An iconic part of New York’s bustling concert scene, Carnegie Hall, managed by the Carnegie Hall Corporation, is the center of music performance for both the music community of New York and the world. The corporation runs the hall, rents out its spaces, and fields philanthropic funding for the hall, constantly searching for new musicians, genres, and philanthropic pursuits to support the study and appreciation of music. The initial plans for Carnegie Hall were devised in 1887 when Walter Damrosch, the then director of the Symphony Society of New York and the Oratorio Society of New York, spoke with Andrew Carnegie, the eventual funder of the project, on a ship to Scotland. They struck up a partnership that culminated in the three performance spaces that define the venue today: the Isaac Stern Auditorium and Ronald O. Perelman Stage, the Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall, and the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall. These halls, along with the later additions of the Rose Museum and the Judith and Burton Resnick Education Wing, are open to the public for tours, pictures, and, of course, concerts and performances from a wide variety of artists and speakers from around the world.


Originally named the Main, Recital, and Chamber Music Halls, the three performance halls have hosted a variety of historic musicians and conductors, with names that come from all spectrums of music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Gustav Mahler, Liza Minelli, Ella Fitzgerald, and Bob Dylan are but some of the few on a very long list. The use of these stages isn’t limited to music, either; speakers ranging from Theodore Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington to Mark Twain and Jerry Seinfeld have used the halls as meeting places, lecterns, press conference rooms, and center stage. The halls are open for walk-in tours during the day, and tickets for afternoon and evening events can be purchased online or from the box office. Various performances also offer student rates, group discounts, and other discounts. Smaller talks with free drinks are also offered with musicians as well as lecturers before and after their performances, depending on availability.


Since 1891, Carnegie Hall has weathered time, renovations, and a critical lack of funding during the mid-1950s. To document and memorialize the hall’s history and contributions to New York and musical culture, the Carnegie Hall Corporation opened the Rose Museum in 1991 with funding from the Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation. Located on the second floor of the hall, visitors can walk among curated photos, posters, videos, and other paraphernalia from the hall’s archival collection and experience the history of the hall from its beginning as a suburban concert hall to today’s community pillar. The walk-in tours, which usually last around an hour, start from the Stern Auditorium and travel through the hall’s Composers’ Alley, where signed photos of featured performers hang, to the Rose Museum, giving guests a thorough overview of the hall’s storied history.


After Carnegie Hall’s funding crisis and subsequent rescue from demolition as a public trust for New York City, the Carnegie Hall Corporation decided to expand the concert hall’s many ventures into new territory in the 1990s: education. The Studio Towers, which formerly housed studios for visiting artists, were renovated in 2010 to accommodate spaces for students to practice, create, and learn more about the craft of music. The wing offers free performances by its students, concerts geared toward educating families and children about music, and master classes for those interested in intensive training with experts in music and performance. The Judith and Burton Resnick Education Wing also features the Carnegie Hall Archives, available to the public by reservation only, and Weill Terrace, a small garden area on the hall’s roof that is open for students and visitors alike to relax and enjoy the view of New York’s streets from above.


Since 2007, Carnegie Hall has dedicated itself further to the cause of music by hosting international festivals, which focus on bringing in musicians from around the world to showcase their music and cultures. Several of these festivals also focus on tributes to domestic artists and creation; Bernstein: The Best of All Possible Worlds, which celebrated the works of American conductor Leonard Bernstein, was one such event.

For those looking for refreshments before settling in for a concert performance, the café, located on the Parquet level of Stern Auditorum, is available before performances. It features a menu with a wide variety of appetizer options and a fully staffed bar. While unavailable for public tours, the hall also offers several private meeting spaces that host meetings and parties.

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