The World of Carnegie Hall

Classic Arts Features   The World of Carnegie Hall
 
A new auditorium opens underneath Carnegie Hall.

This fall will see the birth of a new concert hall in New York City‹Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. Named after Carnegie Hall Vice Chairman Arthur Zankel and his wife, the new hall will open on September 12, 2003, and in its very first season will be home to more than 80 concerts, 28 education events, and eight new Carnegie Hall commissions.

When Carnegie Hall first opened in 1891, it was a performing arts complex with three auditoriums. What was once known as the Main Hall is now the renowned Isaac Stern Auditorium; the Chamber Music Hall glitters as Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall; and the space that was once the lower-level Recital Hall will soon reopen as Zankel Hall.

Both Stern Auditorium and Weill Recital Hall have undergone renovations over the years, but both spaces still look very much as they did more than a century ago. Zankel Hall, however, is another story completely. It represents a complete overhaul of the space that was once devoted to a Victorian-era theater and is anything but old-fashioned.

First off, Zankel is effectively three halls in one. Its ingenious seating configuration can be transformed from end-stage, to center-stage, to flat-floor. Also, the auditorium is "wired" with communications technologies that allow the hall to serve audiences near and far, so that Carnegie Hall can expand the range of its music education programs to the whole world. And, finally, there is the innovative Zankel Hall programming.

"Great music comes in many forms and many sizes," says Robert Harth, Executive and Artistic Director at Carnegie Hall. "If you ask me what Zankel Hall is about: it is about Pierre Boulez standing next to Youssou N'Dour, Audra McDonald standing next to the Emerson Quartet, Omar Sosa next to Peter Serkin, Anna Deavere Smith next to the Orchestra of Fes."

And those performers are just a small sampling of the diverse artists who will grace the new stage. Throughout its opening season, Zankel Hall will present artists from all musical genres‹from early music to contemporary, from jazz to world music, from American popular song to multimedia productions.

Zankel Hall opens with a two-week festival of 23 events, running from September 12 to 27, 2003. The festival represents a microcosm of the entire season's programming‹from classical, jazz, world, and pop music to family concerts and education projects. The opening weekend features a series of concerts curated by John Adams, who, in the coming season, also begins his tenure as holder of The Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall. Adams himself conducts the first concert of the festival, which will feature music by Ives, Harrison, Adès, and Salonen performed by a handpicked ensemble of young musicians brought together especially for this program. Additional artists in the opening weekend include the Omar Sosa Octet, Anna Deavere Smith, the Kenny Barron Quintet featuring Stefon Harris, Theatre of Voices, Frederic Rzewski, and Meredith Monk, as well as the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, which will perform in a special Carnegie Hall Family Concert.

Carnegie Hall has partnered with a number of organizations, including the World Music Institute, The Marilyn Horne Foundation, Nonesuch Records, and Festival Productions, Inc., to assemble a wide variety of concert and education events in the new hall. Zankel Hall will also provide a new performance space for some of Carnegie Hall's celebrated Perspectives concerts, which this season will be dedicated to the artistic visions of Emanuel Ax, Michael Tilson Thomas, Mitsuko Uchida, Dawn Upshaw, and Caetano Veloso‹Carnegie Hall's first Perspectives artist from outside the world of classical music.

The new image of Carnegie Hall as a place where anything‹and everything‹can happen is reflected in five innovative series in Zankel Hall: John Adams: The Creative Process, which features the composer in probing conversations with leading figures in other disciplines; The Shape of Jazz, four concerts featuring artists from a wide spectrum of jazz styles; World Views, four world-music programs; Signatures, four concerts revealing the personal artistic viewpoints of pioneering artists; and Fast Forward, which highlights the work of contemporary ensembles.

During the 2003-04 season, Zankel Hall's distance-learning technology will be set to work for a discussion about South African music between New York City high school students and students outside New York State, a LinkUP! training workshop for teachers in Alaska, and rehearsals with choirs from across the United States. For more than 100 years, the world has been coming to Carnegie Hall‹now, thanks to its groundbreaking technology, Zankel Hall will bring Carnegie Hall to the world.

Says Artistic Director Robert Harth: "Carnegie Hall's legacy has been to serve as a home for the greatest musicians of every generation. By realizing Andrew Carnegie's original vision of three very different musical stages under one roof, we are embracing and expanding upon Carnegie Hall's unique history with the extraordinary range of artists who will now grace Zankel Hall."


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