Performance Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | 7 PM

James Taylor at Carnegie Hall


Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
One of the most beloved artists of our time celebrates 120 years of Carnegie Hall’s legendary history with special guests.


  • Bette Midler
  • Dianne Reeves
  • James Taylor
  • Kevin Pollak
  • Members of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus
  • Steve Martin
  • Sting
  • With special guests:
    Barbara Cook
  • Young People's Chorus of New York City


    James Taylor


  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler made her Broadway debut in Fiddler on the Roof, and even then, she understood the importance of doing matinees. Her remarkable career started while singing in New York bathhouses, where she was given the name, "The Divine Miss M." Her record debut, The Divine Miss M, earned her a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. In 1979, Midler made her film debut portraying a doomed and self-destructive rock 'n' roll singer in The Rose, earning her a Golden Globe for Best Actress, an Academy Award nomination, and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance.

    In 1988, Midler starred in Beaches and received her third Grammy Award, Record of the Year, for the film's title song, "Wind Beneath My Wings." Midler garnered her second Best Actress Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination for Mark Rydell's For the Boys. Additional film credits include Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Ruthless People, Big Business, Scenes from a Mall, Hocus Pocus, The First Wives Club, The Stepford Wives, Then She Found Me, and The Women.

    This past January, Midler concluded her critically acclaimed Vegas extravaganza The Showgirl Must Go On at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, with more than 200 performances that were seen by over a half-million people in two years.

    Forty years, four Grammys, four Golden Globes, three Emmys, a Tony Award, and tons of record-breaking performances since she hit the scene, The Divine Miss M is now a Broadway producer. The Great White Way will never be the same …
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  • Dianne Reeves

    Blue Note-recording artist Dianne Reeves is the pre-eminent jazz vocalist in the world today. As a result of her virtuosity, improvisational prowess, and unique jazz and R&B stylings, Reeves was awarded the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for three consecutive recordings-a Grammy first in any vocal category.

    Reeves appeared and performed in George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck, the Academy Award nominated film that chronicles Edward R. Murrow's confrontation with Senator Joseph McCarthy. The soundtrack recording provided Reeves her fourth Best Jazz Vocal Grammy in 2006. Reeves worked with legendary producer Arif Mardin on the 2003 Grammy-winning A Little Moonlight, an intimate collection of 10 standards that feature her touring trio.

    Reeves has recorded and performed extensively with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. She has also recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim and was a featured soloist with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker. Reeves was the Los Angeles Philharmonic's first Creative Chair for Jazz and the first singer to ever perform at the famed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

    In 2007, Reeves was featured in a documentary on the all-too-brief life of Billy Strayhorn. Her first solo album in several years, When You Know, was released in 2008.
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  • James Taylor

    In March 2011, James Taylor was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barak Obama in a ceremony at the White House. The medal is the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence recognizing "outstanding achievements and support of the arts."

    Taylor's music embodies the art of songwriting in its most fundamental form. He has been at it for decades, transforming introspective meditations into lyrics, melodies, and harmonies that comfort and reassure the listener with the sense that these sometimes painful, sometimes celebratory moments are a part of life shared by us all. In 1971, Taylor was featured on the cover of Time magazine, heralded as the harbinger of the singer-songwriter era. Today, this quintessential singer-songwriter has seen that era cross over into the 21st century.

    As a recording and touring artist, Taylor has set a precedent and blazed a path to which countless young musicians have aspired. His warm baritone is among the most recognized voices in popular music and his guitar-playing has established its own standard.

    Taylor has sold more than 50 million albums throughout his career, beginning in 1968 when he was signed to The Beatles' Apple Records.

    His songs have had a profound influence on both songwriters and music lovers of all generations and from all walks of life: "Fire and Rain," "Country Road," "Something in the Way She Moves," "Mexico," "Shower the People," "Your Smiling Face," "Carolina In My Mind," "Sweet Baby James," "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," "You Can Close Your Eyes," "Walking Man," "Never Die Young," "Shed a Little Light," "Copperline," "Caroline I See You," and many more.

    Throughout his long career, Taylor has earned 40 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards and five Grammy Awards for a catalog that runs from Sweet Baby James (1970) to Hourglass (1997) and October Road (2002). His first Greatest Hits album earned the Recording Industry Association of America's elite Diamond Award, given for sales in excess of 10 million units in the US. For his artistic accomplishments, Taylor was honored with the 1998 Century Award, Billboard magazine's highest accolade, bestowed for distinguished creative achievement.

