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Carnegie Hall Announces 2019-2020 Season

Beethoven Celebration
Carnegie Hall honors 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with more than 35 events with internationally-renowned artists exploring his works and transformative impact on music

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Yannick Nézet-Séguin Joyce DiDonato & Angélique Kidjo
Perspectives enters its 20th season with four fascinating series curated by acclaimed artists

Debs Composer’s Chair:
Jörg Widmann
Composer, conductor, and clarinetist leads season-long residency featuring eleven Carnegie Hall events with orchestral and chamber music, premieres of new works, lectures, and exciting collaborations

Isaac Stern Centenary
Carnegie Hall dedicates its 2019–2020 season to Isaac Stern, paying tribute to the late violinist, educator, and activist during the centenary year of his birth

Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala
2019–2020 season launches on October 3 with celebratory Opening Night Gala concert featuring The Cleveland Orchestra, led by Franz Welser-Möst and joined by violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, cellist Lynn Harrell, and pianist Yefim Bronfman

(For Immediate Release: January 30, 2019, NEW YORK)—Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director, today announced Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season featuring more than 170 concerts by many of the world’s most celebrated artists and ensembles in classical, pop, jazz, and world music. The season also includes a wide range of groundbreaking education and social impact programs created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, engaging audiences in New York City, across the country, and around the world.

Programming highlights include a season-long celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth featuring more than 35 events with performances by renowned artists exploring the composer’s transformative impact on music history; Perspectives series curated by four acclaimed artists: conductors Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, and singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo; and a season-long residency by renowned composer, clarinetist, and conductor Jörg Widmann who has been appointed to hold the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair for the 2019–2020 season.

“Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season offers a dynamic range of musical experiences,” said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director. “Our Beethoven celebration invites concertgoers to explore a revolutionary composer whose music changed the world. Curated series bring us closer to five fascinating artists, enabling us to gain deeper insights into their musical viewpoints. With a stellar line-up of performances by the world’s finest musicians, presented alongside creative education and social impact programs, Carnegie Hall continues to build on its legacy as a destination for the best in music, considering the many ways that a concert hall in the twenty-first century can invite people of all ages to enjoy and explore.”

With 2020 marking the centenary of the birth of world-acclaimed violinist, educator, and activist Isaac Stern, Carnegie Hall will dedicate its entire 2019–2020 season in his honor, grateful for his tireless work in saving the building from demolition in 1960 and for his aspirations for what the Hall would mean to future generations. “Everyone who cares about music will forever be grateful to Isaac for saving Carnegie Hall—for his understanding of its importance to our city, our country and to the world,” said Mr. Gillinson.


2019–2020 Carnegie Hall Season Highlights

Carnegie Hall’s 129th season launches on Thursday, October 3 with a celebratory Opening Night Gala concert by The Cleveland Orchestra led by Franz Welser-Möst. Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, cellist Lynn Harrell, and pianist Yefim Bronfman join the orchestra for Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in C Major, with Ms. Mutter also featured in Beethoven’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra in G Major. The festive evening also includes the overture to Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier Suite.

Opening Night kicks off the Hall’s celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, an unprecedented range of performances throughout the 2019–2020 season that highlight the immensity of the composer’s transformative impact on music. More than 35 events focus on Beethoven’s works, performed by a remarkable line-up of internationally-renowned musicians. A highlight of the celebration—never before presented by Carnegie Hall in one season—are two complete symphony cycles, one by Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, performed on period instruments, and another by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra, contrasting their two different interpretive perspectives on these pillars of the orchestral repertoire. Additional events include the complete string quartets in a cycle by Quatuor Ébène; the complete piano sonatas by keyboard masters; chamber music with Emanuel AxLeonidas KavakosYo-Yo MaAnne-Sophie Mutter, and more; choral works; lectures; and a global creative learning project exploring the themes found in Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” led by Marin Alsop. Together, these celebratory programs create an extraordinary view of this revolutionary composer who redefined every area of music that he explored.

In 2019–2020, Carnegie Hall marks its 20th season of Perspectives by inviting four acclaimed artists to curate series in the coming year.

Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Perspectives includes the complete cycle of Beethoven’s nine symphonies as well as the composer’s rarely-heard score for the ballet The Creatures of Prometheusperformed with his internationally acclaimed early music ensemble Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique in five concerts over six days as a central part of Carnegie Hall’s Beethoven celebration. As a prelude to the cycle, Sir John Eliot kicks off his series with a talk that draws upon his exacting study of Beethoven’s music, providing additional insights into these masterworks.

Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin curates a nine-concert Perspectives next season including performances with three orchestras with whom he has built his remarkable career—The Philadelphia OrchestraThe MET Orchestra, and the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal (as part of that orchestra’s first US tour) in concerts centered on the Beethoven cycle, and also exploring a range of repertoire. His series also includes a rare recital appearance with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, performing Schubert’s Winterreise.

Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato returns to curate her second Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall with concerts and events that highlight her full range of vocal artistry and her work as an educator. Performances include collaborations with Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony OrchestraYannick Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Métropolitain de MontréalMaxim Emelyanychev leading the Italian baroque instrument orchestra Il Pomo d’Oro; and a stellar roster of musical friends performing an all-French evening in Zankel Hall. She returns to lead her annual public master classes for young opera singers and hosts a special concert, presented by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, celebrating music written by New Yorkers as part of a global learning project inspired by Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

Three-time Grammy Award winner and Benin-born singer Angélique Kidjo brings her intoxicating blend of West African music, American R&B, jazz, and funk to her four-concert Perspectives next season. With guest appearances by the Lionel Loueke TrioBenin International Musical, and others, Ms. Kidjo’s series charts the journey of African music and its culture throughout the world culminating with a special concert marking both her 60th birthday and the 60th anniversary of independence for Benin and other West African countries, performed with special musical friends.

Carnegie Hall has appointed composer, conductor, and clarinetist Jörg Widmann to hold the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair for the 2019–2020 season. Mr. Widmann’s residency includes eleven Carnegie Hall events throughout the year with his music heard on nine concerts—some featuring him as conductor or on clarinet—including performances by The Cleveland OrchestraMunich PhilharmonicMahler Chamber OrchestraThe MET Orchestra, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the International Contemporary EnsembleEnsemble Connect, and Anne-Sophie Mutter as well as two special lectures.

Carnegie Hall continues its strong focus on new music throughout the season, entering the final year of its five-year 125 Commissions Project, an initiative through which more than 160 new works have been commissioned by Carnegie Hall from today’s leading composers. Commissioned composers in the 2019–2020 season include John AdamsBrett DeanXavier FoleyMichael GordonBrad Mehldau, Gabriella SmithJörg Widmann, and Julia Wolfe, among others.

Additional highlights of Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season include performances by 17 leading orchestras from around the world, including performances by Michael Tilson Thomas leading the San Francisco Symphony in his last two Carnegie Hall concerts as Music Director; the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal conducted by Kent Nagano in his final season as Music Director; Mahler symphonies with Daniel Barenboim and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; and three concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons, including a concert performance of Act III of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde featuring tenor Jonas Kaufmann and soprano Emily Magee.

The English Concert and Artistic Director Harry Bicket return in spring 2020 as part of their multi-year Handel opera/oratorio project at Carnegie Hall, presenting a concert performance of Handel’s Rodelinda with British soprano Lucy Crowe singing the title role.

An array of the world’s leading pianists appear in recital, many as part of the Beethoven 250th celebration, including Emanuel AxYefim BronfmanEvgeny KissinIgor Levit (making his recital debut in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage), Maurizio PolliniSir András SchiffMitsuko Uchida, plus many more.

Among a wide variety of vocal and instrumental recitals: soprano Renée Fleming collaborates in recital with pianist Evgeny Kissin; bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel returns for the first time in ten years; tenor Ian Bostridge shares the stage with pianist/composer Brad Mehldau; pianists Daniil Trifonov and Sergei Babayan return in a duo-recital with percussion; and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason makes his New York recital debut with pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason.

Chamber music offered in 2019–2020 includes the first Carnegie Hall appearance by the West-Eastern Divan Ensemble, featuring violinist Michael Barenboim; performances by Ensemble Connect and Decoda; and four performances by young soloists and faculty from Germany’s prestigious Kronberg Academy.

Popular and world music highlights next season include the Carnegie Hall debut of television and Broadway star Tituss Burgess; the return of Latin Grammy Award-winning singer Buika, plus an evening with Rosanne Cash and Ry Cooder in a rare joint performance of songs from Johnny Cash’s beloved songbook; and Steven Reineke and The New York Pops with their remarkable five-concert series celebrating America’s popular music from Broadway to film scores, jazz to holiday classics.

Music lovers across New York will also enjoy dozens of performances through Carnegie Hall Citywide, a free concert series offered in all five boroughs all year long. Partnering with local community organizations, the performances feature leading artists and rising stars, representing all musical genres.

Carnegie Hall and WQXR 105.9 FM in New York partners for a ninth consecutive year to produce Carnegie Hall Live, an engaging nationwide live broadcast and digital series featuring performances from throughout Carnegie Hall’s season. This year’s series launches on October 3 with Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala performance featuring The Cleveland Orchestra under the baton of Franz Welser-Möst. The full 2019–2020 broadcast schedule will be announced at a later date.

Playlists inspired by artists and programming themes in the 2019–2020 season are now offered on Apple Music, curated by Carnegie Hall, at applemusic.com/carnegiehall. A dynamic playlist focused on Carnegie Hall’s Beethoven celebration joins ongoing dynamic playlists created by the Hall exploring “The Symphony Orchestra,” “The Piano,” and “Carnegie Hall Presents,” highlighting artists and repertoire featured in upcoming concerts. Additional playlists feature musical selections handpicked to complement artistic initiatives in the coming year, inviting music lovers to explore.


