Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

Practice, practice, practice. So goes the old adage. Carnegie Hall's history, beauty and renown acoustics are being celebrated with a 120th-anniversary concert featuring the New York Philharmonic, which made its home at the music hall for 70 years before moving to the flashier Lincoln Center in the 1960s. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist Emanuel Ax and singer Audra McDonald perform the music of Antonin Dvorák, Ludwig van Beethoven, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington.
But the real draw is the hall itself. Its acoustics are world renown and rarely duplicated (though many have tried—look up the many revisions of Avery Fisher Hall, the Philharmonic's current home), and its history enviable—Dvorak's beloved New World Symphony debuted here on December 16, 1893; Liza Minelli sold out 10 shows in 1979, setting a record held to this day.

I caught Allen Ginsburg reciting his infamous Howl. I jumped when he spat and growled on the stage, so visceral was his anger even nearly 40 years after its publication in 1956. I've heard Händel's Messiah ring out in the hall. I watched awestruck as violinist Isaac Stern, Carnegie Hall's champion during the 1970s and ’80s who lobbied tirelessly for its careful renovation, performed joyfully and with youthful vigor in his beloved venue.

I wish I could be at tonight's show. A live broadcast is as close as I'll come. But I'll be back. All I need to get to Carnegie Hall is a Metrocard and my undying love of the arts.

Read more about Carnegie Hall here.

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