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PlayUSA is an initiative that enables Carnegie Hall to better support partner organizations across the country that offer instrumental music education programs to low-income and underserved K–12 students. These organizations receive funding, consultation with Carnegie Hall staff to address challenges and build on best practices, and training and professional development for teachers and arts administrators. This year, Carnegie Hall is supporting projects administered by seven organizations: Atlanta Music Project, Community MusicWorks, El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Metropolitan Youth Orchestras of Central Alabama, The People’s Music School, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) here in New York City. Gary Padmore, OSL’s director of education and community, recently discussed the importance of his organization’s partnership with PlayUSA.


What is the mission of Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's (YOSL), and who do you serve?

YOSL aims to empower young people to achieve success on stage, in the classroom, and in their communities through immersive musical study from our teaching artists, mentorships with Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) musicians, and access to cultural activities happening throughout the city. The program serves a diverse group of children and families within our neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen.

PlayUSA (Jennifer Taylor)
Photography: Jennifer Taylor

What is YOSL’s role within the community?

YOSL is a music-based resource for families in Hell’s Kitchen and Manhattan’s Far West Side. In addition to providing instruction to participants on either a string or woodwind instrument, YOSL offers families the opportunity to be engaged and informed throughout the process. As a partnership program, YOSL works closely with organizations in the local community, including three public schools, Police Athletic League, and Abundant Waters, a youth-services nonprofit. These relationships center YOSL as a program that is able to respond and listen to the community’s needs.

How will YOSL’s partnership with PlayUSA affect the lives of students, families, and staff?

Partnering with PlayUSA offers YOSL students direct access to the resources of Carnegie Hall, which is only a few minutes away from several of our program sites. The partnership, we believe, will lead to increased opportunities for our families to share and contribute to the city’s cultural fabric, resulting in stronger programming at all levels for YOSL’s young musicians.

How will the partnership impact your organization?

At an organizational level, YOSL’s partnership with PlayUSA partially underwrites this season’s program expansion. During the 2016–2017 season, YOSL will expand enrollment and transition into an entirely afterschool structure; previously, one of the participating schools could only offer in-school orchestra lessons, but now students can experience YOSL outside of classroom hours. The program growth allows more local children and families to participate in YOSL, and supports the work of OSL’s staff and orchestra musicians. Lastly, our partnership with PlayUSA also informs the larger OSL community, as it relates to programming and the audiences that we engage.

What does YOSL hope to gain from partnering with other music education programs for youth around the country?

By participating in a network of organizations enacting similar programs for students with limited to no access to instrumental programs, OSL hopes to learn and share best practices that will directly benefit our communities. Learning and working alongside peer programs throughout the nation will help YOSL strengthen its organizational approach to programming and its capacity to develop YOSL into a premier ensemble that is deeply rooted with the community at its center. Each PlayUSA site is unique and can offer valuable insight that YOSL can adapt to those with whom we engage.

11 months ago |
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By Stephen Raskauskas


For centuries, creators of great art have been depicting atrocity and pandemonium alongside tranquility and harmony, boldly showing us both our brutal nature and our elevated humanity.

Art unifies, transcends borders, connects the disconnected, eliminates status, soothes turmoil, threatens power and the status quo, and gloriously exalts the spirit. Art is a valiant path to peace.

The power to bravely tip the scales towards peace lies firmly within every single one of us.

And so I ask you …

… In the midst of chaos, how do you find peace?


This month, Joyce DiDonato returns to Carnegie Hall to offer more than just a concert performance of vocal selections. In addition to her Grammy Award–winning mezzo-soprano, she hopes to share a beacon of hope by way of a project that explores harmony—both musically and symbolically—through arias that examine the interwoven worlds of external conflict and serenity, internal war and peace.

“I worry that we all feel inundated by the turmoil and chaos around us, that we are starting to feel hopeless, and that we are merely victims of the current political and social climate,” she says. “My hope with this project is that we can all turn inwards and remind ourselves that we all have a say in how we react, what we contribute, how we confront the chaos in our own lives. I know that for many music lovers, music is often a decisive factor in facilitating a feeling of tranquility. I simply want to refocus the spotlight on that potent power.”

