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This past weekend, music ranging from Lou Harrison's trash cans to a Haydn String Quartet sounded in Carnegie Hall's newest venue.
PT Host Fred Child and critic Terry Teachout review Zankel Hall's opening weekend. In describing the hall, Teachout sounds like a wine critic -- "It was bright, clear, [and] a bit dry." The hall's full range of sonic demands will be tested over the course of this season with music performances ranging from classical to experimental, and jazz to theater. The hall's biggest problems lie nine feet of bedrock away in the form of the N, R and Q lines of the New York City Subway.
In a city of large halls, from the 3,800 seat Metropolitan Opera House, to the 1,500 seat Town Hall, and even Carnegie's 2,804 seat Isaac Stern Auditorium, Zankel Hall, at 650 seats, is the perfect size for smaller scale events, as Terry Teachout explains. Zankel Hall also represents a departure from Carnegie Hall's traditional identity as a classical music venue as it plans to present more eclectic and multi-cultural events.
The Return of the NY Phil?
Terry Teachout speculates on the possible merger of the New York Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall. Teachout reveals that Zankel Hall is essential to the success of Carnegie Hall if the New York Philharmonic does return to its original home.
Artistic Advisor's View
Ara Guzelimian, Artistic Advisor of Carnegie Hall, comments on the "new" hall.
Zankel Hall is in fact Carnegie Hall's oldest space. The very first concert took place in what was then Recital Hall a month before the Main Hall opened to the public in 1891. Recital Hall was then leased to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1895 for use by various theater groups, and then converted into a cinema in the early 1960s. In 1999, plans for the new Zankel Hall were announced, reclaiming the space for its original purpose. The generous gift of $10 million by Carnegie Hall Vice Chairman Arthur Zankel and his wife, Judy, was the largest single gift in Carnegie Hall's history at that time.
As New York City's first concert hall of the 21st century, Zankel Hall is intended to be a vibrant venue for a broad spectrum of performing and educational events. Concerts for Zankel's inaugural season range from the Emerson Quartet to the Near East Music Ensemble, Kremerata Baltica to Yo-Yo Ma and his Brazilian all-star band, Dawn Upshaw to Emmylou Harris, "Emanuel Ax: Images of Debussy" to "Michael Feinstein: Now and Then". A series called "John Adams: The Creative Process" puts the composer in conversation with architect Frank Gehry and director Peter Sellars.
Carnegie Hall: A Timeline
Ever since the career establishing Carnegie Hall debut of Polish pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski in 1891, a successfull debut at Carnegie Hall has been the definitive test for every rising musician. Covering for a flu-ridden Bruno Walter, the 25-year-old Leonard Bernstein made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the New York Philharmonic in 1943. In 1958, American pianist Van Cliburn had a triumphant homecoming and Carnegie Hall debut after winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
The hall has also hosted its fair share of ground-breaking world premieres, including Dvorák's Symphony From the New World. Here are some highlights from Carnegie Hall's past 112 years.
Copyright 2004 NPR