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2 months ago | |
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It’s been years in the making—125 to be exact—but our anniversary season is here, and if you want music-making that excites your imagination and touches you at the very deepest levels, this is where you will want to be.

We have a season of breathtaking programming. Some of the highlights include the complete Beethoven symphonies performed by Sir Simon Rattle and the legendary Berliner Philharmoniker; pianist Evgeny Kissin in five separate performances, including his acclaimed program of Russian-Jewish music and poetry; and iconic country singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash exploring the inexhaustible deep roots of American popular music. That’s only a small glimpse of the 2015–2016 season as you will see in Clive Gillinson's introduction below.

2 months ago | |
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While much of the Northeast retreats from a potentially historical snow storm, why not pass the time with a winter-themed playlist? Stay warm and stay safe!

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“Civil Words” is a song cycle of text derived from the Civil War. They are, however, universal texts that are applicable to any conflict, and a reminder that the basic elements of war do not change with time.

The cycle begins with a mother sending a child off to war and ends with a father's discovery of a son, long gone. In between are the stories of a soldier's death, a leader's hopes, and the marking of great loss.

In order to represent the universal effects of war, I set poems by men and women, about life and death, and from the famous to the unknown. "Civil Words" is dedicated, with great admiration and appreciation, to Thomas Hampson.

—Jennifer Higdon

The world premiere will be given by baritone Thomas Hampson and pianist Wolfram Rieger on February 9, 2015. Get an early glimpse of the text below.

“Civil Words”
Jennifer Higdon (b. 1962)

Enlisted Today

civil war enlist
Civil War recruitment poster.

I know the sun shines, and the lilacs are blowing,
And the summer sends kisses by beautiful May —
Oh! to see all the treasures the spring is bestowing,
And think my boy Willie enlisted today.

It seems but a day since at twilight, low humming,
I rocked him to sleep with his cheek upon mine,
While Robby, the four-year old, watched for the coming
Of father, adown the street's indistinct line.

It is many a year since my Harry departed,
To come back no more in the twilight or dawn:
And Robby grew weary of watching, and started
Alone on the journey his father had gone.

It is many a year — and this afternoon sitting
At Robby's old window, I heard the band play,
And suddenly ceased dreaming over my knitting,
To recollect Willie is twenty today.

And that, standing beside him this soft May-day morning,
And the sun making gold of his wreathed cigar smoke,
I saw in his sweet eyes and lips a faint warning,
And choked down the tears when he eagerly spoke:

"Dear mother, you know how these Northmen are crowing,
They would trample the rights of the South in the dust,
The boys are all fire; and they wish I were going —"
He stopped, but his eyes said. "Oh, say if I must!"

I smiled on the boy, though my heart it seemed breaking,
My eyes filled with tears, so I turned them away,
And answered him, "Willie, 'tis well you are waking —
Go, act as your father would bid you, today!"

I sit in the window, and see the flags flying,
And drearily list to the roll of the drum,
And smother the pain in my heart that is lying
And bid all the fears in my bosom be dumb.

And if he should fall —his young life he has given
For freedom's sweet sake; and for me, I will pray
Once more with my Harry and Robby in Heaven
To meet the dear boy that enlisted today.

All Quiet (from “All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight”)
Thaddeus Oliver

"All quiet along the Potomac to-night!"
Except now and then a stray picket
Is shot as he walks on his beat, to and fro,
By a rifleman hid in the thicket.

'Tis nothing! A private or two now and then
Will not count in the news of the battle;
Not an officer lost! Only one of the men
Moaning out all alone, the death rattle.

All quiet along the Potomac to-night!
Where the soldiers lie peacefully dreaming;
And their tents in the rays of the clear autumn moon,
And the light of their camp-fires are gleaming.

Civil War Potomac
Union soldiers guarding the Potomac River in 1861.

A tremulous sigh, as a gentle night-wind
Through the forest leaves slowly is creeping;
While the stars up above, with their glittering eyes,
Keep guard o’er the army while sleeping.

There's only the sound of the line sentry's tread,
As he tramps from the rock to the fountain,
And thinks of the two in the low trundle bed,
Far away, in the cot on the mountain.

