Carnegie Hall Announces 2011-12 Season; WQXR Broadcasts

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Carnegie Hall announced its 2011-12 season on Wednesday, plans which include a celebration of the hall's 120th anniversary, a $200 million renovation project, and the launch of a new broadcast arrangement with WQXR and American Public Media.

Among the highlights announced at a news conference was "American Mavericks," a festival of American composers featuring the San Francisco Symphony; two "Perspectives" series, with one curated by Hungarian pianist András Schiff and a second by the period-instrument ensemble L’Arpeggiata; and the rotating Debs Composer's Chair will be held by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.

The season opens October 5 with a gala all-Russian concert featuring the Mariinsky Orchestra, conductor Valery Gergiev and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. October continues with four more Mariinsky concerts, spanning a complete Tchaikovsky symphony cycle. The Russian composer made his American debut conducting at Carnegie Hall’s inaugural Opening Night on May 5, 1891.

Other major orchestras to appear include the Berlin Philharmonic, MET Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra.

Also announced is a new broadcasting arrangement with WQXR and American Public Media that will start this spring and continue through the 2011-2012 season. Twenty Carnegie Hall performances will be broadcast to a nationwide audience, twelve of them live. The hall’s 120th Anniversary Gala on May 5 will be taped to air on WQXR and on May 31. That program, featuring the New York Philharmonic, takes place 120 years after the hall first opened its doors.

The full schedule of 2011-2012 live broadcasts will be announced at a later date.

The plans for the renovation of Carnegie Hall Towers and its extensive but cramped backstage facilities will get fully underway in 2011. The project, which has a targeted opening date of 2014, will create space for Carnegie’s education wing, known as the Weill Music Institute, and will include practice and rehearsal rooms and access to a new roof deck.

In 2007, the hall announced it would be repurposing the two city-owned towers -- one 12 stories high, the other 16 – that for decades housed more than 100 studios and apartments for musicians, painters, dancers and actors. The move to evict the tenants met resistance from several residents who waged a years-long legal battle against New York City and the developers. The last remaining tenant left last August.

So far the hall has received a $25 million lead gift from Weill, while some of the financing for the renovations -- $56.5 million -- will come from city-backed bonds.

Clive Gillinson, Carnegie's executive and artistic director, noted that the renovated facilities will make hall more attractive to visiting performers in an increasingly competitive market. “It’s not that great orchestras won’t come,” he said. “They’ll come less often. As a result, we have to provide the best of everything.”

The hall also announced the redesign of its Web site for the first time since 2000. The new site, due to launch this spring, will include a larger array of educational resources and multimedia offerings.

Clive Gillinson on the WQXR / APM Broadcast Series:


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Comments [5]

Kenneth Bennett Lane

CARNEGIE HALL's 120th anniversary, with Tschaikovsky himself conducting at its opening ceremony on May 5th, 1891, has throughout its history been the mecca of greats in music, the arts, politics and the sciences. I myself have performed many times in the formerly known Recital Hall, now called the Weill Concert Hall, and four times in the main hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium three times in solo concerts.
Beyond the beauty of the surroundings, the acoustics are deservedly world recognized. Elsa Fiedler, the sister of Arthur Fiedler, renowned conductor of the Boston "Pops" Orchestra and Robert Malone, who studied with Traubel's teacher Vetta-Karst, were two of my teachers who had studios there. No other concert hall has the aura of such diverse top drawer personalities. Kudos to all concerned for Carnegie's education wing to be known as the Weill Music Institute opening in 2014.

Jan. 20 2011 07:42 PM
perry johnson from Long Beach, NY

As an opera fan and a long time subscriber to public broadcasting/ ny public radio and the former WQXR I was elated when opera/classical radio broadcasting was saved by the merger into NYC. I share the observations of others, equally distressed over the really awful quality and miniscule range/lack of wattage of the WQXR signal. I hope that all NYC's "little grey cells" are concentrated on finding a solution to the problem. e.g., a significant improvement in the broadcast wattage for the 105.9 frequency. To have the product of the finest music broadcasting sent out on the equivalent of a crystal radio is beyond words. Get some big guns, radio geniuses on this and give our WQXR Phoenix the wings it deserves! Thank you

Jan. 20 2011 12:23 PM

Apparently, it is time to review the process by which WQXR was saved from extinction. The old station at 96.3 was a commercial enterprise, dependent on advertising sales for its existence. As ratings shrank and surveys showed the audience growing older, the station's revenues dwindled. The station's owner, The New York Times Company, was facing other business pressures and could not afford to underwrite WQXR's losses.

Enter Universal NBC, which offered a massive sum for the 96.3 frequency for one of its Latino stations. The TIMES could have simply sold the frequency outright and consigned classical music radio to oblivion.

Instead, they called WNYC president Laura Walker and negotiated an elaborate swap. WQXR would move to the frequency NBC was giving up, 105.9. All of WQXR's library and much of its talent and programming would continue at the new address. New York Public Radio and its supporters have ponied up some $4-million to make this happen, and other costs lie ahead.

It is regrettable that listeners north of the city are experiencing difficulties, but there is no reason the expect a change in this situation. The internet does offer WQXR in high def.

Jan. 20 2011 01:01 AM
Barbara Klion from Westchester County

Any way to improve the frequency of your station- it is so full of static most of the day - I am bereft - am sadly switching sometimes to 89.9 when they play classical music. Surely you have been getting other complaints.

Jan. 19 2011 07:43 PM
noel manning

please bring back wqxr to 96.3fm frequency.

Jan. 19 2011 03:03 PM

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