a famous French poet, novelist, playwright and essayist of the nineteenth
century once said, ‘Music expresses that which cannot be put into
words and cannot remain silent.’
The world renowned Carnegie Hall is a concert venue
that embraces a range of spectacular music from all genres, reuniting
various musicians, singers and entertainers as they express their
inner emotions. The stunning venue was originally entitled the Music
Hall; however, in 1893, the name changed to Carnegie Hall, in honour
of Andrew Carnegie. It has become a world-renowned place, minutes
away from Broadway’s steamy lights and only a thought away from
music lovers’ hearts.
Carnegie Hall opened its doors on May 5, 1891; 120
years later, harmonious melodies and tunes still live within the
prestigious venue’s walls and high ceilings. Carnegie Hall’s three
stages have filled a number of people with absolute musical splendour.
As this year marks the 120th anniversary of Carnegie
Hall, it also marks an eventful year of celebration. Carnegie Hall
is truly a remarkable venue where many aspiring young musicians
yearn to be.
On April 12, 2011, a month before the Hall’s official
anniversary, James Taylor, whose first appearance at the Hall was
in 1971, joined a number of other guests to celebrate the birth
of a wonderful place in the Isaac Stern Auditorium on the Perelman
Stage. The star-studded evening was filled with song, laughter,
joy and fun, spreading a range of emotions amongst more than 600
audience members. The concert recollected on certain previous performances
that had, one time or another, taken over the historically remarkable
As well as celebrating the 120th anniversary of Carnegie
Hall, the concert was a benefit for Carnegie Hall’s Weil Music Institute,
an artistic and educational programme.
‘Tonight, we celebrate 120 years of Carnegie Hall. When
we think of Carnegie Hall, we usually think of classical music.
But all kinds of people have performed on this stage … Carnegie
has always brought the world of music to this stage. And tonight,
that tradition continues,’ said Taylor as he presented the
Taylor opened the performance with Irving Berlin’s
‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’. During the concert, various
images were projected on the back wall, a certain element that provoked
an artistically visual effect. As Taylor’s first song came to an
end, an image of Carnegie Hall’s main entrance appeared, reminding
the audience of one of the many features they were gathered together
Steve Martin, not only a comedian, but also an actor,
author, producer and playwright, shared his musical talent as his
fast moving fingers played the banjo.
Bette Midler, an actress and also a woman with an expressively
moving voice, added a spark of drama, a lot of energy and liveliness
to the songs she spectacularly sung.
Barbara Cook, who landed in numerous Broadway productions,
gave the audience a taste of her ability to make the room a show
of its own as her voice wonderfully created a scene in itself. She
is recognized for her vocal ability and strong emotional interpretations
which she admirably conveyed on stage.
Without a microphone, Dianne Reeves, a jazz vocalist,
exposed and revealed her strong and amazingly powerful voice. The
audience was captivated and greatly enthused by the power of her
Composer, singer, author, activist and actor, Sting,
performed his first song of the night ‘Penny Lane’ by the Beatles.
Before leaving the stage he was joined by Taylor, Martin and the
Tanglewood Festival Chorus to sing ‘How Sweet It Is’. The Young
People’s Chorus of New York accompanied them as they sang, ‘Shower
Actor and comedian, Kevin Pollak, was also one of the
artists of the evening who performed an act by comedian Lenny Bruce.
The 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, also made
his way on stage to tell people about the value and importance of
As the evening was coming to a close, Taylor, alongside
his wife, Caroline, performed ‘You Can Close Your Eyes’.
Taylor sang one of Judy Garland’s hits, ‘Over the Rainbow’,
which drew the hour and forty-five minute performance to an end.
It was a night awaited for by many, and it will be
one that shall be remembered by all. Carnegie Hall has come to represent
the art and beauty that music outstandingly generates. •
Caroline and James Taylor
Kevin Pollak and Steve Martin
Lola Saab is Paris editor of Lucire.