Joyce DiDonato - In War and Peace 1

With In War & Peace—also the name of her recently released CD—Ms. DiDonato traverses the power of Baroque music, collaborating with acclaimed period orchestra Il Pomo d’Oro, conducted by Maxim Emelyanychev.

“Originally, we were going to explore unknown Neapolitan composers,” she admits. “But after the Paris attacks, I knew I needed to say something more profound with this project, so I decided on the theme of finding harmony through music.”

Ms. DiDonato shares two groups of arias that explore war and peace. She has drawn from both beloved Baroque operas and rarely heard works by Neapolitan composers Leonoard Leo and Niccolò Jommelli.

“I think it brings a wonderful sense of drama and freshness to accompany some well-known arias with utterly unknown discoveries,” she says. “They will certainly cause intense foot-tapping and, I think, be a very welcome, dramatic surprise to listeners.”


“For outer peace each one of us has to find her or his inner peace. Silence is the beginning and the end of all music and we have to treasure that in this very noisy world of ours.”
—Sir András Schiff , Pianist


As concertgoers have come to appreciate, even well-known arias sound new when Ms. DiDonato performs them. She accepts the composer’s invitation to personalize the works with elaborate embellishments. Like singers centuries ago, singers today are expected to add vocal ornaments that are musically and dramatically appropriate. A performer might decorate one phrase with a simple trill or turn, while another phrase might necessitate a more lengthy improvisation.

When considering how to make this music her own, Ms. DiDonato says, “As I’ve always tried to do, I start with the text. What is the character’s subtext, their emotional story, the most pressing dilemma at hand? I aim to pair that with my particular vocal strengths, and hope I can offer something that perhaps has not been heard before.”

One charming instance of Handel creating opportunities for improvisation is in the aria “Augelletti, che cantata” (“Little birds, you who sing”) from Rinaldo. In the opera, the title character is with his love, Almirena, in a beautiful garden with fountains. They are surrounded by birds that the composer represents with a virtuosic solo for sopranino recorder.

Joyce DiDonato - In War and Peace 2

“I find peace by moving from my head to my heart.”
—Richard, Streetwise Opera Performer for the Homeless in London


Ms. DiDonato says inventing ornaments for this aria was “slightly different because I have the pleasure of playing off of the imagination of the recorder player. We encourage each other to try different embellishments,” and what may appear as a few notes in Handel’s score can transform into an entire flutter of sound.

Making music sound fresh is easy for musicians who have been collaborating for more than a decade. “I know many of the members of Il Pomo d’Oro from the group Il Complesso Barocco, founded by the late Alan Curtis,” Ms. DiDonato continues. “They are a young, enthusiastic, and incredibly proficient group that I have worked with on my Drama Queens tour and numerous other projects. We know each other very well, and together we reach great musical heights.”

But with In War & Peace, she is not just in creative dialogue with the members of Il Pomo d’Oro. She wants to start a conversation with her audience near and far, posing the question, “In the midst of chaos, how you do you find peace?”


“By keeping in the front of my mind words penned by Unitarian Minister Theodore Parker (1810– 1860) and used to great effect by Martin Luther King: ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’”
—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court


Hundreds of people from dozens of countries have responded, from US Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to actress Dame Judi Dench to designer Vivienne Westwood. She has also heard stories from refugees, revolutionaries, war heroes, and writers—people of all ages and walks of life.

“What has brought me great solace through this project,” she says, “is the simplicity of most people’s answers: They involve nature, music, breath, connection—nothing complicated, impossible, or unreachable. Seeing the responses together, you not only see a common humanity, but you realize how accessible it is to any single one of us at any given time.”

“For myself, when I look at the world today, I’m utterly overwhelmed and flirt with hopelessness. But when I read these responses from people across the entire human spectrum, my hope is renewed and the path to a place of calm is clearly illuminated.”

Stephen Raskauskas has for written for The Wall Street Journal and arts organizations across the country.


Joyce DiDonato (Photo: Brooke Shaden, Dress: Vivienne Westwood)   Thursday, December 15 at 8 PM
Joyce DiDonato
In War & Peace: Harmony through Music


Joyce DiDonato explores themes of conflict and resolve that reach us today from music by Handel, Purcell, and other composers of the Baroque.

