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Timeline

Explore key dates in Carnegie Hall’s history. For more detailed history, download Carnegie Hall Then and Now (PDF).

1800s

1887

Andrew Carnegie meets Walter Damrosch
Andrew Carnegie expresses interest in backing the construction of a new concert hall for New York City.

1889

Carnegie organizes the Music Hall Company of New York
Andrew Carnegie organizes the Music Hall Company of New York.

1890

The cornerstone is cemented into place
The cornerstone of the new music hall is ceremonially cemented into place.

1891

Andrew Carnegie’s new Music Hall opens
Andrew Carnegie’s new Music Hall opens with a five-day music festival beginning on May 5.

Polish pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski makes his US debut
Polish pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski makes his US debut at Carnegie Hall on November 17.

Walter Damrosch leads Carnegie Hall’s first children’s concert
Walter Damrosch leads the New York Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall’s first children’s concert on December 30.

1892

Sissieretta Jones performs
On June 15, soprano Sissieretta Jones performs in the lower-level Recital Hall (today’s Zankel Hall).

The Urania Astronomical Society of Berlin presents lectures
The Urania Astronomical Society of Berlin presents scientific lectures and demonstrations that run for nearly 100 performances at Carnegie Hall in 1892 and 1893.

1893

Adelina Patti makes her Carnegie Hall debut
Adelina Patti, one of the most celebrated sopranos of the mid-19th century, makes her Carnegie Hall debut on November 18.

1893

Dvořák’s New World Symphony is given its first hearing
Dvořák’s New World Symphony is given its first hearing on a “public rehearsal” on December 15.

“March King” John Philip Sousa's Carnegie Hall debut
“March King” John Philip Sousa leads his Grand Concert Band in his Carnegie Hall debut on January 23.

The Music Hall becomes Carnegie Hall
The board of the Music Hall Company persuades Andrew Carnegie to allow the use of the name “Carnegie Hall.”

1894

Eugène Ysaÿe makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Violin virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe makes his Carnegie Hall debut on November 16.

Nellie Melba makes her Carnegie Hall debut
Australian soprano Nellie Melba makes her Carnegie Hall debut on April 23.

The original building is altered
The original building is altered through the first of two additions of artists’ studios, which are intended to provide extra income for the building.

1896

A second round of additions
The Music Hall board announces a second round of additions to the building.

1896

Booker T. Washington and President Grover Cleveland speak
Educator, author and civic leader Booker T. Washington speaks at a Presbyterian Home Missions Rally on March 3, sharing the stage with President Grover Cleveland.

1898

Josef Hofmann makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Pianist Josef Hofmann makes his Carnegie Hall debut on March 3.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra makes its Carnegie Hall debut
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra makes its Carnegie Hall debut on March 7.

1900s

1900

Fritz Kreisler makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Violinist Fritz Kreisler makes his Carnegie Hall debut on December 7, with the New York Philharmonic, Emil Paur, conductor.

1901

Winston Churchill gives a lecture on the Boer War
26-year-old Winston Churchill gives a lecture on the Boer War on January 31 entitled “The War as I Saw It.”

1902

The Kneisel Quartet presents a full program in the main auditorium
On February 23, the Kneisel Quartet becomes the first string quartet to present a full program in Carnegie Hall’s main auditorium.

1904

Pablo Casals makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Cellist Pablo Casals makes his Carnegie Hall debut on February 15.

Strauss conducts the world premiere of Symphonia Domestica
On March 21, Richard Strauss conducts the world premiere of his Symphonia Domestica on the fifth of seven Carnegie Hall appearances.

1906

Arthur Rubinstein makes his US debut
Pianist Arthur Rubinstein makes his US debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra on January 8.

Camille Saint-Saëns plays the organ on his Symphony No. 3
Camille Saint-Saëns plays the organ on his Symphony No. 3.

Maud Powell gives the US premiere of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto
Violinist Maud Powell gives the US premiere of Jean Sibelius’s Violin Concerto on November 30.

