Whether it’s an anecdote about Andrew Carnegie or a great artist, we have more than 125 years of Carnegie Hall lore. But those are only our tales. We invite you and your friends to tell your own stories. Perhaps you have fond memories of a first visit to the Hall, an inspiring concert, or an unusual experience. We would love to hear what you have to say and to share your reminiscences. Read, watch, listen, and share!

Fondest Memory

Michael Koski: Memory

Fondest Memory

G. Rosado: A Renaissance

Most Inspiring Experience

Stacey Rose: How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?: Follow Your Dream

Most Inspiring Experience

Moeniel Jacobs: Cape Malays in Manhattan

Fondest Memory

Gabriela: A night with my Grandpa

Fondest Memory

Jorge Villalba: Air Conditiong the Hall

Most Inspiring Experience

Aliya Turetayeva: My dream to be a professional musician

Fondest Memory

Li Liu: Unforgettable Night

Fondest Memory

Joanne Bouknight: Backstage at a Carnegie Hall debut

Most Inspiring Experience

Charlotte: Flying solo

Favorite Concert

Yakov Keiserman: An event to remember

First Time

Tom Ruppe: Country in Carnegie

Fondest Memory

Emmanuel Jerume: An Evening of Romance: Best Marriage Proposal Ever!

Most Inspiring Experience

Paul Puccioni: Tom Paley returns to play at Carnegie Hall after a 66 year gap!

Fondest Memory

Debbie Iannucci: Our Magical Night

Most Unusual Experience

Ana Paola: Andrew is for the Birds (Only they will be able to sing it)

Fondest Memory

Helene Feldman Szabo: My father, the violinist

Most Inspiring Experience

Kathryn Mabry: MJ's "HEAL THE KIDS"

First Time

Ivy Pittman: Leontyne Price

Fondest Memory

Rebecca M: Practice Practice Practice

Most Inspiring Experience

Misha Keylin: How I got to (perform as soloist at) Carnegie Hall at age 11

Fondest Memory

Rebecca Melton: An Unforgettable Memory

Fondest Memory

Linda Bornschein: JK Rowling

Most Inspiring Experience

Keith Gibson: With Leonard Bernstein

Most Inspiring Experience

Darlene Morrow Brandt: The Spirits of Carnegie Hall

Most Inspiring Experience

Deborah: Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra

Fondest Memory

Kaylee Steiner-Olson: A repeat visit

First Time

Norman Kaufman: Back to Carnegie Hall after 40+ Years

Fondest Memory

Eric Shimelonis: A composer's dreams come true at Weill Recital Hall

First Time

Carol: My first experience at Carnegie Hall

First Time

Scott Thyberg: You can go home again

Fondest Memory

Raphael Klayman: Inside and outside Carnegie Hall

Fondest Memory

Senior Year Capstone

Most Inspiring Experience

Isha Sakhalkar: High School Orchestra Trip, April 2015

First Time

Robert Joles: The Silence of Carnegie Hall

Fondest Memory

Gretsch at Carnegie Hall: Capturing a Moment In Time

Fondest Memory

C. Fisk: Keeping the legend alive

Fondest Memory

Susan Prince: Through the eyes of a child...

First Time

My Carnegie Moment - Florence Foster Jenkins, and me

Fondest Memory

Pam Bridges: A Rising Star

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    • Fondest Memory

      Michael Koski: Memory

      It was the spring of 1962. John Glenn had made his historic space flight. I was a clarinetist with the Bronx Boro-Wide Symphonic Band. Carnegie Hall, under the leadership of Isaac Stern began the tradition of inviting youth musical groups from the New York school system to perform at Carnegie Hall. This would be the first time a school ensemble from the NYC school system would appear at Carnegie. On the evening of May 24, 1962 the band, orchestra and chorus under the leadership of Norma and Anna Landi, both young music teachers from the Bronx, made their Carnegie Hall debut. Eleanor Roosevelt was in the audience and Isaac Stern addressed the proud parents. It was an electrifying experience, permanently etched in the memories of over 200 young musicians and their proud parents from the Bronx. And yes, we did honor Colonel Glenn by performing Paul Taubman's celebratory Colonel Glenn March!

    • Fondest Memory

      G. Rosado: A Renaissance

      I don't remember my first Carnegie Hall experience. As a native New Yorker, I remember being young and oblivious. Now, my love for music and architecture have converged to form a rekindling, an awe. I am older now..hard to believe but some things do improve with age..I appreciate the beauty of this sacred, intimate space..my eyes and ears grateful, my soul alive and filled with music!

    • Most Inspiring Experience

      Stacey Rose: How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?: Follow Your Dream