Photos by Brooke Shaden, dresses by Vivienne Westwood

1 year ago |
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Harmony through Music

By Stephen Raskauskas


For centuries, creators of great art have been depicting atrocity and pandemonium alongside tranquility and harmony, boldly showing us both our brutal nature and our elevated humanity.

Art unifies, transcends borders, connects the disconnected, eliminates status, soothes turmoil, threatens power and the status quo, and gloriously exalts the spirit. Art is a valiant path to peace.

The power to bravely tip the scales towards peace lies firmly within every single one of us.

And so I ask you …

… In the midst of chaos, how do you find peace?


This month, Joyce DiDonato returns to Carnegie Hall to offer more than just a concert performance of vocal selections. In addition to her Grammy Award–winning mezzo-soprano, she hopes to share a beacon of hope by way of a project that explores harmony—both musically and symbolically—through arias that examine the interwoven worlds of external conflict and serenity, internal war and peace.

“I worry that we all feel inundated by the turmoil and chaos around us, that we are starting to feel hopeless, and that we are merely victims of the current political and social climate,” she says. “My hope with this project is that we can all turn inwards and remind ourselves that we all have a say in how we react, what we contribute, how we confront the chaos in our own lives. I know that for many music lovers, music is often a decisive factor in facilitating a feeling of tranquility. I simply want to refocus the spotlight on that potent power.”

With In War & Peace—also the name of her recently released CD—Ms. DiDonato traverses the power of Baroque music, collaborating with acclaimed period orchestra Il Pomo d’Oro, conducted by Maxim Emelyanychev.

“Originally, we were going to explore unknown Neapolitan composers,” she admits. “But after the Paris attacks, I knew I needed to say something more profound with this project, so I decided on the theme of finding harmony through music.”

Ms. DiDonato shares two groups of arias that explore war and peace. She has drawn from both beloved Baroque operas and rarely heard works by Neapolitan composers Leonoard Leo and Niccolò Jommelli.

“I think it brings a wonderful sense of drama and freshness to accompany some well-known arias with utterly unknown discoveries,” she says. “They will certainly cause intense foot-tapping and, I think, be a very welcome, dramatic surprise to listeners.”


“For outer peace each one of us has to find her or his inner peace. Silence is the beginning and the end of all music and we have to treasure that in this very noisy world of ours.”
—Sir András Schiff , Pianist


As concertgoers have come to appreciate, even well-known arias sound new when Ms. DiDonato performs them. She accepts the composer’s invitation to personalize the works with elaborate embellishments. Like singers centuries ago, singers today are expected to add vocal ornaments that are musically and dramatically appropriate. A performer might decorate one phrase with a simple trill or turn, while another phrase might necessitate a more lengthy improvisation.

When considering how to make this music her own, Ms. DiDonato says, “As I’ve always tried to do, I start with the text. What is the character’s subtext, their emotional story, the most pressing dilemma at hand? I aim to pair that with my particular vocal strengths, and hope I can offer something that perhaps has not been heard before.”

One charming instance of Handel creating opportunities for improvisation is in the aria “Augelletti, che cantata” (“Little birds, you who sing”) from Rinaldo. In the opera, the title character is with his love, Almirena, in a beautiful garden with fountains. They are surrounded by birds that the composer represents with a virtuosic solo for sopranino recorder.


“I find peace by moving from my head to my heart.”
—Richard, Streetwise Opera Performer for the Homeless in London


Ms. DiDonato says inventing ornaments for this aria was “slightly different because I have the pleasure of playing off of the imagination of the recorder player. We encourage each other to try different embellishments,” and what may appear as a few notes in Handel’s score can transform into an entire flutter of sound.

Making music sound fresh is easy for musicians who have been collaborating for more than a decade. “I know many of the members of Il Pomo d’Oro from the group Il Complesso Barocco, founded by the late Alan Curtis,” Ms. DiDonato continues. “They are a young, enthusiastic, and incredibly proficient group that I have worked with on my Drama Queens tour and numerous other projects. We know each other very well, and together we reach great musical heights.”