His musket falls slack, and his face, dark and grim,
Grows gentle with memories tender,
As he mutters a prayer for the children asleep,
And their mother – “may heaven defend her!”

The moon seems to shine just as brightly as then -
That night when the love, yet unspoken,
Leaped up to his lips, and when low-murmured vows
Were pledged to be ever unbroken.

Then drawing his sleeve roughly over his eyes,
He dashes off tears that are welling;
And gathers his gun closer up to his breast,
As if to keep down the heart’s swelling.

He passes the fountain, the blasted pine-tree,
The footstep is lagging and weary;
Yet onward he goes, through the broad belt of light,
Towards the shades of the forest so dreary.

Hark! Was it the night wind that rustled the leaves?
Was it moonlight so wondrously flashing?
It looks like a rifle: "Ah! Mary, good-bye!"
And the life-blood is ebbing and splashing.

“All quiet along the Potomac to-night!”
No sound save the rush of the river;
While soft falls the dew on the face of the dead,
And the picket's off duty forever!

Lincoln’s Final (from the 2nd Inagugural Address)
Abraham Lincoln

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty
scourge of war may speedily pass away.

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness
In the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on
to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds;
to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his
widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and
cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with
all nations.

civil war lincoln
Final portrait of Abraham Lincoln taken on April 10, 1865.  

The Death of Lincoln
William Cullen Bryant

Oh, slow to smite and swift to spare,
Gentle and merciful and just!
Who, in the fear of God, didst bear
The sword of power, a nation’s trust!

In sorrow by thy bier we stand,
Amid the awe that hushes all,
And speak the anguish of a land
That shook with horror at thy fall.

Thy task is done; the bond are free:
We bear thee to an honored grave,
Whose proudest monument shall be
The broken fetters of the slave.

Pure was thy life; its bloody close
Hath placed thee with the sons of light,
Among the noble host of those
Who perished in the cause of Right.

Driving Home (from “Driving Home the Cows”)
Kate Putman Osgood

Out of the clover and blue-eyed grass
He turned them into the river-lane;
One after another he let them pass,
Then fastened the meadow bars again.

Under the willows, and over the hill,
He patiently followed their sober pace;
The merry whistle for once was still,
And something shadowed the sunny face.

Only a boy! and his father had said
He never could let his youngest go:
Two already were lying dead
Under the feet of the trampling foe.

civil war drummer boy
Drummer boys of the 93rd Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry.

But after the evening work was done,
And the frogs were loud in the meadow swamp,
Over his shoulder he slung his gun,
And stealthily followed the footpath damp.

Across the clover and through the wheat,
With resolute heart and purpose grim,
Though cold was the dew on his hurrying feet,
And the blind bat’s flitting startled him.

Thrice since then had the lanes been white,
And the orchards sweet with apple-bloom;
And now, when the cows came back at night,
The feeble father drove them home.

For news had come to the lonely farm
That three were lying where two had lain;
And the old man’s tremulous, palsied arm
Could never lean on a son’s again.

The summer day grew cool and late.
He went for the cows when the work was done;
But down the lane, as he opened the gate,
He saw them coming one by one,

Brindle, Ebony, Speckle, and Bess,
Shaking their horns in the evening wind;
Cropping the buttercups out of the grass,
But who was it following close behind?

Loosely swung in the idle air
The empty sleeve of army blue;
And worn and pale, from the crisping hair,
Looked out a face that the father knew.

For the Southern prisons will sometimes yawn,
And yield their dead unto life again;
And the day that comes with a cloudy dawn
In golden glory at last may wane.

The great tears sprang to their meeting eyes;
For the heart must speak when the lips are dumb:
And under the silent evening skies
Together they followed the cattle home.

Thomas Hampson
Monday, February 9 at 8 PM
Thomas Hampson
Wolfram Rieger

“Hampson has the extraordinary capacity to capture the poetic essence of a song and convey it directly to the listener’s mind and heart,” wrote The Washington Post of baritone Thomas Hampson. He brings his remarkable vocal gifts to Carnegie Hall in a not-to-be-missed recital.

