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Tuesday, May 31 at 8 p.m. – Great Performances presents Carnegie Hall @ 120: An Anniversary Celebration

(Rochester, NY) – WXXI celebrates the 120th anniversary of Carnegie Hall with Carnegie Hall @ 120: An Anniversary Celebration, airing Tuesday, May 31 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11). The all-star gala concert features conductor Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic, and special guests pianist Emanuel Ax, cellist Yo-Yo Ma,  violinist Gil Shaham, and the four-time Tony Award-winning singer and actress Audra McDonald. The works of Ludwig von Beethoven, Duke Ellington, Antonin Dvořák, and George Gershwin will all be aired as part of Great Performances.

The eclectic, crowd-pleasing program is set to include Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in C major, Op. 56, performed by Ax, Ma, and Shaham, a selection of Duke Ellington songs – including Solitude, Sophisticated Lady, On a Turquoise Cloud, and It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing -- performed by McDonald, and full performances of Antonin Dvořák’s Carnival Overture and George Gershwin’s An American in Paris Dvořák conducted his Carnival Overture with the Boston Symphony at Carnegie Hall when he came to New York to assume his post as director of the National Conservatory of Music on October 21, 1892.

Gershwin’s An American in Paris was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, and conducted by Walter Damrosch in the New York premiere on December 13, 1928 at Carnegie Hall. (The concert hall was the home base of the New York Philharmonic until the orchestra moved to its current location at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in 1962.)

Ellington played his first historic Carnegie Hall concert on January 23, 1943, beginning an extraordinary series of concerts there of his long-form works.
In the late 1800’s, New York City was emerging as an international capital, and composers were flourishing in the classical world. In 1891, Carnegie Hall, founded by industrialist and entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie, opened its doors as simply “Music Hall” on May 5, 1891 with none other than Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conducting. It was renamed “Carnegie Hall” in 1893 when Carnegie allowed the use of his name and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962.

Photo: Conductor Alan Gilbert leads the New York Philharmonic during a special Carnegie Hall 120th Anniversary concert.
Credit: Courtesy of Chris Lee

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