1908

The US Premiere of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection”
Gustav Mahler conducts the New York Symphony Orchestra and the Oratorio Society of New York in the US Premiere of his Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection” on December 8.

The US premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
The US premiere of Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin is given in concert form on February 1.

Women’s suffrage leaders speak at Carnegie Hall
Women’s suffrage leaders Carrie Chapman Catt and Ethel Snowden speak at Carnegie Hall at a “Woman Suffrage Mass Meeting” on December 4.

1909

Sergei Rachmaninoff makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff makes his Carnegie Hall debut on November 13.

1910s

1911

John McCormack makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Tenor John McCormack makes his Carnegie Hall debut on February 26.

1912

James Reese Europe and his Clef Club Orchestra perform
James Reese Europe and his Clef Club Orchestra bring jazz in its earliest form to Carnegie Hall with a “Concert of Negro Music.”

Theodore Roosevelt speaks at Carnegie Hall
During his unsuccessful campaign to regain the US presidency, Theodore Roosevelt speaks at Carnegie Hall on March 20.

1913

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen speaks at Carnegie Hall
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who led the first successful expedition to the South Pole.

1914

Leopold Stokowski makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Leopold Stokowski makes his Carnegie Hall debut on January 21.

1917

Jascha Heifetz makes his American debut
The 16-year-old violinist Jascha Heifetz makes his heralded American debut at Carnegie Hall on October 27.

Jeanette Rankin speaks at Carnegie Hall
Jeanette Rankin, the first woman member of Congress, speaks at Carnegie Hall on March 2.

1918

Enrico Caruso makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Legendary tenor Enrico Caruso makes his Carnegie Hall debut on April 30.

Sergei Prokofiev conducts the US Premiere of his First Symphony
On December 11, composer Sergei Prokofiev conducts the US Premiere of his First Symphony.

1919

Andrew Carnegie dies
Andrew Carnegie dies on August 11. Majority ownership of Carnegie Hall passes to his widow, Louise.

President Woodrow Wilson speaks
On July 8 at Carnegie Hall, President Woodrow Wilson gives his first report regarding the Treaty of Versailles.

1920s

1920

Carnegie Hall’s exterior masonry steps are removed
When the city decides to widen 57th Street due to increased vehicular and retail traffic, Carnegie Hall’s exterior masonry steps are removed.

1921

Charlie Chaplin presents the world premiere of his film The Kid
Charlie Chaplin presents the world premiere of his film The Kid on January 21.

1921

Gustav Holst’s The Planets is given its New York premiere
Gustav Holst’s The Planets is given its New York premiere on December 29.

"The Open Door" A Negro Pageant is presented at Carnegie Hall
"The Open Door" A Negro Pageant with Music, Symbolic of the History of the Negro Race is presented at Carnegie Hall on November 22.

1924

Henry Cowell gives a recital of his own compositions
Maverick composer and pianist Henry Cowell gives a recital of his own compositions on February 4.

1925

George Gershwin premieres his Concerto in F
George Gershwin performs the world premiere of his own Concerto in F.

Igor Stravinsky makes his US debut
Igor Stravinsky makes his US debut conducting the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall on January 8.

Mrs. Carnegie sells Carnegie Hall
Mrs. Carnegie sells Carnegie Hall to real estate developer Robert E. Simon.

1927

Béla Bartók makes his US debut
Composer Béla Bartók makes his US debut on December 22.

George Antheil presents the US premiere of Ballet mécanique
Composer George Antheil, the self-styled “bad boy of music,” presents the US premiere of his Ballet mécanique on April 10.

Yehudi Menuhin makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Eleven-year old violinist Yehudi Menuhin makes his Carnegie Hall debut on November 25.

1928

Léon Theremin presents a concert of his “Music from the Ether”
Léon Theremin presents a concert of his “Music from the Ether” on February 14.

Marian Anderson makes her Carnegie Hall recital debut
Contralto Marian Anderson makes her Carnegie Hall recital debut on December 30.

The American Symphonic Ensemble performs
The American Symphonic Ensemble, the first "conductorless" ensemble in the US, performs on November 3.

