Ask people about Carnegie Hall and they will likely talk about a grand hall where people listen to the classics and reminisce about iconic performers from the past. But Carnegie Hall is much more than that. Over the years, it has hosted debut performances of visionary orchestral compositions and carried forward a commitment to commissioning new works from artists across all genres of music. Suffragettes and civil rights leaders have stood on the stage to give speeches that changed the world. From Duke Ellington to Johnny Cash, The Beatles to Davie Bowie, some of the most popular artists across genres have played on the Carnegie Hall stage to countless numbers of adoring fans.
“At its core, Carnegie Hall is about bringing together the greatest musicians and music in the world, and then finding a way to share them as widely as possible,” says Gillinson. “When I arrived at Carnegie Hall, I felt that I was in the presence of a sleeping giant. It’s such an extraordinary place, but there was so much untapped potential.”
Under the leadership of Gillinson, Carnegie Hall has expanded its reach to communities across New York and around the world. Today Carnegie Hall might present a jazz concert one night and host a film premiere the next. The audience might be adults ready for a night of raucous stand-up comedy or crowds of excited children ready to experience music in person for the first time.
Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute has grown tremendously with education and social impact programs that reach more than 800,000 people every year. There’s Link Up, the Hall’s longest-running music education program, which delivers hands-on music education through partner orchestras around the United States and worldwide. The Lullaby Project connects new and expecting parents with professional musicians to create and perform personal lullabies for their newborns, supporting maternal health while strengthening the bond between parent and child. Musical Connections works with men at Sing Sing Correctional Facility to build a sense of identity and hope through music.
That’s just a fraction of the programs delivered by Carnegie Hall. In recent years, Carnegie Hall has increased the use of its digital channels to reach even more people around the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Carnegie Hall rapidly expanded the number of digital programs to entertain and educate parents, families, and music fans alike who suddenly found themselves stuck at home. According to Gillinson, many of these programs are here to stay.
“There’s nothing quite like the magic of experiencing music in person, but digital will remain a central and complementary part of what we do to reach eager audiences who may never have the opportunity to visit Carnegie Hall,” he says.
Carnegie Hall offers new opportunities for people to experience all types of music, performed by great musicians. Photo by Chris Lee.