      How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall? We all have a Carnegie Hall. That is, we all have childhood fantasies of what we want to be when we grow up. As adults, we have ideas and wishes for the dream job. Since I was 5 years old, mine has been to be a concert pianist and to have the opportunity to perform on the stage of the world’s most famous concert hall, New York City’s Carnegie Hall. On June 10, 2000, my dream will come true. Of course “practice, practice, practice” has something to do with it--a lot to do with it, in fact. But equally as important, I believe, has been following my heart. For me, music has been my best friend, my constant companion, my religion. One of my earliest memories places me in the music tent of the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. My parents had bought me my first pair of hiking boots, “clutter boots,” as we used to call them. The soft brown leather and red shoelaces were undoubtedly the coolest things I could imagine, in spite of the blisters and soreness they were quickly creating. So plopping down on a bench was a relief, even if it meant having to sit quietly and hear boring music to which my parents had dragged me. That boring music changed my life. Reports have it that I gravitated to the family piano as a curious 3-year-old, able to spin out a tune I knew or had heard someone sing. My mother still boasts that I never “banged,” and that I approached the instrument with a gentle, delicate touch (little did she know what I did when I had the run of the place to myself). When I was five, my mother managed to persuade the local piano teacher (who expressed skepticism at the size of my hands) that I would practice and that my hands would, indeed, grow. I learned to read music before I could read English. And so began my personal entrance into the world of music. Like the majority of my privileged 5-year-old colleagues, I hated it. My daily dread became practicing scales, Hanon exercises, and short inane-sounding pieces. I came home from kindergarten one day in tears because the kids next to me were singing out of tune. The teacher didn’t even correct them! I loved music that I heard on records and on the radio, but was this the only way to get there? I hoped not. There had to be an easier, faster method than these agonizing drills and my public school’s completely uninspiring music class. Mrs. Shockley had the charisma and enthusiasm of a corpse. How could I learn to play some real music? Billy Singer, a boy in my class (who allegedly ‘liked’ me), taunted me after I played a Clementi Sonatina for talent day. “I bet you can’t play Aquarius from Hair, he barked to the whole class. So there I sat on a bench in the mountain breeze of Aspen when my 5-year-old psyche exploded. It was magical. To this day, I vividly remember hearing a sound so new, so beautiful, so indescribable. I was transfixed. The woman at the piano wore a sparkly purple dress that occasionally caught a ray from the outside sun, sending a stream of light into the audience. I felt myself gasp, almost like when the wind was knocked out of me after jumping off a swing. But this gasp was sweet. I watched the woman’s hands float across the keys. Every tone sounded different, yet matched the one before it and the one after it, like a seamless strand of pearls. She stroked each key as if it was soft satin; and then, oh wow, it suddenly became stormy and thunderous and her hands flew all over the keys. The music took me somewhere I had never been. I was riveted watching the orchestra players furiously moving their bows together, breathing together, and sometimes only a few would play. And then the soloist woman became the only one in the whole world. All kinds of sounds were coming out of the piano. And then all of them seemed to breathe at the same time, roaring and crashing sonorities. It was at that moment that I knew I had found my ‘Carnegie Hall.’ I must do this when I grow up. Years of lessons followed. Middle school and high school were spent “graduating” from one teacher to the next, where I would ultimately alienate each one with my lack of practice. I struggled to balance schoolwork, practicing piano, and a teenage social life. Schoolwork and social life prevailed. Although I enjoyed playing piano and could see the progress as I played more difficult repertoire, my priorities changed in accordance with a demanding adolescent social schedule. A sedentary life at the piano, playing Classical music, was hardly very cool. My teachers became frustrated with my wasted potential. My friends became frustrated with my lack of telephone availability. So I did what most kids do when becoming disenchanted with their dream: I quit. The decision was a big one. For many weeks, voices re-played through my head as I weighed their meaning and tried to look into my crystal ball. My parents: “We hope you won’t regret it later.” My teacher: “You’re very gifted; if only you would apply yourself…” My self: “Am I giving up on my dream?” I would feel the soft cushiony pillow beneath my head, and let myself drift off to sleep, tuning out the voices. I figured there would be other dreams. And there were. I excelled at tennis and thrived on competing in sports. Athletic practice and hard work yielded immediate gratification rather than an elusive feeling of improvement. In sports, you either win or lose. In music, progress is subjective, seemingly an unreachable and undefined goal. My six hours a day on the tennis court paid off; winning was a sweet reward. I received a liberal arts education with a B.A. in English from Stanford University. I had briefly considered applying to a music conservatory for my undergraduate work, returning to piano study, but I probably would not have been accepted, as I would have been competing against kids who had devoted their days to music practice for most of their lives (many since they could eat solid foods). So, while in college, absorbed in my many different courses, I longed to immerse myself in a measure of Bach. The intricacies fascinated me. How could he have been so radically inventive and forward-thinking within what was a strict, traditional framework of the time? His music is so complex. I truly missed that music in my life. I was quickly humbled in the realization that while I had been reading St. Augustine for a Western Civilization class and suffering through Organic Chemistry as an elective, others dedicated these most formative years to mastering piano technique. Graduates of Juilliard and other conservatories played masterfully, but many seemed to have lost their joy somewhere along the way. Note-perfect, polished performances impressed, but rarely moved me. Child prodigies dazzled with virtuosic technical prowess, but lacked depth and warmth in their sound. Many conservatory students had been pressured to “succeed” by driven parents. More and more, it appeared to me that my years of academic study had actually matured and enriched my perspective toward music, and, unquestionably, toward life. Even though I hadn’t been practicing consistently, my soul had been developing. Still, I had a glacier of work to do if I was to be taken seriously as a pianist. The need to catch up propelled me. My now adult desire to learn was super-charged, self-motivated, and responsible only to MYSELF. I wanted nothing more now than to play the piano, and play it superbly. I came to finally appreciate what privilege is. An entire day could be spent practicing the left hand of a piece or a single musical phrase. Testing different ways of fingering complex passages, achieving just the right balance in playing a chord, discovering a full Crayola 64-pack of colors, touches, and pedaling on the piano—such were the challenges that engrossed my mind and consumed my days. I may not have chosen the common route, but I was going to reach the top level of excellence by following my path. Never had I worked so hard. I learned how to work. Layer upon layer, lacquering each and letting it sit to solidify, like building a house—this is how I practiced. I studied with a teacher whose playing I revere and whose tutelage inspired me to work harder. Gradually and steadily, my technical agility improved, and in turn, my musicianship flourished. I began to untap my own musical voice, the one that defines me. Eventually: results! I played my first performance as the soloist with orchestra to a sold-out audience and received a standing ovation. After that, I was invited as the guest artist to perform with people of other nations on all 5 continents. I’ve had thrilling experiences throughout the world. It is elating to share the language of music when communication through spoken language is impossible. Once I abandoned my doubts and fears, there were no insurmountable obstacles in my way. Of course there are always the voices warning me of the futility of being a pianist; the fierce competition, the incessant practice required, the low public interest, the little remuneration—they’re all very present. But I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be living my dream. At least I’m on the way to fulfilling my life’s aspirations. Performing at Carnegie Hall will be one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. I look forward to where my dreams will take me next. P.S. I will be performing a solo recital of my original compositions at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall on June 18, 2017 at 2pm. A tribute to my parents:)