Vladimir Horowitz and Sir Thomas Beecham make their US debuts
Pianist Vladimir Horowitz and conductor Sir Thomas Beecham make their US debuts with the New York Philharmonic on January 12.

1929

Paul Robeson makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Paul Robeson makes his Carnegie Hall debut on November 5.

1930s

1930

The US premiere of Alban Berg’s Three Fragments from Wozzeck
Erich Kleiber conducts the U.S. premiere of Alban Berg’s Three Fragments from Wozzeck on October 16.

1934

Albert Einstein is honored at Carnegie Hall
Albert Einstein is honored at Carnegie Hall on April 1.

1935

Antonia Brico makes her Carnegie Hall debut
Conductor Antonia Brico makes her Carnegie Hall debut on November 12.

1936

Artur Schnabel performs all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas
Artur Schnabel performs all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas in a series of seven concerts between January 15 and February 26.

Arturo Toscanini gives his farewell concert
Conductor Arturo Toscanini gives his farewell concert as director of the New York Philharmonic on April 29.

World premiere of Varèse’s Density 21.5
Flutist Georges Barrère gives the world premiere of Edgard Varèse’s Density 21.5 on February 16.

1937

Ernest Hemingway speaks at the American Writers Congress
Author Ernest Hemingway speaks at the American Writers Congress at Carnegie Hall on June 4.

US premiere of Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta
Conductor John Barbirolli and the New York Philharmonic give the US premiere of Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta at Carnegie Hall on October 28.

1938

Benny Goodman and his orchestra make their Carnegie Hall debut
Benny Goodman and his orchestra make their Carnegie Hall debut on January 16.

From Spirituals to Swing
On December 23, producer John Hammond assembles an extraordinary cast of more than 40 performers for a concert called From Spirituals to Swing.

1939

Saxophonist Sigurd Rascher performs
On November 11, Sigurd Rascher gives the New York premiere of Jacques Ibert’s Concertino da Camera.

1940s

1943

Duke Ellington and his Orchestra perform at Carnegie Hall
Duke Ellington and his Orchestra perform at Carnegie Hall for the first time on January 23.

Isaac Stern makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Isaac Stern makes his Carnegie Hall recital debut on January 8, beginning his nearly 60-year relationship with the Hall.

Leonard Bernstein makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Leonard Bernstein makes his Carnegie Hall debut on November 14

1946

Andrés Segovia makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Guitarist Andrés Segovia makes his Carnegie Hall debut on January 13.

World premiere of Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto
Clarinetist Woody Herman and His Orchestra give the world premiere of Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto on March 25.

1947

Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Ella Fitzgerald make their debuts
On September 29, bebop comes to Carnegie Hall for the first time when Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Ella Fitzgerald all make their Carnegie Hall debuts.

Ernest Tubb and stars from the Grand Ole Opry perform
Ernest Tubb and stars from the Grand Ole Opry present the first program of country music at Carnegie Hall on September 18.

Louis Armstrong performs
Louis Armstrong makes his Carnegie Hall debut as a headliner on February 8.

Renovations and improvements
Robert Simon Jr., president of Carnegie Hall, Inc., authorizes the expenditure of more than $75,000 in renovations and improvements.

1948

Billie Holiday makes her Carnegie Hall debut as a headliner
Billie Holiday makes her first Carnegie Hall appearance as a headliner on March 27.

1949

The first televised concert in Carnegie Hall’s history takes place
The first televised concert in Carnegie Hall’s history takes place on December 10.

1950s

1950

Mahalia Jackson makes her Carnegie Hall debut
Mahalia Jackson makes her Carnegie Hall debut on October 1.

1955

Bill Haley and his Comets perform
Bill Haley and his Comets perform on a variety benefit concert on May 6, becoming the first rock 'n' roll band to appear at Carnegie Hall.

Bo Diddley, Etta James, and others perform in “Top Ten Revue”
Bo Diddley, Etta James, and others perform in “Top Ten Revue” on October 29.

The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra makes its Carnegie Hall debut
The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra makes its Carnegie Hall debut on March 1 with conductor Herbert von Karajan.

