Tag Archives: Steinway Hall

Carnegie Hall

carnegie-hall

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.

carnegie-hall-map

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…

From 1995:

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 🙂

padereski-me

Plaque on Steinwall Hall (old building). This was just after Michael and I played there.

Paderewski

Plaque on Steinwall Hall (old building).

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

Storyline:
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.

New York City, Day 3

steinway

 

We checked out pretty early from the Airbnb.  Neither of the hosts were there so we left the key on the counter and took our luggage over to Michael’s.

Breakfast/brunch today was at Koyzina Kafe,

From there, we took an Uber to the interim Steinway Hall.  Michael and I were the last people ever to play at the last Steinway Hall, in the main room.  We played a 2-piano version of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.   I’m sorry that the video quality is so poor:

That first time, Michael played Mozart’s Rondo in D Major, also poor quality video 😦

Fortunately, the new Steinway Hall, when completed, will have built-in professional recording.

Adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steinway_Hall:

That Steinway Hall (on 57th Street) was designated a registered historic and cultural landmark in 2001. The exterior featured a bas-relief of Apollo and a musical muse by Leo Lentelli located in the lunette above the grand window at ground level.

The main room, a two-story rotunda, featured high domed ceilings, handpainted by Paul Arndt. The interior design was appointed with marble and portraits of composers and concert artists. Some valuable paintings are showcased throughout Steinway Hall, by such renowned artists as Rockwell Kent, N.C. Wyeth, Leopold Seyffert and Charles Chambers. The main rotunda seated up to 300 guests and a small symphony orchestra. The showrooms were covered with wood panels for better acoustics. In the basement of Steinway Hall was a concert grand piano bank: an exclusive collection of Steinway concert grand pianos, maintained for the use in live concerts as well as for studio recordings by performing artists.

At the end of June 2013 Steinway & Sons announced that they sold the leasehold interest in the Steinway Hall on 57th Street for $46.3 million in cash.

The current, interim location is a rented building on the address 1133 Avenue of the Americas.

They will move to their new, permanent location in February, 2016

We got to our location faster than expected and walked around the block.  I was stunned when we saw Cafe Un Deux Trois!

un-deux

 

Cafe Un Deux Trois has a special memory for me.  November 2, 2003, Michael decided to run the New York Marathon.  We went to NY to see him run.  (He finished in 4:21:57.  The average for males that year was 4:28:56).

marathon

From good-old Wikipedia:

The New York City Marathon (branded TCS New York City Marathon and formerly branded ING New York City Marathon for sponsorship reasons) is an annual marathon (42.195 km or 26.219 mi) that courses through the five boroughs of New York City. It is the largest marathon in the world, with 50,304 finishers in 2013. Along with the Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon, it is among the pre-eminent long-distance annual running events in the United States and is one of the World Marathon Majors.

My best friend, Alice, and her brother (David) were living in Brooklyn and they decided to meet us in Manhattan on Saturday night.  Michael and a friend went to a comedy show while Alice, David, Tom and I walked around Times Square, just talking.  We turned down a side street and saw… Cafe Un Deux Trois.  We decided to go in to eat.

I remember nothing about the meal.  But, at the next table was Ben Gazzara,  Gena Rowlands, Peter Bogdanovitch and 3-4 others I didn’t recognize.  After about half an hour, Carol Kane came in, too.  It turned out that Ben Gazzara was in a one man show across the street which had just opened: Nobody Don’t Like Yogi.  All this made the meal very exciting.  

For the last several years, every time we’ve been near Times Square, I’ve looked down the side streets for this restaurant and never saw it again until this day.

A very nice memory of Alice.

When we got back to Steinway Hall, the doors were opened and we went up to the recital room.  A friend of Tom’s came to listen, too.

Michael played Partita II by Johann Sebastian Bach

Our duet this year was an old Christmas favorite, Fantasia on Greensleeves by Ralph Vaughan Williams

After Steinway Hall, we went to Tony’s di Napoli for lunch, Then rested for a bit at Michael’s.

We planned to go to a museum but were running short of time so we walked around Battery Park, took a picture…

t-m-world-trade

Took a picture of the Wall Street Christmas Tree at dusk:

 

wall-street-tree

Then we picked up our stuff at Michael’s, took the subway to Penn Station and headed home, exhausted.

Walking today: 4.19 miles, 6 flights of stairs

Where the pictures were taken (I didn’t take pictures everywhere and Tom didn’t have his phone):

weekend

 

 

maryOpianoplayer

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