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Benny Goodman

Clarinetist and Band Leader

Any artist’s Carnegie Hall debut is an auspicious occasion. In Benny Goodman’s case, January 16, 1938, was not only the debut of a major star, but it also marked the first time people sat in a concert hall to hear swing music rather than dance to it. Moreover, the Goodman band was one of the first racially integrated groups to perform in front of a paying audience. Following this watershed moment, Goodman returned to Carnegie Hall more than two dozen times, his final concerts taking place on June 25, 1982. Even following his death in 1986, however, Goodman influenced the history of the Hall. The donation of one of Goodman’s clarinets to the Carnegie Hall Archives in 1991 was the trigger for the creation of the Rose Museum.

“That night at Carnegie Hall was a great experience. Personally, it was the thrill of my life to walk out on that stage with people just hemming the band in and hear the greeting the guys got.”

From the Archives

Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall’s performance history database covers more than 50,000 concerts and events that occurred at Carnegie Hall from its opening in 1891 to the present. Explore events related to Benny Goodman (these links will open in a new tab with the performance history search tools):

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