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Our showcase for artists invited to perform on the program and talk about their music
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Zankel Hall
This past weekend, music ranging from Lou Harrison's trash cans to a Haydn String Quartet sounded in Carnegie Hall's newest venue.
Zankel Hall Located directly beneath Carnegie Hall's main stage, the Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall is a 650-seat multi-purpose auditorium that was blasted out of bedrock at the corner of 57th Street and 7th Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

audio iconZankel Sounds
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.

audio iconSize Matters
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.

audio iconThe 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.

audio iconArtistic Advisor's View
Ara Guzelimian, Artistic Advisor of Carnegie Hall, comments on the "new" hall.


Construction of Zankel Hall
Construction of Zankel Hall
Credit: Bernstein Associates Photographers

Zankel Hall
Zankel Hall
Credit: Jeff Goldberg/Esto

Zankel Hall
Zankel Hall
Credit: Jeff Goldberg/Esto

Carnegie Hall
Carnegie 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.

1890
  • Construction of Carnegie Hall begins under the auspices of Scottish-born American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.

    1891
  • Carnegie Hall opens, consisting of the Main Hall (Isaac Stern Auditorium), the Chamber Music Hall (Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall), and the Recital Hall. Conductor Walter Damrosch and composer Piotr Tchaikvosky conduct the Symphony Society and the Oratorio Society in the five day opening fesitval.
  • Polish pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski debuts.

    1893
  • World premiere of Dvorák's Symphony From the New World.

    1906
  • Pianist Arthur Rubinstein debuts with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

    1908
  • Gustav Mahler conducts the U.S. premiere of his Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection".

    1909
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff, joined by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, debuts with his Second Piano Concerto.

    1912
  • Early jazz is first heard in a concert given by the Clef Club Orchestra.

    1917
  • 16-year-old violinist Jascha Heifetz's American debut.

    1925
  • George Gershwin plays the world premiere of his Concerto in F, with Walter Damrosch conducting the New York Philharmonic.

    1927
  • 10-year-old violinist Yehudi Menuhin debuts.

    1928
  • Russian pianist Vladimir Horowitz debuts.
  • Contralto Marian Anderson's recital debut.

    1936
  • Conductor Arturo Toscanini's farewell concert as director of New York Philharmonic.

    1938
  • The first full-length swing concert, with the debut of Benny Goodman and his orchestra.

    1943
  • Violinist Isaac Stern's recital debut, beginning his 60-year relationship with Carnegie Hall.

  • Duke Ellington and his Orchestra debut.
  • 25-year-old Leonard Bernstein's debut, conducting the New York Philharmonic.

    1955
  • Conductor Herbert von Karajan debuts, with the Berlin Philharmonic.

    1958
  • Amerian pianist Van Cliburn debuts, after winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition. RCA's recording of this performance sells over a million copies.

    1964
  • The Beatles play two 1/2 hour concerts.

    1965
  • Soprano Leontyne Price's recital debut.
  • Vladimir Horowitz's historic comeback concert.

    1968
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks at a benefit marking the 100th birthday of W.E.B. DuBois.

    1974
  • Soprano Maria Callas gives her farewell performance.

    1976
  • "Concert of the Century" benefit featuring Vladimir Horowitz, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, and the New York Philharmonic.

    1992
  • Carnegie Hall Jazz Band debuts, led by trumpeter Jon Faddis.

    1999
  • Plans for Zankel Hall announced.

    2000
  • Carnegie Hall celebrates Isaac Stern's 80th birthday and 40th anniversary as president of the Carnegie Hall Corporation.

    2003
  • Opening of the Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall.

     
    In Depth

  • Carnegie Hall Web site

  • Terry Teachout's Blog