But with In War & Peace, she is not just in creative dialogue with the members of Il Pomo d’Oro. She wants to start a conversation with her audience near and far, posing the question, “In the midst of chaos, how you do you find peace?”


“By keeping in the front of my mind words penned by Unitarian Minister Theodore Parker (1810– 1860) and used to great effect by Martin Luther King: ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’”
—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court


Hundreds of people from dozens of countries have responded, from US Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to actress Dame Judi Dench to designer Vivienne Westwood. She has also heard stories from refugees, revolutionaries, war heroes, and writers—people of all ages and walks of life.

“What has brought me great solace through this project,” she says, “is the simplicity of most people’s answers: They involve nature, music, breath, connection—nothing complicated, impossible, or unreachable. Seeing the responses together, you not only see a common humanity, but you realize how accessible it is to any single one of us at any given time.”

“For myself, when I look at the world today, I’m utterly overwhelmed and flirt with hopelessness. But when I read these responses from people across the entire human spectrum, my hope is renewed and the path to a place of calm is clearly illuminated.”

Stephen Raskauskas has for written for The Wall Street Journal and arts organizations across the country.


Photos by Brooke Shaden, dresses by Vivienne Westwood

1 year ago |
Tag
| Read Full Story

By Stephen Raskauskas


For centuries, creators of great art have been depicting atrocity and pandemonium alongside tranquility and harmony, boldly showing us both our brutal nature and our elevated humanity.

Art unifies, transcends borders, connects the disconnected, eliminates status, soothes turmoil, threatens power and the status quo, and gloriously exalts the spirit. Art is a valiant path to peace.

The power to bravely tip the scales towards peace lies firmly within every single one of us.

And so I ask you …

… In the midst of chaos, how do you find peace?


This month, Joyce DiDonato returns to Carnegie Hall to offer more than just a concert performance of vocal selections. In addition to her Grammy Award–winning mezzo-soprano, she hopes to share a beacon of hope by way of a project that explores harmony—both musically and symbolically—through arias that examine the interwoven worlds of external conflict and serenity, internal war and peace.

“I worry that we all feel inundated by the turmoil and chaos around us, that we are starting to feel hopeless, and that we are merely victims of the current political and social climate,” she says. “My hope with this project is that we can all turn inwards and remind ourselves that we all have a say in how we react, what we contribute, how we confront the chaos in our own lives. I know that for many music lovers, music is often a decisive factor in facilitating a feeling of tranquility. I simply want to refocus the spotlight on that potent power.”

Joyce DiDonato - In War and Peace 1

With In War & Peace—also the name of her recently released CD—Ms. DiDonato traverses the power of Baroque music, collaborating with acclaimed period orchestra Il Pomo d’Oro, conducted by Maxim Emelyanychev.

“Originally, we were going to explore unknown Neapolitan composers,” she admits. “But after the Paris attacks, I knew I needed to say something more profound with this project, so I decided on the theme of finding harmony through music.”

Ms. DiDonato shares two groups of arias that explore war and peace. She has drawn from both beloved Baroque operas and rarely heard works by Neapolitan composers Leonoard Leo and Niccolò Jommelli.

“I think it brings a wonderful sense of drama and freshness to accompany some well-known arias with utterly unknown discoveries,” she says. “They will certainly cause intense foot-tapping and, I think, be a very welcome, dramatic surprise to listeners.”


“For outer peace each one of us has to find her or his inner peace. Silence is the beginning and the end of all music and we have to treasure that in this very noisy world of ours.”
—Sir András Schiff , Pianist


As concertgoers have come to appreciate, even well-known arias sound new when Ms. DiDonato performs them. She accepts the composer’s invitation to personalize the works with elaborate embellishments. Like singers centuries ago, singers today are expected to add vocal ornaments that are musically and dramatically appropriate. A performer might decorate one phrase with a simple trill or turn, while another phrase might necessitate a more lengthy improvisation.

When considering how to make this music her own, Ms. DiDonato says, “As I’ve always tried to do, I start with the text. What is the character’s subtext, their emotional story, the most pressing dilemma at hand? I aim to pair that with my particular vocal strengths, and hope I can offer something that perhaps has not been heard before.”