    • Most Inspiring Experience

      Moeniel Jacobs: Cape Malays in Manhattan

      I got a call one day from a friend at theatre asking if I would show some tourist our unique Cape Malay Culture. I agreed thinking they would notice our talent and you never know what could come from that. Surprisingly these weren't any tourists but the Ubuntu festival team from Carnegie Hall. Needless to say we entertained them as best we could but the big surprise came 2 months later when I received an email congrats you have been selected to perform at Carnegie hall during the Ubuntu Festival. This brought tears to my eyes as these choir members I managed never left South Africa. So in October 2014 I brought 14 Cape Malay vocalists to Manhattan to showcase our unique music and our unique culture. Being 14 Muslims to New York was a challenge on its own. But Carnegie didn't see race or religion it saw music and the love we had for it It was for one night only but to be able to say that I and 14 others who cannot read an inch of music performed on the biggest stage in the world and got a standing ovation. This is something you hear only in dreams. Thank you so much for the opportunity and please bring us back again

    • Fondest Memory

      Gabriela: A night with my Grandpa

      My grandfather was the first person to introduce me to Classical music when I was about 6 years old. He took me to my first concert in Mexico City's Palacio De Bellas Artes. Twenty five years later, I moved to NYC to attend grad school and made Carnegie Hall (not Broadway) part of my monthly treat. One day, I invited my grandad to fly up from Mexico to NYC and took him to Carnegie Hall for a special night out. He was treated with such respect by your staff, invited to use the elevator, and was assigned a special seat because of his cane. He felt so special. When he arrived at his seat and turned to look at me before the music even started, he thanked me with tears in his eyes for having made one of his dreams come true. I never knew his dream was to attend a concert at Carnegie Hall. He was like a child, wide eyed and completely taken by the sounds and beauty of a concert at Carnegie Hall. He could not stop talking about it for years. It was the last time he traveled and I am so glad that I was able to have Carnegie Hall be part of one of his and my fondest memories. He is no longer with us but I'll always have that night at Carnegie Hall. Thank you for keeping the tradition of Carnegie Hall alive!

    • Fondest Memory

      Jorge Villalba: Air Conditiong the Hall

      In 1961 while working for YORK Corporation as a project engineer I supervised the design and installation of the A/C without affecting the halls acoustics. Before that time the Hall was only open during the winter months. It was quite difficult job.

    • Most Inspiring Experience

      Aliya Turetayeva: My dream to be a professional musician

      I was born and grew up in the suburbs of my hometown Almaty in Kazakhstan under the poorest conditions.The only valuable thing we had was a piano, that was a gift of my grandfather. I was always in love with music, since my childhood, since my very early life, so I started to play the piano and attended a special music school.Already as a child I always dreamed to play once at Carnegie Hall, be in New York and walk through the streets of Manhattan. When my father got a better job, I could move to Europe to continue my musical studies. I attended the most prestigious universities there, Mozarteum in Austria and Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne, Germany and had a honor to study with the best professors. After my studies I played at many festivals and international venues, such a Steinway Hall in Düsseldorf or St Martin -in-the-Fields and Royal Albert Hall in London. I was very happy to be a prize winner of the Golden Classical Music Awards International Competition ,that gave me a fantastic chance to perform at Weill Recital Hall on March 13th 2017.I am very thankful to God and life, all my dreams came true and I tremendously believe that everyone can make dreams true through knowledge, talent, hard work and courage. It was very special event for me and it was fantastic to perform and be there. That will ever help me to be stronger, smarter and braver in my life. I wish you an amazing future with many wonderful performances,talented artists and beautiful encounters.

    • Fondest Memory

      Li Liu: Unforgettable Night

      Performing at Carnegie Hall is always a dream of every musician. The pursuit of this dream, like great winds, have carried me here from the furthest. In May 2016, I was invited to play at Carnegie Hall as the winner of competition. The timing aligned magically with my doctoral graduation. I felt it was like my graduation recital, which perfectly completed my doctoral study. What's more, the unforgettable night was also a sparkling starting point of my career as a pianist. Thank you, Carnegie Hall, for giving me such wonderful experience.

    • Fondest Memory

      Joanne Bouknight: Backstage at a Carnegie Hall debut

      I've been doing a personal Instagram drawing/archiving project titled This Day in Family History, and March 6, 2002, is one of those days, and this drawing is my commemorative post. On that day, our elder son, Cornelius, 12, sang the boy solo in Bernstein's brilliant Chichester Psalms with The Oratorio Society of New York in Carnegie Hall. The boy solo evokes the shepherd David, who serenely sings Psalm 23 before and after an angry men's chorus sings the raging Psalm 2 (that angry bit came from a discarded West Side Story fragment). Cornelius sang under the direction of the warm, kind and talented Lyndon Woodside. It was an exciting evening (not to mention the rehearsals 2 days before in a cavernous church basement on Park Avenue). I took no photos during the concert, as I was firmly told not to (this was before you could sneak cell phone photos), so I couldn't really draw the stage with Cornelius singing, so I made these sketches from photos & video stills from before & after the concert, as I had taken a small film camera and a video camera with me. But after filming for a minute or two backstage during the warmup (which is how I got that image of Neilie standing in the giant doorway waiting to do a quick rehearsal) I was ordered to stop. I discovered the next day I'd accidentally--honest!--left the video camera on record when I put it in my purse and thus recorded all kinds of stuff, including a conversation with the wonderful woman who was in charge of Neilie's floor (I wish I remembered her name! She'd worked there years, was blonde & 50s, and nicely but firmly told me when it was time for me to leave my son & go to my seat--she would make sure Cornelius got on stage in time). As it turns out, I also recorded the entire Chichester Psalms. Since we did not sit close to the stage and my purse was zipped shut, the sound is super muffled, but it's there! Brad Harris was Neilie's voice teacher, and Brenda Harris is a fabulous opera singer, and was Neilie's mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors a few months before, and she has sung in Carnegie Hall more than a few times. We offered Neilie the option of sleeping in the next day but he went to school at 7:30 am because he didn't want to miss building rockets in first-period science.

