Between performances on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Beatles made their Carnegie Hall debut on February 12, 1964. With the help from our friends at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum, we are enlisting Beatles fans from all over the world to assist Carnegie Hall’s Archives and Rose Museum Director, Gino Francesconi, in identifying the mystery lady holding what looks to be a camera from The Beatles debut concert nearly 50 years ago.
Read what Gino has to say about the photo in the interview below and join in the search to help us uncover the mystery. If you think you know who the mystery lady is, leave a message on our Facebook page.
What can you tell us about the photo?The photo comes from a booklet called The Beatles at Carnegie Hall, which documented the group’s trip to the US, but mostly focused on the two Carnegie Hall shows. It contains a number of photos of The Beatles outside the Hall, in the Hall, and rushing out of the Hall. Individual photos from the booklet have circulated for decades.
How long have you been searching for the mystery lady with what looks to be a camera?I can’t tell you how many times I looked at that photo without noticing the lady with the camera. Then one day—about 25 years ago when we were curating one of our first Carnegie Hall exhibitions—we blew up the image very large, and whoa …
I contacted Sid Bernstein, whom I had known for years from my days working backstage at the Hall. He was the man who had the idea of bringing The Beatles to the US. By the time Ed Sullivan got to them for his show, Sid had already signed them up for their US tour. I thought for sure he would know who that mysterious woman sitting in the stage seats was, since he controlled the additional seating. But he couldn’t recall other than perhaps she and her companions were friends of Mayor Robert Wagner and Governor Nelson Rockefeller.
Have you been able to find some of the other people in the audience?In 1991, I had the opportunity to ask Paul McCartney if he knew the mysterious woman on stage. Paul was here for the US premiere of his Liverpool Oratorio, but he didn’t know who she was. I didn’t think he would, but it didn’t hurt to ask. Over the years, I was in touch with several people who were at the concerts. Many saved their ticket stubs, yet no one was willing to part with them. We were contacted by one of the police officers who was on stage with the group right near that lady with the camera. He also assisted them out the backstage door.
One of our former staffers in the booking department told me she went in to the Hall to see what all the fuss was about. All she could see were the mouths of each Beatles member moving, but she couldn’t hear them because the audience was screaming so loudly. I was thrilled when we acquired the only known Carnegie Hall program (where Paul is misidentified as John McCartney!). The program book is autographed by all four members of The Beatles, so I have always been positive thinking that someday we will find the lady with the camera, or she will find us. Perhaps even someone connected to her would get in touch.
If you are able to identify the mystery lady and locate the film, what would it mean for you and the Carnegie Hall Archives?If we found her and the film exists and is viewable? Wow! Not only would we have a wonderful piece of documentation for one of Carnegie Hall’s most famous concerts, but every Beatles fan in the world would probably want to see it! We’ve searched for other items in our history that seemed impossible to find—such as a ticket from Opening Night 1891, or the silver trowel that Mrs. Carnegie used to lay the cornerstone in 1890—and we found them. So I am hopeful to find her and solve the mystery, or at least a part of it.
Leave a comment or clue on Carnegie Hall's Facebook page.
Among the many highlights of Carnegie Hall's recently announced 2014–2015 season is Before Bach, a month-long focus in April 2015 on extraordinary music written before 1685–the birth year of both Bach and Handel–and the pioneering performers who have championed its resurgence. Featured performers include some of the world's most exciting early music artists—L'Arpeggiata led by Christina Pluhar; Sir John Eliot Gardiner with the English Baroque Soloists and The Monteverdi Choir; Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec led by Bernard Labadie; viola da gamba master Jordi Savall in solo recital and as leader of Le Concert des Nations; harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout; vocal ensembles Pomerium and I Fagiolini; and renowned British vocal ensemble The Tallis Scholars with founder and director Peter Phillips.
Peter Phillips, Jordi Savall, and Sir John Eliot Gardiner introduce Before Bach.
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Hear from some of the artists featured next season, and learn more about our 2014–2015 season offerings on our YouTube channel.
French soprano Natalie Dessay makes her New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall—accompanied by pianist Philippe Cassard—on March 12, 2014. Watch as Ms. Dessay explains her philosophy of recital programming and the debt singers owe to composers.