One charming instance of Handel creating opportunities for improvisation is in the aria “Augelletti, che cantata” (“Little birds, you who sing”) from Rinaldo. In the opera, the title character is with his love, Almirena, in a beautiful garden with fountains. They are surrounded by birds that the composer represents with a virtuosic solo for sopranino recorder.

Joyce DiDonato - In War and Peace 2

“I find peace by moving from my head to my heart.”
—Richard, Streetwise Opera Performer for the Homeless in London


Ms. DiDonato says inventing ornaments for this aria was “slightly different because I have the pleasure of playing off of the imagination of the recorder player. We encourage each other to try different embellishments,” and what may appear as a few notes in Handel’s score can transform into an entire flutter of sound.

Making music sound fresh is easy for musicians who have been collaborating for more than a decade. “I know many of the members of Il Pomo d’Oro from the group Il Complesso Barocco, founded by the late Alan Curtis,” Ms. DiDonato continues. “They are a young, enthusiastic, and incredibly proficient group that I have worked with on my Drama Queens tour and numerous other projects. We know each other very well, and together we reach great musical heights.”

But with In War & Peace, she is not just in creative dialogue with the members of Il Pomo d’Oro. She wants to start a conversation with her audience near and far, posing the question, “In the midst of chaos, how you do you find peace?”


“By keeping in the front of my mind words penned by Unitarian Minister Theodore Parker (1810– 1860) and used to great effect by Martin Luther King: ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’”
—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court


Hundreds of people from dozens of countries have responded, from US Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to actress Dame Judi Dench to designer Vivienne Westwood. She has also heard stories from refugees, revolutionaries, war heroes, and writers—people of all ages and walks of life.

“What has brought me great solace through this project,” she says, “is the simplicity of most people’s answers: They involve nature, music, breath, connection—nothing complicated, impossible, or unreachable. Seeing the responses together, you not only see a common humanity, but you realize how accessible it is to any single one of us at any given time.”

“For myself, when I look at the world today, I’m utterly overwhelmed and flirt with hopelessness. But when I read these responses from people across the entire human spectrum, my hope is renewed and the path to a place of calm is clearly illuminated.”

Stephen Raskauskas has for written for The Wall Street Journal and arts organizations across the country.


Joyce DiDonato (Photo: Brooke Shaden, Dress: Vivienne Westwood)   Thursday, December 15 at 8 PM
Joyce DiDonato
In War & Peace: Harmony through Music


Joyce DiDonato explores themes of conflict and resolve that reach us today from music by Handel, Purcell, and other composers of the Baroque.

Photos by Brooke Shaden, dresses by Vivienne Westwood

1 year ago |
Tag
| Read Full Story

For more than 125 years, Carnegie Hall has solidified its presence as a hall intertwined with the history of our country. Opened in 1891 and funded singlehandedly by Andrew Carnegie, it instantly became a “people’s house,” where music was presented alongside civic events, rallies, organizational meetings, and other gatherings.

Carnegie, a businessman and philanthropist, lived to improve the world. He quickly rose from a $1.25-a-week job in a mill to amass business interests in steel, oil, iron, and railroads, ultimately starting a philanthropic career that spanned his lifetime and beyond. As a staunch advocate for world peace, Carnegie recognized that the greatest threat to civilization was war, so he put his fortune towards strengthening international law in order to prevent future global conflicts. In addition to supporting the founding of the Peace Palace in The Hague in 1903, he founded the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 1910. He worked tirelessly to “hasten the abolition of international war” until his death in 1919, two months after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

 









“It is built to stand for ages, and during these ages it is probable that this hall will intertwine itself with the history of our country. All good causes may find here a platform.” —Andrew Carnegie
 


It is no surprise, then, that Carnegie Hall has been host to non-musical events with various focuses, the theme closest to Carnegie’s personal pursuits being peace-related events. From President Woodrow Wilson to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pete Seeger to Andrew Carnegie himself, countless individuals have graced the Carnegie Hall stage with rhetoric and melodies of peace. Whether a conference, a lecture, a celebration, a concert, or a rally, events at Carnegie Hall have promoted peaceful relations and freedom both nationally and abroad, echoing the historical narrative of America.