    • Most Inspiring Experience

      Charlotte: Flying solo

      Growing up in a third-world country, all I've known of the greatest musicians had been through a screen. But in 2013, I had my first chance ever to see the Wiener Philharmoniker at the Carnegie Hall. A 21 year old kid, I commuted by myself for 5 hours to the City and I remember it was magical being in a historical hall, watching what was easily the pinnacle of classical music. I left a changed person, eternally moved by a profoundly transformative experience.

    • Favorite Concert

      Yakov Keiserman: An event to remember

      I was unemployed. On that night 1am Sunday i left my girlfriend, bought Sunday Times and boarded F train to go home. After going through help wanted ads i looked at arts and leisure section. It was a minor miracle that I noticed tiny postage stamp size ad about my dearest most precious favorite singer from France Mireille Mathieu performing at Carnegie Hall. My heart skipped quite a few beats. Needless to say first thing in the morning i ran through the snow, ice, pools of water to get tickets. In all my excitement i made a mistake and went to the Radio City. People at the box-office there had no clue and i nearly had a heart attack. Realizing finally my mistake i went to the Carnegie Hall , got a very good tickets in the orchestra for me and my girlfriend. The concert exceeded all very high expectations. My favorite singer is a petite lady but a giant of a singer. What a match, me, my girlfriend, Carnegie Hall and Mireille Mathieu. Memories of this event will stay with me for the rest of my life.

    • First Time

      Tom Ruppe: Country in Carnegie

      In 1969 I heard my first song by Tom T Hall at age of 17 and enjoyed his music and songs while working at a factory in S. Plainfield NJ 2 of my co-workers developed a love and admiration for Tom T Hall we were non-conformist compared to others in our age group as far as music went. When we heard Tom T and Johnny were coming to Carnegie we got tix right away. I don't recall the date in 72 or 73 when we went to see him but I recall walking into the concert area and looking around and said this is the Basilica of all Music Halls I also remember the kindness of the usher to 3 kids in their early 20's that was almost 45 years ago.

    • Fondest Memory

      Emmanuel Jerume: An Evening of Romance: Best Marriage Proposal Ever!

      On September 18, 2016, I had the great privilege of producing a classical music concert, featuring the Manhattan Chamber Players, in honor of my then-girlfriend Danielle LaJeunesse. I was able to surprise her, our family members, our friends and members of the general public (who were present for the soirée). The sole purpose of the concert was to use it as the backdrop to propose to Danielle… and she said YES. It took me over a year to plan surprise concert. Nonetheless, well worth the effort because it was an amazing and emotional night for me and Danielle. I will cherish the memory of this September night forever. The joke goes: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.” Now, I can change my answer to ‘fall in love and produce a classical concert for your girlfriend.’ Carnegie Hall is not just a New York institution and an icon. It is now a part of my life story and wherever I may find myself in the future, I will always have a piece of Carnegie Hall with me.

    • Most Inspiring Experience

      Paul Puccioni: Tom Paley returns to play at Carnegie Hall after a 66 year gap!

      The great Lead Belly played his last ever concert at Carnegie Hall in 1949. On that bill was a young musician called Tom Paley. Tom went on to form The New Lost City Ramblers and became a folk artist of world-renown. Tom Moved to England in the 1960s. I was putting on a tribute concert to Lead Belly called Lead Belly Fest at London's Royal Albert Hall with artists such as Van Morrison and Eric Burdon of the Animals. If I was paying tribute to the great bluesman I knew I needed Tom Paley to be on that bill. He was sensational! On the back of that concert I decided to bring the event to New York City and especially to Carnegie Hall because of Lead Belly's history with the venue. I secured artists such as Buddy Guy, Eric Burdon, Edgar Winter, Marky Ramone and many more. Included in this line up was 89 year old Tom Paley, now the last man alive to have shared a stage with Lead Belly. With the projector shining a huge image of Lead Belly onto the back wall, Tom Paley walked out to play with his son Ben. He sat down, looked around the hall and was perhaps transported back over half a century in that instant. He greeted the audience and began to play the tune "On a Monday" as he had done in 1949. It was spell-binding. Briefly, time had no meaning as the audience was transported to that special, transcendental place that can only be reached by listening to a genius immersed in their playing. Tom was no longer 89, but now a youthful man of 23 with his life ahead of him. He was wide-eyed and happy, sharing the stage again for the first time with the musical titan that is Lead Belly.

    • Fondest Memory

      Debbie Iannucci: Our Magical Night

      In 2008 my partner and I went to see the messiah together for the first time. She knew it was my favorite piece of music. We got to be in the first row a real treat. I watched my mary gibney conduct quietly in her seat, it brought tears to our eyes. One year later my Mary passed away from cancer so I am so happy we had that night back in 2008 at the messiah, now I return every year alone with a small amount of Mary's ashes so that she can enjoy every performance at Carnegie. As I listen to each note played I can still see mary conducting quietly enjoying the performance. Thank you Carnegie hall for giving us such a wonderful night/experience back in 2008 I will be there in 2016 in her honor remembering her life.

    • Most Unusual Experience

      Ana Paola: Andrew is for the Birds (Only they will be able to sing it)

      Some artists weave their way into our lives in a very intimate, and magical way. I first encountered Andrew Bird, when walking through a maze of warehouses on my way to work in Chicago. I had no idea the music would steal my heart. I have walked across a concert in Central Park, and as haunting as the music, he followed me, across the Pulaski Bridge, when I needed a pick-me-up for my stroll during a tough time in my life. I recall trying to capture how the fireflies lit up in time with the violin melody in Central Park. Some artists can inspire beyond their ability to even know us. I am looking forward to honoring a great musician this coming week. Thank you Carnegie Hall, for helping me to honor and enjoy the music of a very talented artist.

    • Fondest Memory

      Helene Feldman Szabo: My father, the violinist

      My father, Irving (Isadore) Feldman played Carnegie Hall as a violinist in the 1930's. As a child, in 1957, 1958 and 1959, I had my piano recital at Carnegie Hall from m the piano teachers guild. My last year, 1959, the judge for my recital was Van Cliburn's mother The grandeur of the recital hall is a memory I still have today.