2 months ago | |
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The 33 city-owned cultural institutions, known as members of the Cultural Institutions Group, are all incentivizing participation in IDNYC by offering IDNYC cardholders free one-year memberships. IDNYC cardholders can sign up for a one-year Carnegie Hall Friends membership.

As a Friends member, you will receive the following benefits:
  • Four complimentary rehearsal passes
  • Early access to the best seats available
  • Half-price ticket offers on select Carnegie Hall presentations
  • Invitations to cocktail parties, discussions, and member appreciation events
  • Subscription to C Notes benefits guide
  • Keynotes monthly e-mail membership guide
  • Discounts at nearby restaurants, parking garages, shops, hotels, and more with your membership card
You can apply in one of the following ways:
  • Visit our Box Office at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue (Monday–Saturday, 11 AM–6 PM; Sunday, 12 PM–6 PM*)
  • Call CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 from 8 AM–8 PM, seven days a week
  • Download application form; complete and return to us with a copy of your IDNYC card using one of the verification methods listed below.
  • Send a copy, scan, or photo of your IDNYC card, with your Carnegie Hall account number clearly indicated, using one of the verification methods listed below. To get your account number, sign in to your existing Carnegie Hall account or create an account. Locate your account number under “My Account” at the top of the screen.
IDNYC Verification Methods

If you do not submit your application in person, you must provide a copy, scan, or photo of your IDNYC card for verification before your membership can be activated. You can do this in the following ways:

  • E-Mail:
  • Fax: 212-903-9825
  • Mail: Carnegie Hall Friends, 881 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019 ATTN: IDNYC

Once your application is approved, you will receive a welcome packet in the mail within approximately two to three weeks. Your membership will be valid for one year from the date your application is processed.

*On days with evening performances, the Box Office is open until 30 minutes after the start time.

Visit for more information.

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Many of us remember that one teacher who helped shape our sense of what is possible through music. While their classrooms can be havens for creative young people—and a school’s band, orchestra, or choir can provide the soundtrack for an entire community’s experience—music teachers often struggle to maintain their relevance and continue their own personal growth in today’s educational landscape.

MEW in Weill Music Room 1 (Richard Termine)

Enter the Music Educators Workshop, a two-year-old program of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute that serves 50 ensemble directors who will collectively work with 8,000 middle and high school students throughout New York City this season. Over the course of 10 workshops from September to May, these educators come together to learn from each other and from top-notch guest faculty, to attend concerts at Carnegie Hall, and to explore their important role as instigators of creativity and musicality. “Working with teachers is one of the most important things that WMI can contribute to the field of music education,” said WMI Director Sarah Johnson. “We are investing in professionals who are serving communities year after year, ultimately touching the lives of thousands of children.”

Through WMI’s workshop, teachers investigate several core strategies for teaching music skills, learn about choosing the best repertoire for their ensemble, discuss how to program inspiring and successful concerts, develop creative composition activities for their classrooms, and observe visiting faculty working with student ensembles.

“Teachers need to be brave, not fear failure, be curious about results, and enjoy the whole process—to model that priority for their students.”

The season kicked off with an inspiring conversation led by thinker, writer, and teaching artist Eric Booth, who encouraged teachers to take seriously their challenge to think and act creatively in every aspect of their work with young musicians. “Teachers need to be brave, not fear failure, be curious about results, and enjoy the whole process—to model that priority for their students,” he said.

The workshop continued in October with a two-day retreat with artist-educators Margaret Jenks and Randal Swiggum, who, for the second year in a row, shared their approach to shaping young musicians as developed through the Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance Project (CMP). This model, developed by educators in Wisconsin, focuses on identifying rich ensemble repertoire and setting specific goals for student learning, directly addressing many of the needs that participating educators articulated in their hopes and goals for the workshop.

MEW in Weill Music Room 2 (Richard Termine)

“The antidote to teacher burnout is the knowledge that one has the support of a learning community and the tools necessary to make a positive change in personal practice,” said Ms. Jenks, explaining her enthusiasm about the Music Educators Workshop. “The idea that there is always a way to become even more masterful at the craft of teaching—no matter how successful one is—is what sustains an educator.” For Josh Paris, a music teacher and bassist from NYC iSchool in Manhattan, “the CMP workshop was one of the most inspiring and practical workshops that I have ever attended. I was able to implement their ideas in my classroom the very next day and felt a surge of energy go back into my teaching.”