RELATED: Natalie Dessay, soprano | Philippe Cassard, piano | March 12, 2014
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Today we announced Carnegie Hall's 2014–2015 season made up of over 170 concerts featuring a remarkable range of performances by many of the world’s greatest artists and ensembles from the worlds of classical, pop, jazz, and world music.
Among the 2014–2015 major season programming highlights is UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa, a three-week citywide festival from October 10 to November 5, 2014 and two Perspectives series of artist-curated programs by renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato and acclaimed violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. Composer Meredith Monk has been appointed to Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair for the 2014–2015 season; Ms. Monk’s season-long residency will include two concerts presented in spring 2015 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of her performing life in New York City. Also, in spring 2015, Carnegie Hall presents Before Bach, a month-long series of 13 performances showcasing many of the world’s most exciting early-music performers, focusing on music written before 1685—the birth year of both Bach and Handel.
We hope you’ll join us at Carnegie Hall and throughout New York City to experience this incredible music!
Carnegie Hall's Executive and Artistic Director, Clive Gillinson introduces Carnegie Hall's 2014–2015 season.
Pianist Emanuel Ax discusses his Brahms Then and Now project with composers Missy Mazzoli and Nico Muhly, who each contributed a new work to the project. They discuss Brahms's F-A-F motto–"Frei aber Froh" or "Free but Happy"–and how it influenced their compositions.
RELATED: Anne Sofie von Otter, Mezzo-Soprano and Emanuel Ax, Piano—Tuesday, January 28, 2014 | 8 PM
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Ensemble ACJW viola fellow John Stulz not only performs Salvatore Sciarrino's II from Tre notturni brillanti, he also created an interactive visual display for ACJW's 'From Dusk till Dawn' program on June 10, 2013 at Galapagos Art Space.
Hear Ensemble ACJW tomorrow night at Subculture when they perform, among other great works, two world premiere performances and new arrangements by the fellows, themselves.
Learn more about Ensemble ACJW and watch more Ensemble ACJW videos on our YouTube channel.
Pianist Lang Lang performs works by Mozart and Chopin in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage on February 4. Hear him discuss his history with Carnegie Hall, his first audition at the Hall and how it became his "lucky place".
Tune in and join us on Saturday, January 18 live from Carnegie Hall. Hailed for their unique ability to capture all of the textural elements of Bartók's string quartets, the program features the Takács Quartet performing the composer's String Quartet Nos. 1, 3 and 5. The concert is part of our Carnegie Hall Live series, a partnership with WQXR and American Public Media.
Get a head start and read the program notes here.Tune in at 8 PM and join the conversation.
·· Edward Dusinberre, Violin
·· Károly Schranz, Violin
·· Geraldine Walther, Viola
·· András Fejér, Cello
String Quartet No. 1
String Quartet No. 3
String Quartet No. 5
This week's Vienna: City of Dreams video features Alban Berg's Lyric Suite, his six-movement work for string quartet, one of many great works to be performed during the three-week city-wide festival beginning in February. Explore more videos, and additional information about the composers and compositions on our festival site.
Carnegie Hall's Director of Artistic Planning, Jeremy Geffen discusses the ways in which Berg's Lyric Suite is a reflection of the cultural and artistic movements of 1920s Vienna.
Related: Hugo Wolf Quartet performs Berg's Lyric Suite on March 14.
One of today's most talented Greek singers, Eleftheria Arvanitaki has a unique gift for combining folk and contemporary Greek music with a clarity and emotional depth that registers with anyone who hears it. On February 1, Ms. Arvanitaki performs in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage collaborating with an outstanding group of Greek musicians to achieve their unique rebitiko sound.
Rebetiko has its origins in an oral tradition where improvisation played an important role in both the music and lyrics. The music often features a rough, almost raw sounding vocal performance which reflects the musical tradition born during turbulent times in the large ports in and around Greece—specifically the resettlement of over a million Greeks refugees from Asia Minor in the 1920s—as well as the realities found in Greek underground culture and shanty towns that grew up around Athens, Piraeus and other cities. These refugees brought their music with them, and it had a prominent effect on the urban music of Greece. The songs explore the collective human experiences with themes of pain, nostalgia, tenderness, death and love. Arvanitaki’s voice and musical style has been shaped by the living tradition of rebetiko as she takes the intense emotions found in the rhythms from the Mediterranean and the Oriental worlds and fuses them with the rhythms existing in the dances of the traditional Greek feasts (or glentia).
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