Before his death, Carnegie appeared on stage at his hall at least nine times. The most significant of these appearances was April 14–17, 1907, at the National Arbitration and Peace Congress, which brought together delegates from around the world, and over which Carnegie presided. Carnegie “was the happiest of men throughout the whole period and was the presiding genius,” said Frederick Lynch. “Nowhere have his amazing versatility and his rare sense of humor been more fully revealed than in his introductions of the various speakers and in his impromptu remarks at the various sessions.”



Andrew Carnegie on the Carnegie Hall stage with French diplomat Paul-Henri-Benjamin Balluet, baron d' Estournelles de Constant during the 1907 National Arbitration and Peace Congress, which Carnegie organized and over which he presided.
Photograph taken during the National Arbitration and Peace Congress at Carnegie Hall, April 14-17, 1907, which was organized by Andrew Carnegie, and over which he presided.
 

On July 8, 1919, at Carnegie Hall, President Woodrow Wilson spoke about the Treaty of Versailles—the first public statement he gave after returning triumphantly from the Paris Peace Conference. The New York Times headline stated “President Home, Calls Peace a Just One ...” When President Wilson arrived at the 23rd Street ferry terminal, more than half a million New Yorkers lined the route up to the Hall—a distance of about two and one-half miles.



 

Carnegie Hall was also the site of countless meetings, conferences, and rallies for peace, including the 1911 International Peace and Arbitration Meeting, the 1917 Emergency Peace Federation’s Rally Against US Participation in World War I, the 1919 Peace Festival concerts, the 1923 World Peace Mass Meeting, the 1945 Rally of American Youth for a Free World, the 1949 Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace, the 1953 Armistice Day Rally, and the 1961 Conference of Greater New York Peace Groups.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the individuals most commonly associated with civil rights activism and advocacy of nonviolence in America. On February 23, 1968, Carnegie Hall hosted the W. E. B. DuBois 100th birthday celebration and benefit, where Dr. King was the keynote speaker. In his remarks that evening, he noted that, “Dr. DuBois has left us, but he has not died. The spirit of freedom is not buried in the grave of the valiant.” This marked Dr. King’s last major public address. Almost six weeks later, he was assassinated in Memphis.



Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the keynote speaker at a February 23, 1968 benefit marking the 100th birthday of W. E. B. DuBois. His speech at Carnegie Hall was his last major public address prior to his assassination in Memphis in April. © James E. Hinton / Carnegie Hall Archives
 

Pete Seeger, the champion of American folk music and social activism, appeared at Carnegie Hall more than 80 times over the course of nearly 70 years (1946–2013). From concerts with The Weavers to his iconic version of “We Shall Overcome”—the title song of his 1963 album recorded live at Carnegie Hall—Seeger directly impacted the narrative of peace and social activism in America and at Carnegie Hall. He appeared at rallies for Peace and Friendship throughout the 1960s, the 1975 rally for World Peace on the 30th Anniversary of V. E. Day, and the 1982 Rally for Peace, Disarmament, and Social Progress.



Concert flyer courtesy of Carnegie Hall Archives
 
1 year ago |
Tag
| Read Full Story

For more than 125 years, Carnegie Hall has solidified its presence as a hall intertwined with the history of our country. Opened in 1891 and funded singlehandedly by Andrew Carnegie, it instantly became a “people’s house,” where music was presented alongside civic events, rallies, organizational meetings, and other gatherings.

Carnegie, a businessman and philanthropist, lived to improve the world. He quickly rose from a $1.25-a-week job in a mill to amass business interests in steel, oil, iron, and railroads, ultimately starting a philanthropic career that spanned his lifetime and beyond. As a staunch advocate for world peace, Carnegie recognized that the greatest threat to civilization was war, so he put his fortune towards strengthening international law in order to prevent future global conflicts. In addition to supporting the founding of the Peace Palace in The Hague in 1903, he founded the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 1910. He worked tirelessly to “hasten the abolition of international war” until his death in 1919, two months after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

 









“It is built to stand for ages, and during these ages it is probable that this hall will intertwine itself with the history of our country. All good causes may find here a platform.” —Andrew Carnegie
 


It is no surprise, then, that Carnegie Hall has been host to non-musical events with various focuses, the theme closest to Carnegie’s personal pursuits being peace-related events. From President Woodrow Wilson to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pete Seeger to Andrew Carnegie himself, countless individuals have graced the Carnegie Hall stage with rhetoric and melodies of peace. Whether a conference, a lecture, a celebration, a concert, or a rally, events at Carnegie Hall have promoted peaceful relations and freedom both nationally and abroad, echoing the historical narrative of America.