Building on the strength of local ensemble directors’ experiences with the Music Educators Workshop, the Weill Music Institute will launch a Summer Music Educators Workshop in July 2015 for educators in the tri-state area. Over the course of four days, educators will have opportunities to engage in dialogue about best practices for ensemble directors. Carnegie Hall is excited to continue supporting young musicians’ first glimpses at the creative possibilities of music through the eyes of their teachers.

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In May 1938, Prokofiev was approached by the great Russian director Sergei Eisenstein, who proposed they collaborate on a film about the 13th-century military hero Alexander Nevsky. The result is one of the rare occasions when a great film not only boasts a great score, but is made infinitely more powerful and meaningful by that score. Although Eisenstein and Prokofiev later collaborated on Ivan the Terrible, Alexander Nevsky that remains their greatest achievement, and it is still unrivalled in the brilliance of its linking music and film.

The vivid, almost visual impact of the film music Alexander Nevsky is due in no small part to way it was composed. Few, if any, films have ever relied so heavily on music to provide meaning and dimension to the images on the screen. In every scored sequence in the film, background noise and dialogue drops out almost entirely, leaving the music alone to connect and propel the story. In some sequences, such as the opening prologue and the moments before the battle on the ice, the film becomes a series of nearly static images—almost like still photographs.

Prokofiev’s music mirrors and adds emotional weight to those images with no other support. For example, as the Russian soldiers wait in stillness and silence for the coming German attack at the climax of the film, Prokofiev’s music employs a series of quiet, static chords in the brass, followed by whirl of woodwinds that subliminally evoke the feel of the frozen lake on which they stand and the cold wind that rises occasionally. There is no sound of wind in the movie (it was actually filmed at the height of summer), but it’s there in the music.

In some of the images, even the clouds display patterns echoed in the music. This is in no way traditional Hollywood “mickey-mousing,” where music playfully follows the exact action on the screen. Rather it is a breath-taking synthesis of sound and image, each of equal importance to the artistic goal. This is what the director Serge Eisenstein sought in his collaboration with Prokofiev, sometimes shooting film to match the music. Rising to the demands of such a visionary artist, Prokofiev wrote a score which he knew could stand alone as well in the concert hall.

Riccardo Muti
Sunday, February 1 at 2 PM
Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Riccardo Muti conducts Scriabin’s Symphony No. 1, a passionate ode to art—the composer’s first major orchestral work. Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, a cantata drawn from his complete score to Eisenstein’s classic film, comprises music accompanying some of the film’s most memorable scenes, including the grim chant of invading Teutonic knights, the Russian people’s rousing exhortation to battle, a heartfelt lament, and the Battle on the Ice—one of the greatest fusions of image and music ever made.

2 months ago | |
| Read Full Story continues its Carnegie Hall lineup in 2015, bringing the venue’s first live orchestral webcast–free of charge–to a worldwide audience on Wednesday, January 28. This historic transmission will capture music director Valery Gergiev leading the Mariinsky Orchestra in an all-Russian program that pairs two 20th-century classics–Prokofiev’s wartime Fifth Symphony (1944) and Rodion Shchedrin’s First Concerto for Orchestra, “Naughty Limericks” (1963)–with Tchaikovsky’s rarely-performed Second Piano Concerto, featuring Denis Matsuev as soloist. The concert marks’s fifth free webcast from Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage.

The partnership between Carnegie Hall and made live webcasts of Carnegie Hall concerts available for the first time in November and December of 2014, showcasing performances by some of the world’s most celebrated artists: Joyce Didonato, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Leonidas Kavakos and Yuja Wang, and Daniil Trifonov. These webcasts were rapturously received, reaching 950,000 video views since November 4, which marks a new record. Some 90,000 connections were hit during the live broadcasts, representing an average of nearly 23,000 per live concert. Half of these viewers watched the webcasts on their mobiles and tablets, using the app. All told, audience members originated from 7,000 different cities and 170 different countries.

Following the free live webcasts, replay of the Carnegie Hall concerts is available at no charge to online audiences on for an additional 90 days, playable worldwide on all internet-enabled devices, including smart phones, tablets, computers, Chromecast, and smart TVs.

