This world famous concert venue is a New York City landmark and must-see music attraction. Carnegie Hall presents classical, jazz, folk, world, and popular music with breakthrough and veteran performers. Since opening in 1891, this concert hall has become the emblem of musical achievement around the world; and has showcased the world's finest artists—from Tchaikovsky to Mahler, Horowitz to Callas to Bernstein, even Judy Garland and the Beatles. Experience a concert, take the tour or visit the Rose Museum all at Carnegie Hall. Come share in the history of America's most famous concert hall!
The three major halls housed in the complex are:
Isaac Stern Auditorium
The largest hall at Carnegie Hall, dedicated the Isaac Stern Auditorium in 1996, 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. Throughout its century-plus history, it has also hosted 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 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 Carnegie Hall Vice Chairman Arthur Zankel and his wife, Judy.
Somehow 57th Street between Fifth and Seventh Avenues has always managed to strike an urbane balance of activity, attractions, hotels and restaurants without the hustle or garish neon of the rest of Midtown. While the many art galleries have a magnetic draw on the sophisticated crowd during the day, Carnegie Hall has the intense pull in the evenings.
In the late nineteenth century, the wealthy steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie, was a member of the board of the Oratorio Society, whose German immigrant founder, Leopold Damrosch, desperately sought a benefactor for a large concert hall. After Leopold’s death, his son Walter convinced Carnegie to fund the venture; some years later, Damrosch’s dreams were realized when Carnegie Hall opened on May 5, 1891.
Numerous legendary titans of classical music of the past hundred years—including, Dvorák, Mahler, Prokofiev, Saint-Saëns, Strauss and Tchaikovsky—conducted and/or premiered their works at Carnegie Hall. Jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Billie Holiday peformed innumerable concerts here. Its larger-than-life conductors have included Leopold Stokowski, Arturo Toscanini and Leonard Bernstein.
The 1950s were a difficult period for Carnegie Hall; its location and very existence were called into question by the plans to construct nearby Lincoln Center. Demolition was fortunately prevented through the timely purchase of the Hall by the City of New York and the formation of the Carnegie Hall Corporation. The 1970s saw an increasing number of rock artists performing here, and major renovations were undertaken in the 1980s. Into the 1990s and beyond, Carnegie Hall continues every season to offer diverse and superior programming.
This area of 57th Street has several tourist draws in the food category that are perennial favorites, whether the simple yet polished Café Europa; the beloved, flamboyant Russian Tea Room; the loud and showy Hard Rock Café, complete with a cadillac jutting out from the façade; and a popular theme restaurant, the Jekyll & Hyde Club. Several boutique and larger hotels compete for the tourist crowd—little wonder the area is so popular!