1997, a process began to reclaim the space for its original purpose, and construction began to create a versatile auditorium generally seating 599, with alternate stage configurations of different capacities. Zankel Hall is named in honor of the generosity of the late Carnegie Hall Vice Chairman Arthur Zankel and his wife, Judy.

Key People

Board of Trustees

Sanford I. Weill, Chairman
Klaus Jacobs, Vice Chairman and Treasurer
Mercedes T. Bass, Vice Chairman
Clarissa Alcock Bronfman, Vice Chairman
Kenneth J. Bialkin, Secretary
Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director

Chairmen Emeriti
Richard A. Debs
James D. Wolfensohn

Martina Arroyo
Emanuel Ax
Mercedes T. Bass
Norton Belknap
Kenneth J. Bialkin
Ronald E. Blaylock
Clarissa Alcock Bronfman
Nicola Bulgari
Timothy C. Collins
George David
Richard A. Debs
Gregory T. Durant
Judith W. Evnin
Anne M. Finucane
Rene Fleming
Edward C. Forst
Marina Kellen French
Clive Gillinson
The Honorable Roy M. Goodman
Susan U. Halpern
Marilyn Horne
Stephen R. Howe Jr.
Klaus Jacobs
Robert W. Jones
Gilbert Kaplan
Mark E. Kingdon
Sallie L. Krawcheck
Lang Lang
Bella L. Linden
Terry J. Lundgren
Yo-Yo Ma
Thomas G. Maheras
Michael T. Masin
Peter W. May
Audra McDonald
Harold McGraw III
J. Ezra Merkin
Lester S. Morse Jr.
Dennis M. Nally
Joshua L. Nash
Frank N. Newman
Jessye Norman
William G. Parrett
Ronald O. Perelman
Jay R. Petschek
Laura H. Pomerantz
Oscar de la Renta
Burton P. Resnick
Judith Rodin
William D. Rondina
Susan W. Rose
E. John Rosenwald Jr.
Suki Sandler
Dr. Thomas P. Sculco
Stanley S. Shuman
James C. Slaughter
A. J. C. Smith
Jerry I. Speyer
Sir Howard Stringer
S. Donald Sussman
Linda J. Wachner
Sanford I. Weill
Lawrence A. Weinbach
James D. Wolfensohn
Judy Francis Zankel
John W. Zick
David J. Zinman

Trustee Fellow
Robert F. Arning

Ex Officio Trustees
Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York
Christine C. Quinn, Speaker, New York City Council
Scott M. Stringer, Manhattan Borough President
Kate D. Levin, Commissioner, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

Honorary Trustees
Betty Allen
Ralph M. Baruch
Pierre Boulez
Schuyler G. Chapin
Roberta Peters
The Honorable Felix G. Rohatyn
Nancy S. Rosenfield
George Wein
Lucien Wulsin

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Internal Links
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41.Calendar: Carnegie Hall Notables - The Fifth Annual Carnegie Hall Notable Occasion
42.Calendar: Tibet House - 19th Annual Benefit Concert and Dinner
43.Image Gallery: New York City Opera 2009 Winter Gala
44.Image Gallery: Collegiate Chorale 2008 Opening Night Benefit
45.Image Gallery: AFIPO 2008 New York Gala
46.Calendar: New York City Opera - Antony and Cleopatra Gala Concert
47.Image Gallery: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Opening Night Gala
48.Image Gallery: Keshet Eilon Music Center Benefit Gala
49.Calendar: Keshet Eilon Music Center - A Benefit Gala Concert at Carnegie Hall
50.Calendar: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra - Opening Night Celebration
External Links
Carnegie Hall 881 Seventh Avenue New York, NY 10019-3210 CarnegieCharge/Box Office 212-247-7800 General Administration 212-903-9600
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