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Carnegie Hall to Celebrate 125th Birthday with All-Star Gala Concert

Carnegie Hall's season-long 125th anniversary celebration reaches its pinnacle on Thursday, May 5 at 7:00 p.m.- exactly 125 years to the day that the Hall first opened its doors in 1891-when many of the world's most beloved musicians take to the Hall's legendary stage for an all-star gala benefit concert.

This historic performance will include a wide range of music as the evening's featured artists - many of whom serve on Carnegie Hall's board as Artist Trustees-salute the Hall's illustrious history with an exciting mix of solo, chamber, and choral works, plus solo and ensemble selections from the worlds of opera, classical song, musical theater and contemporary popular song.

The program features an array of works from Handel to Dvorák, Richard Strauss to George Gershwin, James Taylor and more, with appearances by Martina Arroyo, Marilyn Horne, pianist Emanuel Ax, singer/pianist Michael Feinstein, soprano Renée Fleming, pianist Lang Lang, soprano Isabel Leonard, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, soprano Jessye Norman, violinist Itzhak Perlman, and singer/songwriterJames Taylor. Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado leads the Orchestra of St. Luke's-which has been presented by Carnegie Hall since 1986-at the gala concert. The performance also features theOratorio Society of New York (Kent Tritle, Music Director), an ensemble long associated with Carnegie Hall since its opening in 1891.

Mercedes T. Bass is the Gala Lead Chairman for this black-tie event, with a Gala Chairmen Committee including the Blavatnik Family Foundation; Annette de la Renta; Susan and Ed Forst; Frederick Iseman; the JJR Foundation; Robert K. Kraft; Jenny and John Paulson; Sana H. Sabbagh; Beatrice Santo Domingo; Mrs. Henry T. Segerstrom; David M. Siegel and Dana Matsushita; Hope and Robert F. Smith; Sir Martin and Lady Cristiana Sorrell; S. Donald Sussman; and Joan and Sanford I. Weill. Bank of America and South Coast Plaza are Gala Sponsors. LVMH is the Gala Dinner Sponsor. The gala will benefit Carnegie Hall's artistic and music education programs and includes a dinner-dance at the Waldorf Astoria with the artists following the concert. The Gala Dinner-Dance will start at approximately 9:00 p.m. immediately following the performance.

On the eve of Carnegie Hall's 125th birthday-Wednesday night, May 4-the top of New York City's iconic Empire State Building will be lit "Carnegie Hall red," honoring this special milestone anniversary.

Since it opened in 1891, Carnegie Hall has set the international standard for musical excellence as the aspirational destination for the world's finest artists. From Tchaikovsky, Dvorák, Mahler, and Bartók to George Gershwin, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Judy Garland, and The Beatles, music-making by a long list of artists representing the best of every genre has filled Carnegie Hall over the years. The Hall's unique history has grown out of its stunning acoustics, the beauty of its three concert halls, and its location in New York City, where it has played a central role in elevating the city into one of the world's great cultural capitals.

Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie was inspired to build Carnegie Hall by his new wife, Louise, who sang in the Oratorio Society of New York. While on a honeymoon cruise to Scotland in 1887, Louise along with Walter Damrosch-conductor of the New York Symphony Society and Oratorio Society, also on his way to Europe-asked Carnegie to create a new home for music in New York City. The hall was designed by William Burnet Tuthill, a professional architect and cellist (and fellow Oratorio Society member), who had never built a concert hall before.

When the Hall's cornerstone was laid in 1890, Carnegie proclaimed that "it is probable that this Hall will intertwine itself with the history of our country." This was true from the start when it opened on May 5, 1891 with a spectacular concert featuring famed Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, conducting his own music in his American debut. Since then, its walls have echoed with applause not only for the greatest classical, jazz, and popular musicians, but also for the foremost comedians, authors, social crusaders, world figures, and orators of our time.

It seems inconceivable now that Carnegie Hall, having fallen into disrepair in the late 1950s, was once slated for demotion. The building was saved only when bought in 1960 by the City of New York after a major campaign led by renowned violinist Isaac Stern and key civic leaders. The Hall was soon designated as a National Historic Landmark, and, after a series of significant building-wide renovations over the last thirty years, has been rejuvenated and transformed into one of the greatest homes for music and music education in the world today.

Program Information:

Thursday, May 5 at 7:00 p.m.
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage

Martina Arroyo
Emanuel Ax
Michael Feinstein
Renée Fleming
Marilyn Horne
Lang Lang
Isabel Leonard
Yo-Yo Ma
Jessye Norman
Itzhak Perlman
James Taylor
Orchestra of St. Luke's
Pablo Heras-Casado, Conductor
Oratorio Society of New York
·· Kent Tritle, Music Director

Program to be announced from the stage.

Gala Benefit tickets include prime concert seating and the option of attending a pre-concert Cocktail Party in the Rohatyn Room ($1,000 per person), or a post-concert Gala Dinner-Dance in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria (individual tickets starting at $1,500 and tables starting at $15,000). All gala benefit tickets are available by calling the Carnegie Hall Special Events office at 212-903-9679 or online at

Concert-only tickets-priced at $100-$350-are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, or online at

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