You’ve all heard it before. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.
We took the easier route with the tour December 1, 2014. Unfortunately, I wasn’t posting much in this blog yet so I don’t remember everything that happened. I do highly recommend the tour if you’re in New York City.
If you want to go, other than practicing, Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park.
The tour was very inexpensive, maybe $10 each. We were taken by elevator up to the Main Hall (Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage) first. The stories that were told were fascinating! I don’t remember most but I remember the guide telling us that after renovations audience members complained of a buzzing sound. The floor had to be removed…
SOURCE OF CARNEGIE HALL COMPLAINTS DISCOVERED: CONCRETE UNDER STAGE
MARY CAMPBELL , Associated Press
Sep. 13, 1995 11:53 PM ET
NEW YORK (AP) _ For nine years, the people who run Carnegie Hall insisted there was nothing wrong with the acoustics at the famed concert hall.
Wednesday, they sang a different tune
This summer, a layer of concrete, apparently left over from a major renovation job in 1986, was discovered under the stage. The concrete was ripped out and a new floor was installed that administrators say should improve acoustics.
Since the renovation, musicians and critics have complained about the acoustics, saying the sound the hall was world famous for wasn’t the same, that the bass had become washed out and the higher instruments harsh.
Executive Director Judith Arron said Wednesday she had been assured there was no concrete under the stage since arriving at the hall in 1986.
But the tongue-in-groove maple stage floor, which usually lasts 20 years, had warped so badly after just nine years, it was difficult to push a piano across it.
The hall closed for repairs after three Frank Sinatra tribute concerts the last week in July. “As we tore the whole floor up,” Arron said, “we learned we had a lot more hard substance than we had anticipated.”
She speculated the concrete was added to reinforce the stage while scaffolding was on it during the 1986 renovation and then simply left there in workers’ haste to finish.
The concrete had been placed under two layers of plywood, on which the maple stage floor rests.
“Concrete retains moisture,” Arron said. “As the moisture collected in the concrete, it went into the plywood, which expands with moisture and pushed up the floor.”
Jim Nomikos, the hall’s director of operations, compared the removal of hundreds of pounds of concrete to “an archeological dig.”
Nomikos said the floor is now constructed the way it was from Carnegie Hall’s opening in 1891 until 1986.
“In my opinion we’re not reconstructing the floor. We just restored it,” he said. “I think what we have now is a floor that will have some resonance, as opposed to a floor that was dead.”
The project cost $180,000.
Aaron said there are no plans to sue anybody for the way the floor was laid in 1986. “We’ve been focused on doing the job right,” she said. “We think this is going to be great.”
The new floor will meet its first test Sept. 26, when the Philadelphia Orchestra plays. The hall’s official gala opening for its 105th season will be Oct. 5 by the Boston Symphony.
I remember the guide not being happy with us because I knew the answers to some of the questions she asked such as Tchaikovsky conducting at the opening. When she mentioned that Ignacy Jan Paderewski had made his debut there, Tom piped up that he had lived near Steinway Hall (and that Michael and I had just played there in the final concert in the old building). She gave us the evil eye and we stopped talking so much 🙂
There were many, many pictures on the walls of people who had performed there. All in all, a fantastic tour. Take it if you’re in NYC!
1891 Andrew Carnegie’s new Music Hall opened
Andrew Carnegie’s new Music Hall opened with a five-day music festival beginning on May 5.
Guest of honor Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conducted his Marche Solennelle on Opening Night and his Piano Concerto No. 1 several days later.
William Tuthill’s design reflects Gilded Age architectural tastes and engineering. Since the Hall was built shortly before the advent of structural steel construction, its walls are made of fairly heavy brick and masonry, to carry the full load of the structure without the lighter support that a steel framework soon made possible. The Italian Renaissance design of the exterior reflects the eclectic architectural tastes of the period, which look to European models of earlier centuries for inspiration. Tuthill deliberately chose to keep the styling and decorative elements simple, elegant, and functional, focusing his energies on designing an excellent acoustic environment.
I came across this interesting 1947 movie about Carnegie Hall for my Music Studio Blog and I’m posting it here, as well.