The Weavers play at Carnegie Hall
The Weavers play Carnegie Hall on December 24.

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra makes its Carnegie Hall debut
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra makes its Carnegie Hall debut on November 7.

1957

Glenn Gould makes his Carnegie Hall recital debut
Pianist Glenn Gould makes his Carnegie Hall recital debut on December 7.

The Thelonious Monk Quartet featuring John Coltrane performs
The Thelonious Monk Quartet, featuring saxophonist John Coltrane, performs on a benefit concert on November 29.

1958

Van Cliburn gives a triumphant homecoming performance
After winning the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, pianist Van Cliburn gives a triumphant homecoming performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano concerto.

1959

Maria Callas makes her Carnegie Hall debut
Soprano Maria Callas makes her Carnegie Hall debut on January 27.

1960s

1960

Carnegie Hall is saved from demolition
The City of New York purchases Carnegie Hall to rescue it from demolition.

Sviatoslav Richter makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Pianist Sviatoslav Richter makes his Carnegie Hall debut on October 19.

The New York Philharmonic celebrates the saving of Carnegie Hall
On September 27, the New York Philharmonic celebrates the saving of Carnegie Hall with a special opening night concert conducted by Leonard Bernstein and featuring violinist Isaac Stern.

1961

Bob Dylan makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Bob Dylan makes his Carnegie Hall debut with a November 4 performance in Carnegie Chapter Hall.

Carnegie Hall debuts of Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne
Soprano Joan Sutherland and mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne make their Carnegie Hall debuts on March 1.

Judy Garland makes her Carnegie Hall debut
Judy Garland makes her Carnegie Hall debut on April 23.

Patsy Cline makes her Carnegie Hall debut
Patsy Cline makes her Carnegie Hall debut on November 29.

Yoko Ono presents a program of her own compositions
Yoko Ono presents a program of her own compositions in Carnegie Recital Hall (today's Weill Recital Hall) on November 21.

1962

Johnny Cash makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Johnny Cash makes his Carnegie Hall debut on May 10.

Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett make their Carnegie Hall debuts
Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett make their Carnegie Hall debuts on March 5.

1964

Carnegie Hall is declared a National Historic Landmark

The Beatles perform two concerts
The Beatles perform two concerts on February 12.

1965

Leontyne Price makes her Carnegie Hall recital debut
Soprano Leontyne Price makes her Carnegie Hall recital debut on February 28.

World premiere of Charles Ives’s Symphony No. 4
On April 26, Leopold Stokowski leads the American Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of Charles Ives’s Symphony No. 4.

1966

Further interior upgrades are made
Carnegie Hall makes further interior upgrades, including the removal of the main auditorium’s center aisle and replacement of the 75-year-old seats, the extension of the stage by six feet, and the installation of a new stage floor.

Plácido Domingo makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Tenor Plácido Domingo makes his Carnegie Hall debut on November 15 in a performance of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena with the American Opera Society and conductor Henry Lewis.

1967

Carnegie Hall is declared a New York City landmark

US premiere of Arvo Pärt's Perpetuum mobile
Lukas Foss leads the Buffalo Philharmonic in the US premiere of Arvo Pärt's Perpetuum mobile on May 7, the first performance of any work by Pärt in the Western Hemisphere.

1968

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is the keynote speaker at a February 23 benefit marking the 100th birthday of W. E. B. DuBois.

1970s

1971

Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention make their debut
Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention make their Carnegie Hall debut on October 11.

Yo-Yo Ma makes his Carnegie Hall debut
16-year-old cellist Yo-Yo Ma makes his Carnegie Hall debut in Carnegie Recital Hall (today's Weill Recital Hall) on May 6.

1972

David Bowie makes his Carnegie Hall debut
David Bowie makes his Carnegie Hall debut on September 28.

Groucho Marx makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Groucho Marx makes his Carnegie Hall debut on May 6.

1973

Luciano Pavarotti makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Tenor Luciano Pavarotti makes his Carnegie Hall debut on February 18.