    • Most Inspiring Experience

      Kathryn Mabry: MJ's "HEAL THE KIDS"

      On Valentine's Day 2/14/2001, I was blessed w/ tix from a fan club to attend Michael Jackson's campaign for his "Heal The Kids" foundation. I am an avid & loyal MJ fan & I felt privileged to attend this phenomenal event at this prestigious institution, in a box seat amongst a who's-who of celebrities, including one of his best friends, namely Elizabeth Taylor. To say I was inspired is understated, but visiting Carnegie Hall for my first time was forever memorable. I would return 11/21/2016 after winning tix to Christmas in NY which was exceptional & my ticket invited me to share my story. Thank you does not say enough!

    • First Time

      Ivy Pittman: Leontyne Price

      In September 1987 I had the pleasure of seeing Leontyne Price perform. It was my first time ever hearing a live opera singer. The magnitude of her voice gave me chills. The evening was magical for me. To this day I can still hear her voice and see her graciously bowing at the conclusion of her performance. It was truly a priceless experience.

    • Fondest Memory

      Rebecca M: Practice Practice Practice

      At an early age I took piano lessons. My six year old self didn't see the point of scales, and arpeggios. I hated fingering, and wanted to put the fingers I wanted, where I wanted. I remember always hearing music greats talk of Carnegie Hall, and it was always a dream of mine from those early years to play there. I would fantasize about playing there, never really thinking it would happen. A few years later, when I was 14, I started lessons from a new teacher, Mrs. Judith Fairchild. I never knew one person could make such a positive influence and impact on my life. She taught me to love scales, and that Bach fingering wasn't so bad. I started doing piano competitions, and after placing in an International Chopin Society competition, I got the news that I was invited to play at Carnegie Hall. It all seemed like this really long dream. When the day finally arrived that I walked inside the great hall, I pretty much took in every little detail as i walked through the historic building. I always figured that stepping out on stage, I would be a nervous wreck. But as I walked from side stage, towards the center, shining piano, I felt surprisingly calm and so humbled. I had the opportunity to play in such a rich and beautiful room, and all I wanted to do was play my heart out. Mrs. Judith, thank you for investing so much into me. Thank you for being such a huge part in my journey to Carnegie Hall. And above all, thank you for sharing this love of piano with me. To Carnegie Hall, thank you for providing such an awe-inspiring history of music that people have been able to enjoy for decades. This will always be a memory that I will cherish forever.

    • Most Inspiring Experience

      Misha Keylin: How I got to (perform as soloist at) Carnegie Hall at age 11

      When I immigrated to the USA at nine and was immediately accepted as a violin student by the legendary Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School, I had no idea that just a few years down the line I would be called on to perform Wieniawski's Polonaise No. 1 in A major in a concert titled "Artist to End Hunger" at Carnegie Hall on December 6, 1981. To have shared the stage that night with legendary classical figures such as Renee Scotto, Grace Bumbry, Cleveland Quarter, amongst others, this was a dream come true for me. Although I have gone on to perform in nearly 60 countries on five continents (including other Carnegie Hall performances), this is still probably the greatest professional experience that I have ever had. Long live the beautiful stage and the acoustics!

    • Fondest Memory

      Rebecca Melton: An Unforgettable Memory

      Growing up, there was never really a time that I can remember when I didn't know how to play piano. My older sisters had taught me since I was little. I took a break and played violin for a few years, but eventually I came back to piano. Piano was always where my heart was. When I was twelve I began taking formal lessons, and quickly went into competing as well. Most people know the old joke, how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Pracice Practice practice! Playing at Carnegie Hall was always a dream of mine since I was seven years old. It has always been a motivator for me as a musician, to put my heart into everything I do, and one day, maybe I would get to perform there. Fast forward a few years of competing, and after placing at an International Chopin Society competition, I was given the opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall when I was fifteen. The day I went to New York to play, was one of the most inspiring things. To walk through a building so rich with history and passion was surreal. During this time, my family broke the news to me that I had to stop taking lesions and doing competitions because we couldn't financially do it. Carnegie Hall was the last place that I've performed, and going in knowing that, I wanted to put every emotion into the song I played, leaving it all on the stage. Beethoven said, "To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable." I have continued to play piano for my church and have taken any opportunity I get to express myself through this great language of music. So thank you, to Carnegie Hall, for giving me the chance to show my love for music there.

    • Fondest Memory

      Linda Bornschein: JK Rowling

      What an amazing venue for JK Rowling to share her passion and mission with her Lumos foundation to get children out of institutions and back to their families! Seeing this amazing author and humanitarian speak was magnificent and then getting to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was icing on the most delicious of cakes! The world is so lucky to have the words of JK Rowling!

    • Most Inspiring Experience

      Keith Gibson: With Leonard Bernstein

      Performing with the Conductor Leonard Bernstein.

