It was a pivotal moment in history. Industrialization had taken hold of the United States. New York City was emerging as an international capital. And in 1891, its cultural gem—Carnegie Hall—opened its doors with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky on its stage.
On the occasion of its 120th anniversary, Carnegie Hall returns to that remarkable era throughout the 2011–2012 season. Join us as we revisit New York City in the 1890s, the music of Tchaikovsky and his influence on St. Petersburg, and a golden age in classical music—all at the frontier of a new century.
One of the most dynamic and turbulent eras in American history began in the 1890s, when New York City became the epicenter of a powerful young country. It was a city of dueling industrial titans like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick, and of fortunes made and lost. It was a city of outlaw gangs and the first settlement houses. But it was also a city where great artistic and cultural movements intersected, highlighted by the glittering opening of Carnegie Hall.
This season, Carnegie Hall partners with two of the city’s leading museums to explore that fascinating time with exhibits, lectures, and panel discussions.
The Morgan Library and Museum | New-York Historical Society
Carnegie Hall burst onto the international stage when Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky—the world's most illustrious and popular musician—stepped out to conduct at its first Opening Night in 1891. His vivid, powerful music and flowing melodies had already swept the world, leading the way for a striking new dynasty of composers that included Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich.
In our Opening Night Gala and throughout October, we appropriately focus on Tchaikovsky himself. Hear Valery Gergiev and his great Mariinsky Orchestra bring their special sound to performances of the composer's symphonies, one through six, as well as music by his remarkable successors. And delve into aspects of Tchaikovsky's influences on other St. Petersburg artists—from Balanchine to Fabergé—at our partner organizations.
The Harriman Institute at Columbia University | New York City Ballet | The New York Public Library | Musica Sacra | The School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center | Sotheby’s, Russian Art Department
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Much of the most breathtaking music this season at Carnegie Hall was created in one astonishing era—the era into which Carnegie Hall was born. From the sultry, languid impressionism of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune to the vast, brilliantly hued landscape of Scriabin’s Le poème de l’extase, a remarkable flowering of composers from around the world provided eager audiences with an unprecedented outpouring of unforgettable music. Beginning with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade of 1888 and leading up to the outbreak of World War I, this period featured music by Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, Mahler, and others at the peak of their powers. It was truly a golden age of music.
Hear glorious works written near the turn of the century by these composers throughout the season.
Anton Arensky | Béla Bartók | Johannes Brahms | Anton Bruckner | Ferruccio Busoni | Claude Debussy | Antonín Dvořák | Edward Elgar | Gustav Mahler | Carl Nielsen | Sergei Rachmaninoff | Maurice Ravel | Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov | Arnold Schoenberg | Alexander Scriabin | Jean Sibelius | Richard Strauss | Igor Stravinsky | Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky | Anton Webern | Hugo Wolf