Jascha Heifetz (violinist) Tchaikovsky – “Violin Concerto in D, First Movement” – New York Philharmonic, Fritz Reiner, conductor
Harry James (trumpeter)
Vaughn Monroe (band leader)
Jan Peerce (vocalist)
Gregor Piatigorsky (cellist)
Ezio Pinza (vocalist)
Lily Pons (vocalist)
Fritz Reiner (conductor)
Artur Rodzinski (conductor)
Arthur Rubinstein (pianist)
Rise Stevens (vocalist)
Leopold Stokowski (conductor)
Bruno Walter (conductor)
Walter Damrosch (conductor)
Olin Downes (music critic)
New York Philharmonic Quintette (John Corigliano Sr., William Lincer, Nadia Reisenberg, Leonard Rose, Michael Rosenker)
New York Philharmonic
A mother (Marsha Hunt) wants her son (William Prince) to grow up to be a pianist good enough to play at Carnegie Hall but, when grown, the son prefers to play with Vaughan Monroe’s orchestra. But Mama’s wishes prevail and the son appears at Carnegie Hall as the composer-conductor-pianist of a modern horn concerto, with Harry James as the soloist. Frank McHugh is along as a Carnegie Hall porter and doorman, and Martha O’Driscoll is a singer who provides the love interest for Prince. Meanwhile and between while a brigade of classical music names from the 1940’s (and earlier and later) appear; the conductors Walter Damrosch, Bruno Walter, Artur Rodzinski, Fritz Reiner and Leopold Stokowski; singers Rise Stevens, Lily Pons, Jan Peerce and Ezio Pinza, plus pianist Arthur Rubinstein, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky and violinist Jascha Heifetz.
We planned to meet Michael about 9:30 for breakfast so we got up early (for me, on a Saturday). I had a bit of a headache and puffy eyes from the fabric softener – made a note to take Benadryl before bed – and I found my contact case. No more using the SD card holder. Progress!
I left our door open a bit while we were getting ready and one of the dogs wanted to come in.
On our way out, we met Candace, our other host, and talked to her for a few minutes. She was getting ready to take the dogs to visit her parents for the day. The night before, Paul had said that parking the car cost about $400 a month and the only thing that they used it for was going to her parents twice a month. Expensive trip.
We started walking to Michael’s and he met us about 2/3 of the way over. We stopped at Open Kitchen for breakfast, then briefly to Michael’s for a bit of planning. We wanted to take the ferry to DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). That’s a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. I’d never been to Brooklyn before, only through it, so this sounded like fun.
To get ferry tickets, Michael had to download an app. Modern times! At least, he didn’t have to print out paper tickets. I am surprised – at all the venues we have been to in New York, only The 39 Steps had paperless admission.
After the ferry tickets were purchased, they couldn’t be activated until 20 minutes before boarding. If activated too soon, they would expire. Very interesting.
We walked from Michael’s apartment to the Wall Street Pier/Pier 11 and waited a bit for our ferry. A couple sightseeing boats went out, and several helicopters.
The whole trip was only about 11 minutes but it’s always nice being on the water 🙂 Just after we disembarked, I got this great picture of the New York skyline.
One of the first things we noticed while still on the boat was a building that looked like an old lighthouse. Turned out to be the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory now. The building was formerly used to berth fireboats and dry firehoses, hence the tall tower. The lines were very long so we went later in the afternoon.
Michael knew about the Brooklyn Bridge Park, so we walked around there. On the map, the portion of the park we saw was the green area between the Bargemusic and the Manhattan Bridge Lower Roadway.
The first building we noticed on our walk was St. Ann’s Warehouse. We had no idea what it was but it seemed to be an historic building turned into shopping. I learned later that this was converted into a venue for classical music in 1980.
There were several interesting historic signs about the pathway and we walked past Jane’s Carousel.
We passed the huge OY/YO sculpture.
If you’re in the park facing the Manhattan skyline, the sculpture reads “OY,” a commonly used Yiddish expression.
But if you’re viewing the sculpture from across the river in Manhattan or along the river like we were, it reads “YO.”
Our goal was the Brooklyn Bridge Park Environmental Education Center. This was a very interesting place although from the outside it seemed to be for children only. The tables had drawers that pulled out so that different layers of the river could be seen, Anyone interested in learning about the ecology of the park and the kinds of plants and animals that thrive here would find this fascinating.
All this walking made us hungry so on the way, we stopped for chocolate at Jacques Torres Chocolate. Apparently, the DUMBO location is their first:
Visit the place where it all started. Jacques’ first location offers handmade chocolate treats, hot chocolate, and ice cream sandwiches. From truffles to cookies to bonbons and more, we’ll help you sample your favorite flavors to bring home and share with everyone!
Jacques Torres is located:66 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
We started out with Michael choosing 2 pieces of chocolate, then me…then we ended up with a box. Plus water, to make it all healthy.
A very interesting shot. If you look through the bottom of the Manhattan Bridge, you can see the Empire State Building.