    • Most Inspiring Experience

      Darlene Morrow Brandt: The Spirits of Carnegie Hall

      I had played the violin since the age of 11, my teacher having been Jerry Kupchynsky, a disciple of Leopold Auer via his student Samuel Applebaum, father of Michael Tree. Like every young violinist, dreams of Carnegie Hall floated in my head and my heart. The old joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice, Practice, Practice!” made us laugh, but we practiced voraciously, hoping somehow that the old adage was true. Our teacher, “Mr. K,” however, overwhelmed us with practicality: “Don’t be a professional musician. You vill STARVE! Ees VERY deefeecult to become successful enough to support youself. Eenstead, seence you LOVE to play, SHARE that joy with little children and teach. That ees the NOBLEST profession!” Our parents, all being poor, were behind him 100%. So winning scholarships and competitions and becoming concertmaster of the university orchestra never beckoned me to performing, so deeply rooted was my dream of becoming a public school strings specialist, like my beloved teacher and mentor. When the university faculty sent Mr. Kupchynsky a letter that I had given the best senior recital in the university’s history and wrote me that I should study at Juilliard or Curtis and perform, I chose to teach. So it seemed highly unlikely that I would ever solo at Carnegie Hall. July of 1980, however, saw me auditioning to play fiddle for The Jimmy Sturr Orchestra, the premier band in the field of polka music. I auditioned cold, with no knowledge of the genre, except for hearing recordings the night before, in an arena filled with 6,000 people in Muskegon, Michigan, and made a hit with the audience. I got the job! The band played everywhere, from Polish Home small rooms to The Waldorf Astoria in New York City. We recorded in New York City and in Nashville and I became composer and arranger for the band as well, my song “Fiddlin’ Fred,” being a breakout hit on one of our albums. Then, in December of 1981 The Jimmy Sturr Orchestra booked a Christmas Show at…….Carnegie Hall. Carnegie Hall! My lifelong dream, however improbable, was about to become a reality. My mother sat proudly in the audience that evening of December 13, 1981, wishing my father, who had passed away four years earlier, was sitting beside her, when I walked out onto the stage to play a classical solo, an original Polish Mazurka, with piano accompaniment. In the wings, I thought, “Oh my! THIS IS CARNEGIE HALL! And I’m playing a solo. I am SO nervous!” And then I walked out into the center of the stage. I thought of all of the musical giants and geniuses who had played there, had graced that VERY stage stood exactly where I was standing, and the image was awe-inspiring. The moment was absolutely sacred. I looked up into the gorgeous ceiling of the hall and breathed in…deeply. Suddenly, the most inexplicable yet amazing calm came over me. A feeling swept my being that I was not alone. That the breath and spirit of each and all of those giants was not only still in the air, but was enveloping me with kindness, understanding, peace and, moreover, with comfort. I raised my violin to play and I have never played, nor probably ever will again, so flawlessly, beautifully and musically in my life. In that moment just before I had played, the spirits of Carnegie Hall called to me and my spirit rose up to meet them. My mother cried tears of joy, and when I said “I wish Daddy had been here too,” smiling through tears, she replied, “He was.”

    • Most Inspiring Experience

      Deborah: Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra

      Traveling through New England and then into Manhattan on the train to see Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra was just the best thing I've done in many years. Carnegie Hall is simply elegant and being there makes me feel privileged and most fortunate. Most people you ask on the street in New York City cannot tell you were Grand Central Station is, but everyone knows where Carnegie Hall can be found. The Shen Yun Orchestra was uplifting and deeply moving. The eastern and western instruments blend together so well and create a language that is new in the world today. And, the message of goodness calls to our very deepest selves to be better than we are. Just such a wonderful experience. We had good seats in the second tier so the views and the acoustics were marvelous. Even the children in the box next to us sat quietly mesmerized for the whole two hours. We look forward to seeing Shen Yun Orchestra at Carnegie Hall every October !

    • Fondest Memory

      Kaylee Steiner-Olson: A repeat visit

      In March of 2013, my high school orchestra travelled to NYC from a little town in California to participate in the National Band and Orchestra Festival. It was the most rewarding experience of my life. Being a part of that orchestra shaped who I am today and playing in one of the most prestigious concert halls in all of the world was simply incredible. Now, 3 years later, I will return. This time as an audience member. I cannot wait to enjoy the other side of the Carnegie experience.

    • First Time

      Norman Kaufman: Back to Carnegie Hall after 40+ Years

      In 1970 I attended two concerts at Carnegie Hall (First visits), both times for iconic folk singers: Tom Rush and Phil Ochs. Those may have been two of the most exciting concerts I've ever been to. I'm returning for the first time in 40+ years with tickets to Sunday night's Francesca Battistelli and Lauren Daigle concert. I can't wait! The atmosphere at Carnegie is always electric.

    • Fondest Memory

      Eric Shimelonis: A composer's dreams come true at Weill Recital Hall

      For many composers and musicians, F. Murray Abraham's portrayal of Antonio Salieri in the movie "Amadeus" resonates strongly with the creative challenges that we all face. Mr. Abraham won the 1984 Academy Award for that role, and I have looked up to him for decades. All of my wildest dreams came true in one evening, as this hero of mine sang a cycle of songs that I wrote for him, and in front of a sold-out audience in Weill Recital Hall. Mr. Abraham evoked the emotion and the meaning of these songs in such an extraordinary and moving way, as he was accompanied by my great friends and colleagues in the Voice Of The City Ensemble. My music was brought to life, with a dream cast of performers, and in the dreamiest of concert halls. This is a night that I will never forget!

    • First Time

      Carol: My first experience at Carnegie Hall

      In late October 2001, the month after the attack on the World Trade Center, a friend and I traveled from Oregon to New York (a trip we had planned for months) and I attended my first concert at Carnegie Hall. It was an orchestra I had dreamed of hearing in person, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, conducted by Herbert Blomstedt. It was a wonderful concert, and a dream come true. As my companion and I were leaving the theatre, the ushers suddenly started herding us quickly down the stairs toward the exits. I was quite disappointed, since I wanted to leisurely stroll out of the building and enjoy the experience. When we got outside, all we could see were fire trucks and police cars. It seemed they went on for blocks. Then we understood why the rush to get us outside. There had been a bomb threat. That was my first experience at Carnegie. My first concert should have been Martha Argerich, a day or two earlier, but she had cancelled her trip to New York because she wasn't comfortable making the flight that closely after the 9/11 attacks. Needless to say, I was thrilled that the Gewandhaus Orchestra didn't cancel. To top off our evening, limousines were giving rides for $5 anywhere that you wanted to go in the city because the city, at the time, was pretty quiet. So, we rode back to our hotel in style. What an interesting first experience at Carnegie Hall and one of my most treasured memories.

    • First Time

      Scott Thyberg: You can go home again

      I attended The Juilliard School from 75-79. During one of many renovations to the NY Philharmonic 's home at Lincoln Center, the orchestra took up residence at Carnegie Hall with a Mahler cycle. Hearing my teacher, John Cerminaro, featured in the 5th Symphony, was an experience I'll always treasure. The second time I was in Carnegie Hall, it was as a member of the National Orchestral Association.