Live webcast:

Wednesday, Jan 28 at 8 PM (EST)


Mariinsky Orchestra
Valery Gergiev, Music Director and Conductor
Denis Matsuev, Piano


SHCHEDRIN Concerto for Orchestra No. 1, "Naughty Limericks"
TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 2
PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 5

This webcast is made in partnership with AVC Charity Foundation.

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Our Musical Explorers teachers kicked off the New Year with their second semester of the program! During our mid-year professional development workshops, we gave them a taste of the music genres that their students will hear during our concerts in May.

This semester, we learn about three different genres of music that can be heard in New York City: Mexican music, classical music, and Yiddish folk music. Here’s a video of our Musical Explorers artist Yale with his band mate and wife Elizabeth sharing about the origins of Yiddish folk music and its role in shaping New York City, plus some of their favorite places to experience Yiddish culture.

Yale, Yiddish Folk Music


Click here for the complete roster of 2014–2015 Musical Explorers artists, and do some exploring of your own.

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The National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) is headed overseas to China this summer on a nine-concert tour that begins in New York. The ensemble, created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, annually brings together some of the most talented young musicians in the US, ages 16–19, to train and perform at the highest level with leading conductors and orchestra musicians while serving as cultural ambassadors for their country.

NYO-USA will perform nine concerts from July 10–26, beginning with a July 10 concert at Purchase College, SUNY, in Purchase, NY (where the group is in residence for two weeks leading up to the tour) and July 11 at Carnegie Hall. The musicians then fly to Beijing for a performance at the capital city’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, before traveling to other top concert halls in several different regions of China. This historic first visit to Asia by NYO-USA follows acclaimed inaugural year performances in Washington DC, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and London in 2013 and a coast-to-coast US tour in 2014.

2015 Tour Dates and Locations
July 10 Purchase, NY Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State University of New York
July 11 New York, NY Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
July 15 Beijing National Centre for the Performing Arts
July 17 Shanghai Shanghai Oriental Art Center
July 19 Suzhou Suzhou Cultural and Arts Centre
July 21 Xi’an Xi’an Concert Hall
July 23 Shenzhen Shenzhen Concert Hall
July 24 Guangzhou Xinghai Concert Hall
July 26 Hong Kong Hong Kong Cultural Centre


Charles Dutoit, Conductor Laureate of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Artistic Director of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, leads NYO-USA this summer. The orchestra’s concert program will include the premiere of a new work from award-winning Chinese composer Tan Dun, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for NYO-USA, as well as Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”) with guest soloist YUNDI; and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.

<NYO 2015 China Tour Photo 2>Photo by Chris Lee

NYO-USA’s tour activities will allow America’s finest young musicians to share their artistry with Chinese audiences while also experiencing the richness of China’s culture and history firsthand. As part of their travel schedule, the NYO-USA players will have the chance to tour the cities in which they perform as well as opportunities to interact with local young musicians and participate in informal community performances at stops along the way.

The orchestra’s visit has been designated by the respective countries as one of only four Cultural Pillars of the Consultation on People to People Exchange (CPE) between the USA and China; the Cultural Pillars receive this designation to enhance and strengthen ties between citizens of the US and the People’s Republic of China through culture.

“We are very proud of how the National Youth Orchestra of the USA program continues to grow and develop, showcasing the incredible depth of talent and high level of musicianship found in young musicians from across the US,” said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director. “We expect the orchestra’s first tour to China to be a tremendous opportunity for musical and cultural discovery for everyone involved. The arts and culture allow us to make links between people that can’t be made in any other way.”

NYO-USA’s roster for summer 2015 will be announced in early March 2015. The orchestra’s concert at Carnegie Hall on July 11 will be heard worldwide via the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast and digital streaming series, created in partnership with WQXR and distributed nationally by WFMT Radio Network. Tickets for the Carnegie Hall performance are on sale now. Prior to the Carnegie Hall date, NYO-USA’s first concert will take place in the Concert Hall at The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College on July 10. Tickets are available by calling 914-251-6200 or visiting The Performing Arts Center’s website at

For more information about NYO-USA, visit

3 months ago | |
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