For lunch, we went to an “Italian Place”, AlMar. This is in quotes because it ended up not being lunch and not being Italian food. Here’s the brunch menu. They had HUGE coffee cups – I liked that a lot 🙂
After brunch, back to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory for ice cream (DUH). 1 scoop was more than enough – I couldn’t finish it.
Then, we went to Bargemusic. This is a classical music venue and cultural icon founded in 1977, housed on a converted coffee barge moored at Fulton Ferry Landing on the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge. I took this picture of the NY skyline and Steinway piano from the second row seating.
On Saturday afternoons at 4, Bargemusic is free! Such a deal. The nighttime performances cost a bit but still reasonable.
Founder and director, Olga Bloom was interviewed about the floating concert hall under the Brooklyn Bridge she converted from an old coffee barge. The video includes excerpts from one of the chamber music concerts typical of the Bargemusic programs, and features classical music artists, Ida Levin, violin, Anton Nel, piano, Thomas Hill, clarinet, Ronald Thomas, cello. A Greenpoint Video Project production. Supported through a grant from NYCEF, New York State Council on the Arts.
One of our performers was Mark Peskanov, Bargemusic President, Executive & Artistic Director. He talked a little about the program, about Bargemusic in general, and introduced the pianist and cellist for today. Each played a Bach solo and the 3 played Piano Trio No.4, Op.90 by Antonín Dvořák. Here, it’s played by another trio:
We were all ready for naptime so we Ubered back to Michael’s apartment. A bit of napping, practicing, then out to the subway to go to the Lincoln Center to see Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet.
During the holiday period, the entire Company is immersed in activities surrounding George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™. All 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 32 stagehands and two casts of 50 young students each from the School of American Ballet join forces to make each performance as magical as possible. Children of all ages from New York City and the nation fill the David H. Koch Theater to be captivated by the lure of Tschaikovsky’s music, Balanchine’s choreography, Karinska’s sumptuous costumes, and Rouben Ter-Arutunian’s magical sets. George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, based on the Alexandre Dumas pere version of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1816), demands a full-scale production.
The elaborate stage elements and intricate lighting unleash the viewers’ imagination by providing visual effects that are extraordinarily grand. The most famous example is the one-ton Christmas tree that grows from a height of 12 feet to 40 feet, evoking audible gasps of disbelief from the audience at each performance. Other notable feats include the comic figure of Mother Ginger — 85 pounds and nine feet wide, the costume requires handling by three people once it is lowered by pulley over the dancer’s head — as well as the continuous flutter of the purest, crystal-shaped snowflakes (which are swept up and conserved after each performance for reuse).
While these technical achievements are wonderful fun, it is Balanchine’s choreography that sustains the ballet through two acts. Act I introduces the characters — the Stahlbaum children, Marie and Fritz, Herr Drosselmeier and his Nephew — and also begins the transition from reality into fantasy with the concluding Snowflake Waltz. Act II offers the complete transformation. We have entered the “Kingdom of the Sugarplum Fairy” and there is no turning back.
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ is one of the most complex theatrical, staged ballets in the Company’s active repertory. The popularity of the ballet is immense and it provides an unforgettable spark to everyone’s holiday season.
Seeing this ballet meant that we had been in all of the Lincoln Center venues.
- David Geffen Hall (formerly Philharmonic Hall and Avery Fisher Hall): a 2,738-seat symphony hall; the home stage of the New York Philharmonic.
- Metropolitan Opera House: a 3,900-seat opera house; the home stage of the Metropolitan Opera; as well as List Hall.
- David H. Koch Theater (formerly New York State Theater): a 2,586-seat theater; constructed to be the home of the New York City Ballet, it is also the former home of the New York City Opera and the Music Theater of Lincoln Center companies.
- Damrosch Park: an outdoor amphitheater with a bowl-style stage known as the Guggenheim Band Shell; used for free Lincoln Center Out of Doors presentations and with a special dance floor for Midsummer Night Swing. The Big Apple Circus is also here.
- Josie Robertson Plaza: the center’s central plaza, featuring its iconic fountain; the three main buildings (Metropolitan Opera House, David Geffen Hall, and David H. Koch Theater) face onto this plaza; used as an outdoor venue during Lincoln Center Out of Doors presentations
From there, we walked to Il Violino for dinner. One would think that they had a musical theme but they didn’t.
Apparently, they were in a movie, sort of. We were sitting at the table that appears about 2:32:
Another Uber back home. On the way, there was a huge fire with about 15 fire trucks, causing a major traffic slowdown.
According to my phone, we walked 4.3 miles today and up 6 flights of stairs.