Before his death, Carnegie appeared on stage at his hall at least nine times. The most significant of these appearances was April 14–17, 1907, at the National Arbitration and Peace Congress, which brought together delegates from around the world, and over which Carnegie presided. Carnegie “was the happiest of men throughout the whole period and was the presiding genius,” said Frederick Lynch. “Nowhere have his amazing versatility and his rare sense of humor been more fully revealed than in his introductions of the various speakers and in his impromptu remarks at the various sessions.”



Andrew Carnegie on the Carnegie Hall stage with French diplomat Paul-Henri-Benjamin Balluet, baron d' Estournelles de Constant during the 1907 National Arbitration and Peace Congress, which Carnegie organized and over which he presided.
Photograph taken during the National Arbitration and Peace Congress at Carnegie Hall, April 14-17, 1907, which was organized by Andrew Carnegie, and over which he presided.
 

On July 8, 1919, at Carnegie Hall, President Woodrow Wilson spoke about the Treaty of Versailles—the first public statement he gave after returning triumphantly from the Paris Peace Conference. The New York Times headline stated “President Home, Calls Peace a Just One ...” When President Wilson arrived at the 23rd Street ferry terminal, more than half a million New Yorkers lined the route up to the Hall—a distance of about two and one-half miles.



 

Carnegie Hall was also the site of countless meetings, conferences, and rallies for peace, including the 1911 International Peace and Arbitration Meeting, the 1917 Emergency Peace Federation’s Rally Against US Participation in World War I, the 1919 Peace Festival concerts, the 1923 World Peace Mass Meeting, the 1945 Rally of American Youth for a Free World, the 1949 Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace, the 1953 Armistice Day Rally, and the 1961 Conference of Greater New York Peace Groups.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the individuals most commonly associated with civil rights activism and advocacy of nonviolence in America. On February 23, 1968, Carnegie Hall hosted the W. E. B. DuBois 100th birthday celebration and benefit, where Dr. King was the keynote speaker. In his remarks that evening, he noted that, “Dr. DuBois has left us, but he has not died. The spirit of freedom is not buried in the grave of the valiant.” This marked Dr. King’s last major public address. Almost six weeks later, he was assassinated in Memphis.



Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the keynote speaker at a February 23, 1968 benefit marking the 100th birthday of W. E. B. DuBois. His speech at Carnegie Hall was his last major public address prior to his assassination in Memphis in April. © James E. Hinton / Carnegie Hall Archives
 

Pete Seeger, the champion of American folk music and social activism, appeared at Carnegie Hall more than 80 times over the course of nearly 70 years (1946–2013). From concerts with The Weavers to his iconic version of “We Shall Overcome”—the title song of his 1963 album recorded live at Carnegie Hall—Seeger directly impacted the narrative of peace and social activism in America and at Carnegie Hall. He appeared at rallies for Peace and Friendship throughout the 1960s, the 1975 rally for World Peace on the 30th Anniversary of V. E. Day, and the 1982 Rally for Peace, Disarmament, and Social Progress.



Concert flyer courtesy of Carnegie Hall Archives
 
1 year ago |
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Watch tonight’s live webcast of pianist Daniil Trifonov on medivi.tv at 8 PM (EDT). Daniil Trifonov presents a program that requires poetry and passion that only a master pianist can deliver with works by Schumann, Shostakovich, and Stravinsky.

1 year ago |
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Watch tonight’s live webcast of pianist Daniil Trifonov on medivi.tv at 8 PM (EDT). Daniil Trifonov presents a program that requires poetry and passion that only a master pianist can deliver with works by Schumann, Shostakovich, and Stravinsky.