    • Fondest Memory

      Raphael Klayman: Inside and outside Carnegie Hall

      To the aspiring violin student that I once was and later, to the professional violinist that I became, Carnegie Hall has always represented a very major focal point for the tradition of great musical performances and experiences. A few personal anecdotes stand out in my memory: I have had the pleasure and privilege to be on the stage of Carnegie Hall a number of times with a few different orchestras. On two occasions, with two different respective orchestras, I served as Concertmaster and had short solos to play. On two other occasions I was granted special permission to play privately on the stage while a colleague listened out in the hall, to help determine the relative projection of violins that I was comparing. Those experiences were strangely thrilling: Here I was in the almost empty legendary hall where Tchaikovsky conducted the inaugural concert, where Heifetz made his incendiary American debut, and I was adding my own sounds as best I could! Exciting and eerie! Some other colorful experiences happened to me just outside the Hall. Along the side of Carnegie, on 7th Avenue, I have seen a number of celebrities over the years going about their business, including Joe Franklin, Ben Stein and Sigourney Weaver. Honoring New York’s tradition of leaving celebrities alone, I never said anything to them. But once I saw Ravi Shankar and broke with that tradition. As a musician and, it so happened, as a ticket holder to Shankar’s recital for that very evening, I thought it would be OK to greet him and so I did. He was very nice and I told him that I looked forward to his performance later that evening. He thanked me and then asked me if I could do him a favor. I said “certainly, if I can”. He asked “could you direct me to the Artist’s Entrance?” His assistant chimed in “oh, you have forgotten, Panditji!”. I said that I’d be happy to and led the way. When we got to the entrance he asked me my name and thanked me again. I said so long in the traditional Indian way by putting my palms together in a prayerful salute. But he put out his right hand to shake mine, Western style! Finally, once while walking on 57th Street, on my way to the now sadly defunct music store, “Patelsons” just across the street from the Artists Entrance, a gentleman stopped me and asked me for help. Judging by his manner, accent and confused look, I assumed him to be a tourist from another country and was happy to try to assist him. “What can I do for you?” I asked. And then – I kid you not – he asked THE question: “Could you tell me how I can get to Carnegie Hall?” I paused for a brief moment to offer a silent prayer of gratitude for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and – yes, I said it: “Practice, practice, practice!” “Whaaaat???” came the befuddled response. “Sorry, I was joking. We are very close. Just come with me.” May the experiences and the music of Carnegie Hall be endless!

    • Fondest Memory

      Senior Year Capstone

      When I was a senior in high school, I decided I wanted to audition for the High School Honors Series at Carnegie Hall. I worked hard and was accepted into the concert choir. This would turn out to be most amazing experiences of my life. There are no words to describe how it felt to sing in Carnegie Hall. Walking out on stage, I just had this feeling of awe. Here I was where so many amazing performers had been before me. I think back about it, and I get emotional. Singing at Carnegie Hall will be one of the most amazing experiences I will ever have in my entire life.

    • Most Inspiring Experience

      Isha Sakhalkar: High School Orchestra Trip, April 2015

      It was my senior year, and our string orchestra was lucky enough to be invited to play at the New York International Music Festival. Our spirits were soaring, our hearts racing with anticipation throughout our trip to New York. That first tuning note we played on the stage during warm-up was the most beautiful moment we had ever experienced together. The way the sound lifted into the auditorium and seemed to resonate deep within us...it was a moment of magic. Towards the end of our performance, we looked up to see our conductor wiping away tears--the surprise and emotion brought us all to tears too! We had been a fairly close group before, but playing together at Carnegie Hall truly made us a family.

    • First Time

      Robert Joles: The Silence of Carnegie Hall

      In March of 2009, I was on an extended business stay in NYC from Los Angeles. I discovered that the Vienna Philharmonic would be playing three evenings and then moving on to L.A. with this same tour program. Maestro Zubin Mehta was the conductor for that tour, and growing up in Los Angeles, I had seen him conduct the LA Phil many times. The evening I was to attend at Carnegie Hall, they had programmed Arnold Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht and Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 9. I was seated in the upper balcony and could see the stage and hear everything perfectly. The first half was the Schoenberg with just the string section. Maestro Mehta was, as usual, conducting from memory. It was so beautiful and lush. Almost other worldly. After intermission it was time for the full forces of the entire Vienna Philharmonic and Bruckner's Symphony No. 9: 3 Flutes, 3 Oboes, 3 Clarinets, and 3 Bassoons, 5 French Horns, 4 Wagner Tuben, 4 Trumpets, 4 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani and Strings. A huge number of musicians on stage (not to mention on tour!) and all being carefully controlled by Maestro Mehta. It was so very emotional and the contingent from Vienna played magnificently. At the end of Bruckner 9, it ends very quietly with only the brass playing a diminuendo fading down to niente, nothing. And when all of the sound from the brass had completely died away, Maestro Mehta kept his arms up after his cutoff for a full 10 seconds and you could literally hear a pin drop. The silence was deafening. And when Maestro Mehta finally lowered his arms the entire audience erupted in a standing ovation that was so well deserved of these visiting musicians and their conductor. However, what was so very interesting to me was seeing so many children, some as young as 9 or 10, sitting completely still and not fussing in the slightest during the entire program! They were as mesmerized by the music as myself and the other adults in attendance. It was a glorious evening of transcendent music that I will never forget.

