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Concert Venues :: Carnegie Hall, Main Auditorium

Stats


Now Known As
Date Opened 1890
Demolished
Venue Capacity 2,804
Venue URL http://www.carnegiehall.org/
Venue Address 881 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10019



Venue Information


Built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1890, it is one of the most famous venues in the USA for classical music and popular music, renowned for its beauty, history and acoustics. Carnegie Hall has its own artistic programming, development, and marketing departments and presents about 100 performances each season; it is also rented out to performing groups. It has no resident company, although the New York Philharmonic was officially resident there until 1962.

Originally known simply as "Music Hall" (the words "Music Hall founded by Andrew Carnegie" still appear on the facade above the marquee), the hall was renamed Carnegie Hall in 1893 after board members of the Music Hall Company of New York (the halls original governing body) persuaded Carnegie to allow the use of his name. Several alterations were made to the building between 1893 and 1896, including the addition of two towers of artists studios, and alterations to the auditorium on the buildings lower level.

The hall was owned by the Carnegie family until 1925, when Carnegies widow sold it to a real estate developer, Robert E. Simon. When Simon died in 1935, his son, Robert E. Simon Jr. took over. By the mid-1950s, changes in the music business prompted Simon to offer Carnegie Hall for sale to the New York Philharmonic, which booked a majority of the halls concert dates each year. The orchestra declined, since they planned to move to Lincoln Center, then in the early stages of planning. At the time, it was widely believed that New York City could not support two major concert venues. Facing the loss of the halls primary tenant, Simon was forced to offer the building for sale. A deal with a commercial developer fell through, and by 1960, with the New York Philharmonic on the move to Lincoln Center, the building was slated for demolition to make way for a commercial skyscraper. Under pressure from a group led by violinist Isaac Stern and many of the artist residents, special legislation was passed that allowed the city of New York to buy the site from Simon for $5 million, and in May of 1960 the nonprofit Carnegie Hall Corporation was created to run the venue. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962.

The building was extensively renovated in 1983 and 2003, by James Polshek, who became better known through his post-modern planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. Polshek and his firm, Polshek Partnership, was involved since 1978 in four phases of the Halls renovation and expansion including the creation of a Master Plan in 1980; the actual renovation of the main hall, the Stern Auditorium, and the creation of the Weill Recital Hall and Kaplan Rehearsal Space, all in 1987; the creation of the Rose Museum, East Room and Club Room (later renamed Rohatyn Room and Shorin Club Room, respectively), all in 1991; and, most recently, the creation of Zankel Hall in 2003.

The renovation was not without controversy. Following completion of work on the main auditorium in 1986, there were complaints that the famous acoustics of the hall had been diminished. Although officials involved in the renovation denied that there was any change, complaints persisted for the next nine years. In 1995, the cause of the problem was discovered to be a slab of concrete under the stage. The slab was subsequently removed.

In 1987-1989, a 60-floor office tower, named Carnegie Hall Tower, was completed next to the hall on the same block. New backstage space and banquet spaces, contained within the tower, connect with the main Carnegie Hall building.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnegie_hall



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