1974

Maria Callas gives her farewell performance
Maria Callas gives her farewell performance on April 15 in a recital with tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano.

1976

The Concert of the Century
The Concert of the Century, a May 18 benefit concert for Carnegie Hall, features performances by Vladimir Horowitz, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Leonard Bernstein and others.

1979

Liza Minnelli makes her Carnegie Hall debut
On September 4, Liza Minnelli performs at Carnegie Hall for the first time.

1980s

1983

The New York Pops makes its Carnegie Hall debut
The New York Pops makes its debut at Carnegie Hall on April 8.

1985

Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Melle Mel perform
Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Melle Mel perform on an October 31 benefit.

Carnegie Hall launches its first education program
Carnegie Hall launches Link Up, its first education program.

1986

Full interior renovation completed
An extensive project that began in 1983 culminates in a full interior renovation encompassing the main auditorium, recital hall, and backstage areas.

Olivier Messiaen’s Saint François d'Assise
The New York premiere of three tableaux from Messiaen’s opera, Saint François d'Assise, is given on April 16.

1988

Celebrating Irving Berlin's 100th birthday
On May 11, an all-star cast celebrates Irving Berlin's 100th birthday in a televised gala event.

1990s

1990

Carnegie Hall launches its Professional Training Workshops
As part of its 100th-anniversary celebration, Carnegie Hall launches a series of Professional Training Workshops.

Evgeny Kissin makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Pianist Evgeny Kissin makes his Carnegie Hall debut on September 30.

World premiere of Takemitsu’s From me flows what you call Time
On October 19, Seiji Ozawa conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of Tōru Takemitsu’s From me flows what you call Time.

1991

Carnegie Hall celebrates its 100th birthday
Beginning on April 25, Carnegie Hall celebrates its 100th birthday with an 11-day centennial festival.

1992

Tribute to Stephen Sondheim
On June 10th, Dorothy Loudon, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, and 52 other artists perform in a tribute to composer Stephen Sondheim.

1993

Johnny Mathis makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Johnny Mathis makes his Carnegie Hall debut on October 7.

1995

Carnegie Hall creates the Debs Composer’s Chair
Carnegie Hall creates the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair.

1998

Buena Vista Social Club performs at Carnegie Hall
The Cuban band Buena Vista Social Club performs at Carnegie Hall on July 1.

2000s

2000

Isaac Stern's 80th birthday
On September 23 and 24, Carnegie Hall celebrates Isaac Stern's 80th birthday.

2001

Lang Lang makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Pianist Lang Lang makes his Carnegie Hall debut on April 26, performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and conductor Yuri Temirkanov.

2002

Robin Williams makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Comedian Robin Williams makes his Carnegie Hall debut on March 27.

2003

Zankel Hall opens
Zankel Hall opens in September with a three-week festival featuring classical, jazz, pop, and world music events.

2005

Carnegie Hall presents Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific
Reba McIntire, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Alec Baldwin, and others appear in a special one-night-only concert production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific on June 9.

2007

World premiere of David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion
David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion is given its world premiere by Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices on October 25.

Gustavo Dudamel makes his Carnegie Hall debut
Gustavo Dudamel makes his Carnegie Hall debut on November 11, conducting the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela.

J.K. Rowling makes her Carnegie Hall debut
Author J.K. Rowling makes her Carnegie Hall debut on October 19.

The Academy is established
The Academy—a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education – is established in January.

2008

Carnegie Hall celebrates Elliot Carter's 100th birthday
Carnegie Hall celebrates the 100th birthday of composer Elliott Carter on December 11.

2009

Carnegie Hall celebrates the 45th anniversary of Terry Riley’s In C
On April 24, Carnegie Hall celebrates the 45th anniversary of Terry Riley’s groundbreaking minimalist composition In C.

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra makes its Carnegie Hall debut
The YouTube Symphony Orchestra makes its Carnegie Hall debut on April 15.

2011

Studio Towers renovation project
Carnegie Hall begins renovations that will expand and improve the backstage areas and create new spaces devoted to music education.

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