• Tuesday, Jun 25, 2013

    Carnegie Hall Introduces New Online Performance History Search as Part of Digital Archives Project

    Searchable Online Database Currently Includes Records From the First 50 Years of the Hall’s History, 1891–1941, Made Directly Available to the Public for the First Time 

    What did Arturo Toscanini, Woodrow Wilson, Martha Graham, and Albert Einstein have in common? They all appeared at Carnegie Hall. Now, as part of the Hall’s ongoing Digital Archives Project, the public can uncover this information and discover a whole lot more, thanks to a new online performance history search feature recently added to the “History” section of Carnegie Hall’s website. This new addition makes a large portion of the Hall’s performance history database directly available to the public for the first time.

    By visiting carnegiehall.org/history, the public can now access records spanning the period from 1891 through 1941, covering more than 12,500 events, both musical and non-musical, all drawing upon Carnegie Hall’s illustrious history filled with appearances by leading musicians, notable performers, and world figures. Searches can be made by keyword, composer, work, performer, date, or date range. Results can be filtered by venue and genre, and search results can be saved or shared through a link or exported to a PDF.

    Which of his own works did John Philip Sousa conduct at his Carnegie Hall debut concert? “Sheridan’s Ride,” on January 23, 1893. What was the occasion for Andrew Carnegie’s first speech at his namesake hall? A memorial for writer Robert Louis Stevenson on January 4, 1895. Alongside the many important musical performances for which Carnegie Hall is known, non-musical events in the Hall’s early history were lectures, films, civic meetings, debates, rallies, dramatic readings, and so many other things that informed and entertained Americans before the rise of radio and the birth of television, offering a unique view of American history.

    Additional data from this exhaustively-researched database will be released in installments on a regular basis, and information on events from 1941 to the present is expected to be available within the next year. In total, Carnegie Hall’s database has information on nearly 50,000 events, including performances of classical, jazz, pop, and world music, featuring more than 88,000 artists and more than 80,000 musical works.

    About Carnegie Hall’s Archives
    The Carnegie Hall Archives was established in 1986. Since no central repository existed prior to that time, a significant portion of the Hall’s documented history had been lost, discarded, or otherwise forgotten. Over the last twenty-five years, Carnegie Hall’s Archives team, led by Director Gino Francesconi, has painstakingly re-constructed the Hall’s history, collecting more than 300,000 items and information related to close to 50,000 performances and events in its three concert halls; construction of the building and its subsequent alterations; and the many notable artists, world figures, and personalities who have graced the Hall’s stages.

    Today, the Archives is the permanent and official repository for Carnegie Hall’s historical collections including more than 120 years of concert programs; promotional flyers; select audio, video, and film recordings; photographs; autographs; musical manuscripts; correspondence and business records; architectural drawings; objects, and other materials that provide rich detail of the origin, history, activities, and growth of Carnegie Hall. Some of these items have been put on display to concertgoers and the public in Carnegie Hall’s Rose Museum, opened in 1991 and funded by the Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation.

    In 2012, the Archives embarked on an exciting new chapter with the start of its Digital Archives Project. This multi-year initiative will enable Carnegie Hall to preserve and digitize most of its historic materials—many of which are now available only on paper or in media formats likely to become obsolete—ensuring that the Hall’s legacy is preserved for future generations. The project will also eventually create a dynamic digital repository designed to house digital legacy collections and to capture new content and materials developed by Carnegie Hall in support of its artistic and educational initiatives. As a result, historic materials will be made accessible to the public and researchers in a much greater way—both on-site at Carnegie Hall and online via carnegiehall.org—in support of the Hall’s mission, serving the widest possible audience.

    Lead support for the digitization of Carnegie Hall Archives has been provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and by the Susan and Elihu Rose Foundation.

    For more information about Carnegie Hall, visit carnegiehall.org.

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