    Taylor released Sweet Baby James in 1970. It went triple-platinum and spawned his first Top 10 hit, the intensely personal "Fire and Rain." The following year saw the release of another million-seller, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, with the No. 1 single "You've Got a Friend," written by his longtime friend Carole King. The recording won a Grammy Award in 1971 for Best Pop Male Vocal. In 1972, Taylor scored another gold album with One Man Dog, followed up in 1973 with Walking Man.

    The album Gorilla (1975) included two more major chart entries: "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" and "Mexico." Following his final Warner Brothers recording, In the Pocket, Taylor moved on to Columbia Records and released a string of critically praised and commercially successful albums: JT, his 1977 double-platinum Columbia debut; Flag (1979); Dad Loves His Work (1981); That's Why I'm Here (1985); Never Die Young (1988); New Moon Shine (1991); the double-disc Live album (1993); Hourglass (1998), garnering Taylor his first Grammy Award for Best Pop Album; and October Road (2002)-all certified platinum.

    The year 2000 saw Taylor's induction into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences selected him as its MusiCares Person of the Year in 2006, and his One Man Band (2007) was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special in 2008.

    In May 2010, Taylor released the Live at the Troubadour CD/DVD of his November 2007 live performance with Carole King at the Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles. Their subsequent Troubadour Reunion tour was one of the most successful concert tours of the decade. Most recently, Morgan Neville's acclaimed documentary, Troubadours: The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter was nominated for the Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was recently broadcast on PBS as part of its prestigious American Masters series.

    Taylor has received honorary doctorates of music from Williams College and the Berklee School of Music. Raised in North Carolina, he now lives in western Massachusetts with his wife Caroline and their sons Henry and Rufus.
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  • Kevin Pollak

    Kevin Pollak has captured the attention of audiences worldwide with his range of both dramatic and comedic roles. He has appeared in more than 60 films, as well as countless television projects, and has established himself as one of the few stand-up comedians to have a successful dramatic film career.

    Pollak first started performing stand-up comedy at the age of 10. He started touring professionally at 20. In 1988, shortly after he filmed his first HBO special, Pollak landed a role in Willow, directed by Ron Howard and produced by George Lucas. In 1989, he got his first dramatic acting role in Barry Levinson's Avalon, followed by Rob Reiner's A Few Good Men (opposite Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore). Soon after, he co-starred with icons Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men.

    In 1994, Pollak was offered a plum role opposite Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, and Benicio Del Toro in The Usual Suspects. The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and won two Academy Awards, as well as the Best Ensemble Cast award from The National Board of Review. That same year, the call came from Martin Scorsese for Pollak to join Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone in his Vegas epic, Casino.

    As the 20th century came to a close, Variety named its top 10 hardest-working film actors, who had completed at least three films per year throughout the 1990s; Pollak was on the list.

    At the start of the millennium, Pollak returned to his first love, stand-up comedy, touring the US and abroad. His film career has also continued, with appearances in 29 films since 2000.
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  • Tanglewood Festival Chorus

    The Tanglewood Festival Chorus was founded in January 1970, when conductor John Oliver was named Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at the Tanglewood Music Center. The ensemble made its debut on April 11 that same year, in a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Leonard Bernstein conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Since then, Oliver has conducted more than 900 performances with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, including appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, Tanglewood, Carnegie Hall, and on tour in Europe and the Far East, as well as with visiting orchestras and as a solo ensemble. Comprising members who donate their time and talent, and formed originally under the joint sponsorship of Boston University and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the chorus originally numbered 60 well-trained Boston-area singers, but soon expanded to a complement of 120 singers and began playing a major role in the BSO's season.

    Now numbering more than 270 members, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus performs year-round with the BSO and the Boston Pops, and has developed an international reputation for its skill, intelligence, versatility, thrilling sound, and enthusiastic performances. The Tanglewood Festival Chorus gave its first overseas performances in December 1994, touring with Seiji Ozawa and the BSO to Hong Kong and Japan. The ensemble has also performed on BSO tours in Europe with Bernard Haitink in 2001 and, most recently, with James Levine in 2007.

    The Tanglewood Festival Chorus has made dozens of recordings with the BSO and Boston Pops, and also released a disc of a cappella music to mark the ensemble's 40th anniversary in 2010.
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  • Steve Martin

    Steve Martin is one of the most diversified performers in the entertainment industry today: actor, comedian, author, playwright, producer, and musician.