    • Fondest Memory

      Gretsch at Carnegie Hall: Capturing a Moment In Time

      It’s said that every picture tells a story. Well, there are a multitude of stories connected with this historic picture. The occasion, the setting, and many of the individuals depicted in the photo all have fascinating histories associated with them. Let’s start with the occasion. The photo was taken December 29, 1945—just a few months after the end of the Second World War. The management team of the Fred Gretsch Musical Instrument Company had gathered in Brooklyn to set a course for the second half of the 20th century. Their decision: Go full speed ahead with professional instruments. To commemorate their decision the team traveled across the East River to Manhattan. There they planned to join with some of the leading drummers and percussionists of the day for a photo to be taken with a selection of Gretsch drums. Of course, such a historic photo called for an equally historic location, which brings us to the setting. The sheer number of people to be included in the photo called for a sizeable area. The fact that notable musicians were to be involved called for a musical venue. So it made sense to hold the photo session on the stage of a concert hall. And what New York City concert hall could be more famous—or more respected—than Carnegie Hall? Aside from its own legendary musical history, Carnegie Hall had a special attraction for the Gretsch team. Directly across the street was Steinway Hall, which was the headquarters of another venerable family-owned music business—and the two companies had much in common. In 1853 German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway founded Steinway & Sons in Manhattan. In 1883 German immigrant Friedrich Gretsch founded the Gretsch Company in Brooklyn. That brings us to the people in the photo. Regrettably, the names of the gentlemen at the far left and far right have been lost to history. The others, starting from the second on the left, are: Saul Goodman, James Crawford, Mary McClanahan, Frank Kutak, Gus Helmecke, Art Neu, Viola Smith, Bernie Benson, Fred Gretsch Jr., Duke Kramer, Phil Grant, Richard Dickson, William Walter Gretsch, and Al Moffatt Sr. Following is just a bit of information about this fascinating group. The unique photograph presented here—and all the back-story that goes with it—depicts just a single moment within the 133-year history of the company that bears the Gretsch family name. Thank you for this opportunity to share a special moment in time, Dinah Gretsch, Sr. VP, the Gretsch Company.

    • Fondest Memory

      C. Fisk: Keeping the legend alive

      I moved to New York City when I was 21, and quickly became a New Yorker. I loved everything that was "old New York," so of course that included Carnegie Hall. Visiting the legendary venue for the first time was only awe inspiring, and I returned whenever I could to soak in its grandeur. When my teenage nephew came for his first visit to NYC years later I made sure to include a concert at the hall as part of his tour. Although he only played the trumpet in his small high school's concert band, he was just as struck by the magnificence of the great hall as I always was. I knew I had passed the baton to the next generation to continue to support and cherish beloved Carnegie Hall.

    • Fondest Memory

      Susan Prince: Through the eyes of a child...

      My Grandmother was a Carnegie Hall regular. When I was six years old, she decided that it was time to introduce me to the experience of orchestral classical music. I loved to sing, and I adored her, so our regular trips to West 57th Street were thrilling to me. Although I couldn't sing along, I enjoyed listening, and without realizing, memorized much of the music. Our trips to Carnegie Hall lasted until I went away to high school. Still singing, I chose Mannes College of Music in New York to continue my career in music. Thanks to my being introduced to great music at Carnegie Hall by my precious Grandmother, my life has been enriched, and I found a career as a disk jockey on classical music radio stations. These many years later, Carnegie Hall remains a favorite. Walking through the doors my mind is flooded with the precious memories of holding Grandmother's hand, being led down the aisle to our regular seats.

    • First Time

      My Carnegie Moment - Florence Foster Jenkins, and me

      Thanks to Laura Osnes, Paramount Pictures, and Florence Foster Jenkins, on the 12th of July 2016, I got to debut at Carnegie Hall singing Part of Your World from Disney's The Little Mermaid on my first ever visit to Carnegie and NYC. The experience was something I'll never forget. This was the first song I ever sang in front of anyone when I first started singing in middle school, the only song at the time that I felt I ever sounded good singing, because it was something I used to be very afraid to do. Ariel's song is the reason I still sing today. I wouldn't be studying vocal music as a voice major in college had I not rediscovered The Little Mermaid in middle school and felt such a deep connection with it as I still feel today. I don't know where my path would've gone without it so present my life. The event was called "My Carnegie Moment" in partnership with the film Florence Foster Jenkins, on how her dream was to sing at Carnegie and how she made that a reality. Broadway star Laura Osnes with Paramount on Twitter picked me and a handful of other singers to make that dream a reality for us! I have always fantasized about singing here, little did I know that it would actually happen, and sooner than I would've thought. Having Laura Osnes's guidance during this was just the icing on the cake! She was the perfect mentor with her vast talent and experience. She's also from my hometown in Minnesota! She coached me on expressing my favorite song in this incredible setting and I did everything in my power to make it a performance I could be proud of. This was my first time I got to really visit New York City so I got to check off seeing my first Broadway show, first time in Times Square, first time in Central Park- all the big sites I've always wanted to see and heard so much about. And what an honor it was to sing here at the legendary Carnegie Hall. I'll always remember the way it felt to be on that stage and see and feel that iconic panorama of lights and seats in the house from the stage. It was hard not to be nervous, but once I really got into the song, all fears melted away and it felt so natural. To date, this is the largest space I've ever sang in. It's an absolutely gorgeous venue. As a soloist, you can really see the massive size and scope of this historic space and it feeds your performance and gives you such a rush. Spine-tingling, surreal, incredible, priceless. Because of a few significant negative factors in my life, I had grown up often settling with the fact that I'd never get a chance to be a star, never to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight, but I'm so grateful to everyone who granted me this opportunity to shine if only for a moment as it was simply beyond my wildest dreams. This has motivated me to work even harder seeing clearly that my dreams are in sight and can be achieved. Now Florence Foster Jenkins and I have in common that we've sang here- only I do hope I wasn't as blissfully off-key as she was. But I know that it was our same passion for singing that brought us to this stage, and that every voice indeed deserves to be heard.

    • Fondest Memory

      Pam Bridges: A Rising Star

      When my daughter was a student at MSM she invited me to one of her friend's violin concert. I was in awe at not only her performance but the regal concert hall and majestic decor of the famed Carnegie Hall venue. I knew I just had to return some day and hopefully for my own daughter's performance. Although it's been 11 years since my first awe-inspiring visit, the day is fast approaching as I anticipate seeing and hearing my own daughter, Miss J'nai Bridges, perform in celebration of the great Mezzo-Soprano, Miss Marilyn Horne. This will surely be my "fondest memory" of visiting the esquisite Carnegie Hall!