• Carnegie Hall Opening Night 2011: Five Fun Facts

    Yo-Yo Ma has provided Carnegie Hall with some of its most memorable concerts ever, and an appearance by Valery Gergiev and his orchestra is always a one-of-a-kind event.

    Here are five fun facts about the Opening Night artists and the music they perform on October 5.

    1. Yo-Yo Ma first performed at Carnegie Hall on December 17, 1964, during a benefit concert for the Ecole Française.

    2. Two of the great cellist's fellow-musicians that night were his father—conductor Hiao-Tsiun Ma—and his sister—Yeou-Cheng Ma—who played piano.

    3. Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra (then the Kirov Orchestra) made their Carnegie Hall debuts on October 1, 1994. Maestro Gergiev conducted a program that included Wagner, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich.

    4. Ma performs Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme on Opening Night, 2011. Tchaikovsky's showstopper was first performed at the Hall almost 120 years ago. Walter Damrosch—who was instrumental in the founding of Carnegie Hall—conducted the New York Symphony Orchestra and cellist Anton Hekking in that first performance, in November 1891.

    5. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff's Scheherazade is also performed on Opening Night. Maestro Gergiev is one of a stellar array of names who have conducted the piece more than 80 times at the Hall. Damrosch, Stransky, Stokowski, Mengelberg, Bernstein, Ozawa, Maazel, Dutoit, Masur, and Temirkanov have conducted the work since its Carnegie Hall premiere in 1900.

    Related: October 5 Mariinsky Orchestra Opening Night Gala