    Martin became a television writer in the late 1960s, winning an Emmy Award for his work on the hit series The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Launched by frequent appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Martin went on to star in Saturday Night Live. His first film project, The Absent-Minded Waiter, was nominated for a 1977 Academy Award. In 1979, he moved into feature films, co-writing and starring in The Jerk, directed by Carl Reiner.

    Martin's blockbuster film career has gone on to include Roxanne, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Parenthood, Little Shop of Horrors, Three Amigos, Housesitter (earning him a People's Choice Award), and the Father of the Bride series (for which he received a People's Choice Award and a Golden Globe nomination). Most recently, he was seen in The Pink Panther with Beyoncé Knowles and Kevin Kline, and It's Complicated with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. In 2005, he received critical praise for Shopgirl, with Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman. In addition to starring in the film, Martin also wrote the screenplay, adapted from his best-selling novella.

    Martin has won Grammy Awards for his two comedy albums, Let's Get Small and A Wild and Crazy Guy, and had a gold record with his single "King Tut." In 2001, he also won a Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance for his playing on Earl Scruggs's Foggy Mountain Breakdown. More recently, his The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo won the 2010 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album.

    In December 2007, Martin was a Kennedy Center Honor recipient.
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  • Sting

    Composer, singer, author, actor, and activist. Sting has won universal acclaim in all of these roles, yet he continues to defy easy labeling. Born in Newcastle, England, Sting moved to London in 1977 and formed The Police with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers. The band released five albums, earned six Grammy Awards, and in 2003 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    Since 1985, Sting has released 12 solo albums. His latest endeavor, Symphonicities, the companion CD to his celebrated Symphonicity world tour, finds Sting performing his greatest hits re-imagined for symphonic arrangement, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra conducted by Steven Mercurio.

    For nearly four decades, Sting has remained at the forefront of the public consciousness and has been widely recognized for his musical contributions, collecting an additional 11 Grammys, two Brits, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, three Oscar nominations, and Billboard's Century Award, in addition to being named MusiCares 2004 Person of the Year. He has appeared in more than 10 films and in 1989, starred in The Threepenny Opera on Broadway.

    Also an accomplished author, Sting published a memoir entitled Broken Music in 2003, which spent 13 weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers list. He most recently released Lyrics, a comprehensive collection of lyrics and personal commentary, also featuring photographs from throughout his career.

    Sting's support for human-rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and the Rainforest Foundation (the latter that he co-founded with his wife, Trudie Styler, in 1989), also mirrors his art in universal outreach.
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  • Barbara Cook

    Barbara Cook received rave reviews and a Tony Award nomination last season for her performance in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Sondheim on Sondheim. Cook's recent appearances include her sold-out 80th birthday concerts with the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall; critically acclaimed appearances at Feinstein's at Loews Regency; and her historic solo concert debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera, where she became the first female solo pop singer to be presented in concert by the MET.

    Her many Broadway credits include the creation of three classic roles in the American musical theater: Cunégonde in Leonard Bernstein's Candide, Marian the Librarian in Meredith Willson's The Music Man (for which she won a Tony Award), and Amalia in Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick's She Loves Me.

    Tonight's concert marks the latest in a long history of appearances, including six solo concerts, at Carnegie Hall. In 1975, Cook made her solo Carnegie Hall concert debut, which was preserved as the live recording, Barbara Cook at Carnegie Hall. She then embarked on a second career as a concert and recording artist, performing in most of the country's major concert halls and cabarets. In 1987, she won a Drama Desk Award for her Broadway show, A Concert for the Theatre.

    Cook's many London appearances include concerts with the Royal Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, numerous Olivier Award-nominated appearances in the West End, and a recent appearance with the English National Ballet in an all-Gershwin evening at Royal Albert Hall.

    A Grammy Award winner, Cook's recordings include eight original Broadway cast albums and the recently released Cheek to Cheek, a live recording of her concert with Michael Feinstein.
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  • Young People's Chorus of New York City

    For more than two decades, the Young People's Chorus of New York City has provided children of all ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds with a unique program of music education and choral performance, while maintaining a model of artistic excellence and harmony that enriches the community.

    Founded by Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez in 1988, the Young People's Chorus has become one of today's most celebrated and influential children's choruses, with performances worldwide and acclaimed recordings from across the musical spectrum. Through its celebrated Transient Glory commissioning series of concerts, publications, and CDs, the Young People's Chorus has expanded the repertoire for children's choruses with dozens of new works from composers that include Pulitzer Prize, Oscar, and MacArthur "genius" grant winners.

