The A to Z of Carnegie Hall: S is for Stern
Violinist and Hall Savior
Even if he had played no role in the saving of Carnegie Hall from demolition, with more than 200 performances as recitalist and soloist stretching across six decades from 1943 through 2001, Isaac Stern would still be a major figure in the Hall's history. The list of conductors under whom he performed reads like a who's who from the latter half of the 20th century, among them Rodzinski, Mitropoulos, Stokowski, Szell, Walter, Ormandy, Bernstein, Schneider, Solti, Mehta, Barenboim, Rostropovich, Levine, Muti, Slatkin, Dutoit, and Ozawa.
Stern's association with Carnegie Hall is now often more closely associated with his successful campaign to save the Hall, which culminated in 1960 with the New York City Board of Estimate approving the purchase of Carnegie Hall for $5 million.
After having led the campaign to save the Hall, Stern continued to perform here regularly throughout the following four decades, his final performance taking place on June 9, 2001—a free concert as part of the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Workshop. Stern passed away just over three months later, on September 22, 2001. Having dedicated the main auditorium in his honor in 1997, the title of president of Carnegie Hall—an office Stern had held since the formation of The Carnegie Hall Corporation in 1960—was retired after his death.