1 year ago |
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On October 17 and 18, renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato led master classes for middle school singers participating in the Count Me In program, offering tips and encouragement for their upcoming auditions to performing arts high schools. Count Me In meets the needs of New York City middle school singers, many of whom have never studied music before and whose schools do not have established choral programs. Eighth grade students from across the city receive afterschool instruction and training in Carnegie Hall’s Resnick Education Wing. Sixty kids participated in Count Me In this year and are currently auditioning for high schools through December. We wish them the best of luck!

Two participants, Priya and Rue, describe their inspiration for singing and taking part in Count Me In:


Count Me In: Joyce and Priya Tejpal (Richard Termine)
Priya Tejpal:

“It has been my dream to be a singer my entire life. Singing gives me a way to express my emotions. I auditioned for Count Me In because I knew that it would help me become a better singer. I like the idea of working with others because I believe you can learn from other people’s experiences. I have always wanted to get into a performing arts high school and I was wondering about the process. Count Me In really helps with everything you need to know regarding the audition. Count Me In has taught me different ways of breathing, sight reading, and basic rhythm skills. Going into high school, I am looking forward to meeting other people who love music as much as I do.”


Count Me In: Joyce and Rue Hocke (Richard Termine)
Rue Hocke:

“I’ve loved music since I was pretty young, memorizing song lyrics and singing along to the music. I wanted to audition because of my love for music and because people kept telling me that I should pursue vocal music, even though I’m still not completely sure if that’s what I want to do. I came to Count Me In not just to work on auditioning skills, but to work on general vocal technique as well. So far, I’ve learned how to improve the manner in which I sing and how to properly present myself while singing.”


Photography: Richard Termine

1 year ago |
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Ensemble Connect violinist Becky Anderson describes her first experiences giving interactive performances—small, assembly-style concerts that encourage students to engage with the musicians—at local New York City public schools.


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Through my interactive performance experiences, I’ve found that elementary school kids are a dynamic combination of personality, wonder, and mildly-organized chaos. Standing in front of an auditorium filled with 100 third graders is a unique feeling. If you can keep the students’ attention, interest, and lead them on a creative journey through your presentation, you will rarely find a more curious and unabashedly excited audience for any concert. The reward is high, but the stakes are also high—the potential scene of an auditorium filled with out-of-control elementary school students is a rather terrifying prospect for most of us!

My colleagues and I worked hard over the past month to put together a presentation that felt genuine to our passion for music, while tailoring our presentation style and language to each audience age group. Rather than creating two separate presentations for our high schools and elementary schools, we found a musical concept and repertoire that we cared deeply about, and used the same general concepts and music for all of our presentations. However, our stage presence and vocabulary changed quite a bit between those different age groups! One of the surprising and delightfully fun parts of our presentations was watching each of my colleague’s high-school and elementary-school personas come out and develop over the course of our performances.

Ensemble Connect: Becky Anderson 1

I love school interactive performances because they are always surprising, and you never know quite what to expect. Despite how much you prepare, there is always an unknown element to each presentation because they involve audience participation. Learning how to field questions and comments from a group of students, and finding the delicate balance of when it’s best to go off script and improvise versus when to gently steer the audience back to main points of a planned presentation, takes real teamwork and trust between performers. During one high-school presentation, we worked a performance of “Happy Birthday” into our explanation of the term “melody,” because we found out that it was a student’s birthday a few minutes before we started. In another elementary-school performance, I had to kindly explain to a certain talkative second grader that yes, we could play “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” but we were going to move on to play some music by Brahms instead.

Interactive performances are fulfilling because they encourage a meaningful interaction between performers and the audience in a way that we hope will enhance the audience’s connection with music. As a performer, I’ve found that they enhance my connection with music, as well. These performances require me to articulate what I find most exciting and important in music, and to back up those convictions in how I perform when we are playing music during the presentation. Those reminders, and being able to interact with students that have the potential for such genuine curiosity and excitement about the music that we play, are things that I carry with me far after we finish our presentations at each school.

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—Becky Anderson

1 year ago |
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