    The resident chorus at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Young People's Chorus is frequently seen on national television, including an Emmy Award-winning feature on PBS's From the Top at Carnegie Hall. The choristers have also introduced millions of radio listeners to the newest cutting-edge music through the ensemble's national Radio Radiance broadcasts on American Public Media.

    Among the Young People's Chorus' many awards and honors are Chorus America's Education Outreach Award and two Chorus America / ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming. The ensemble has been hailed for its work with urban at-risk youth by the New York State Assembly, the Mayor of the City of New York, and the Manhattan Borough President, in addition to being recognized as a "national model of artistic excellence and diversity" by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
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"Fire and Rain"
James Taylor

Perspectives: James Taylor

I was hugely flattered to be asked to host a Perspectives series and to create a celebration of Carnegie Hall’s 120th birthday. We have been working up to this for the last two years. Carnegie Hall offered and we jumped right in.

Carnegie Hall is the top theater in the top town. It is an icon for performing artists, its very name means success. The first time I played here, in 1970, was the first time I was ever in the Hall I had been hearing about since I was a child. From the moment I walked in the door, it lived up to my expectations and to my imagination.

As part of this Perspectives, we are planning a series of four different concerts, starting with an all-star Gala on April 12. We continue with a Roots evening on April 20, focusing on the music I listened to growing up. In Guitar Conversations on May 6, I talk about guitar playing in general and my own style in particular—and get to play with a couple of my favorite guitarists. On May 9, we wrap up our short season in the spotlight with a program modestly titled Quintessential James Taylor, in which my band and I play what we consider our very best songs and attempt to live up to the honor Carnegie Hall has bestowed on me by inviting me to organize this series.

Carnegie Hall is the sort of venue that focuses a performer’s attention. Everyone who plays here wants to be at his very best. The world recognizes this as one of the great venues for classical music, but it is important to remember that folk music got played here, too. Blues, swing, R&B, and jazz were performed here. Rock ‘n’ roll got played here. Strauss, Gershwin, Sinatra, and The Beatles have all stood on this stage.

No series of concerts can summarize all the great music that Carnegie Hall has seen in its first 12 decades. What we can do is take a few evenings to be grateful for all the wonderful performers who have passed through, and hope to add a couple of appropriate links to the ongoing chain.

—James Taylor

Program Notes

Gala Details

6 PM  
Cocktail Reception
Rohatyn Room, Carnegie Hall
7 PM  
James Taylor at Carnegie Hall
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
9 PM  
After-Party with James Taylor and Special Guests
The Museum of Modern Art

Honorary Chair
Caroline Kennedy

Gala Chairs
Clarissa and Edgar Bronfman, Jr.

Honorary Artist Committee
Emanuel Ax, David Byrne, Calista Flockhart, Harrison Ford, Jay Z, Kronos Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Audra McDonald, Youssou N’Dour, Kelly Preston, Tavis Smiley, Regina Spektor, John Travolta, Caetano Veloso, Kanye West 

With a start-studded cast and honorary committee, this is certainly an evening not to be missed! Following an incredible concert that James Taylor will host in honor of Carnegie Hall’s 120th Anniversary, guests will dine and dance with the artists at an exclusive After-Party at The Museum of Modern Art.

Gala buyers also have the option to attend a pre-concert cocktail reception at Carnegie Hall instead of the post-concert festivities.

Gala Benefit Tickets

  • Package A: Tickets are either $2,500 or $5,000 and include the exclusive After-Party and a seat in the Prime Parquet at the concert.


  • Package B: Tickets are $1,000 and include the pre-concert Cocktail Reception and a seat in the Parquet or Second Tier at the concert.

    You can place your reservation by calling the Special Events office at 212-903-9679. Please note that exact seating assignments will not be determined until the month of the event.


  • Premium Tickets Tickets start at $200 and are available in the Balcony, Dress Circle, and Second Tier. Please note that premium tickets do not include attendance at the Reception or After-Party, but do include a tax-deductible donation to Carnegie Hall.

    To purchase a premium ticket, please call CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or visit the Carnegie Hall Box Office at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, Monday-Saturday from 11 AM-6 PM, Sunday 12-6 PM.

Festive Attire 

Bank of America Logo 136x17
James Taylor Gala Corporate Sponsor and Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall
James Taylor's Perspectives series is made possible, in part, by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.
This performance is part of Non-Subscription Events.

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