Alongside the Hall’s line-up of performances, a wide range of music education and social impact programs by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI) engages more than 600,000 people in the coming season in New York City and beyond.

Highlights of WMI’s season include All Together: A Global Ode to Joy—an ambitious worldwide project marking the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth—in which conductor Marin Alsop leads inspiring and ambitious performances on five continents with nine renowned partner orchestras in concerts that reimagine Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as a twenty-first century call for unity, justice, and empowerment. The concerts include newly composed music from each local community alongside Beethoven’s original, including translations of the Ode to Joy into local languages. The first All Together performance will take place in São Paulo, Brazil in December 2019, followed by concerts in London, England; Baltimore, Maryland; major centers of New Zealand; Sydney, Australia; Vienna, Austria; and Durban and Johannesburg, South Africa. Carnegie Hall presents a final culminating concert in December 2020 featuring a 300-piece choir made up of singers from across the city and the next generation of talented young instrumentalists. In April 2020, Joyce DiDonato also leads a performance of original songs interpreting the ideals embodied in Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, written by songwriters from across New York City.

In spring 2020, WMI honors Isaac Stern’s legacy with a free Family Day in Carnegie Hall’s Resnick Education Wing with a variety of hands-on activities exploring the world of strings in various musical genres. Later in 2020, violinists of all ages are invited to bring their instruments to Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage for a special Violin Day, a free event for families, students, and music-lovers, hosted by violinist Midori, a protégé of Mr. Stern, along with other leading artists.

Additional activities in 2019–2020 include My City, My Song family concerts exploring music from around the world found in New York City neighborhoods; immersive, sensory musical experiences for babies and toddlers; and the Lullaby Project, a program that gives pregnant women and new parents the opportunity to write and sing personal lullabies for their babies.

Link Up, Carnegie Hall’s music education program for grades 3–5, continues to grow in 2019–2020, reaching more than half a million students and teachers through partnerships with more than 115 orchestras worldwide. Musical Explorers, for grades K–2, also expands across the country next season with a new digital curriculum made available to music educators nationwide for free. Through PlayUSA, more than 15 local organizations across the United States dedicated to teaching instrumental music to students who may not otherwise have access, will receive financial support while building a national network of peers; and teachers will strengthen skills and build community through the Music Educators Workshop.

Carnegie Hall’s three acclaimed national youth ensembles return in summer 2019. Following a triumphant inaugural tour to Europe in 2018, NYO Jazz travels to Asia for the first time with trumpeter and artistic director Sean Jones and vocalist Kurt EllingSir Antonio Pappano leads the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) at the Tanglewood Music Festival and Carnegie Hall, followed by performances in Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Germany. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato joins for select European dates. NYO2, Carnegie Hall’s orchestra for younger teens, returns to Miami Beach for a five-day residency in partnership with the New World Symphony, followed by concerts at Miami’s New World Center and Carnegie Hall led by Carlos Miguel Prieto and featuring pianist Gabriela Montero.

As part of Carnegie Hall’s Beethoven celebration, young orchestral musicians rehearse and perform one of Beethoven’s epic symphonies as part of a workshop with members of the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique. For keyboard players, fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout leads a separate workshop focused on historically-informed performance of Beethoven’s sonatas, and Renée Fleming presents the second year of SongStudio, an innovative new workshop exploring the future of the vocal recital.

Complementing WMI’s work with teens across the country through the national youth ensembles, young people from across New York City write new music, meet each other, and learn from leading professionals through Future Music Project and NeON Arts.

WMI also serves people involved in the justice system locally and nationally. Through Musical Connections, men at Sing Sing Correctional Facility write and perform original music of all genres and collaborate with visiting artists as part of a creative residency now entering its eleventh year. In addition, artists, youth leaders, activists, and influencers come together with youth leaders through Create Justice, an annual initiative that seeks to shift the national conversation around youth justice and reform, exploring the power and potential of the arts to serve young people in the justice system.

Bank of America is Carnegie Hall’s season sponsor for the fifteenth consecutive year. “We are deeply grateful to Bank of America for our continued partnership, which is essential in helping us to bring extraordinary performances and initiatives to music lovers in New York City and around the globe,” said Clive Gillinson. “Our collaboration is built on a shared belief that music can truly make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. We remain so thankful to Bank of America for its generosity to Carnegie Hall and steadfast global support of arts and culture.”

“Bank of America is pleased to enter our 15th year as season sponsor of Carnegie Hall,” said Rena DeSisto, Global Arts and Culture Executive for Bank of America. “From large, world-class institutions like Carnegie Hall to the local playhouse or community museum, we are proud of our leadership in supporting the arts worldwide. Bank of America believes in the power of the arts to help communities thrive, educate and enrich societies, and create greater cultural understanding.” 


Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.

United Airlines® is the Official Airline of Carnegie Hall.

Breguet is the Exclusive Timepiece of Carnegie Hall.

Mastercard® is the Official Card of Carnegie Hall.

For complete 2019–2020 season information, including concert calendar, please visit carnegiehall.org/press


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