(August 4, 2021, NEW YORK, NY)— Carnegie Hall today announced that it will reopen its doors to the public on Wednesday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m., adding a celebratory Opening Night Gala performance to its fall concert schedule. The festive evening will feature The Philadelphia Orchestra joined by renowned pianist Yuja Wang under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The event launches Carnegie Hall’s 2021—2022 season with the first performance in the famed Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage following the Hall’s unprecedented 18-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are delighted to welcome musical friends—Yannick, Yuja, and The Philadelphia Orchestra—to open our new season, grateful for their collaboration in planning this special evening,” said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director. “The last 18 months have been an incredibly challenging for everyone. While the arts have continued to provide solace and connection for people around the world, there is no substitute for experiencing the power of live music together. Music and cultural events are a fundamental part of what makes New York such a great city, and it will be thrilling to have everyone back in the Hall after such a long time.”
Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night program will begin with a new work by Valerie Coleman titled Seven O’Clock Shout. Commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra, it is an anthem in response to COVID-19, honoring frontline workers and celebrating the strength of human connection even during times of isolation. Yuja Wang will join Maestro Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestra as soloist for Rachmaninoff’s passionate and beloved Piano Concerto No. 2. The performance will continue with another topical Philadelphia commission—Iman Habibi’s Jeder Baum spricht—a rhapsodic reflection on the climate crisis written in dialogue with Beethoven’s music. The finale of this exciting event will be Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
Mercedes T. Bass and Hope and Robert F. Smith are the Gala Lead Chairmen for Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala event. The Gala Chairmen Committee currently includes Maral and Sarkis Jebejian, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Beatrice Santo Domingo, David M. Siegel and Dana Matsushita, and S. Donald Sussman. PwC is the Opening Night Gala Lead Sponsor for the 18th consecutive season, and Dennis M. Nally, Retired Chairman, PwC, Roy Weathers, Vice Chairman, PwC, and Brad Silver, New York Office Managing Partner, PwC are the Corporate Chairmen for the event. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is the Opening Night Gala Dinner Sponsor.
This evening benefits Carnegie Hall’s artistic and education programs. Gala packages include either a pre-concert cocktail reception at Carnegie Hall or a post-concert black-tie dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street. For more information about Opening Night, please visit carnegiehall.org/OpeningNight2021. The Hall will continue to monitor the COVID-19 landscape, providing any future updates to Opening Night plans as needed.
Carnegie Hall has been closed to the public since March 13, 2020 due to COVID-19, the longest closure period in the Hall’s 130-year history. Since the start of the pandemic, the Hall has worked with various leading medical and public health experts to develop protocols to mitigate risk and create the safest environment possible for all. Beginning with its reopening this fall, Carnegie Hall has committed to being a fully vaccinated building; everyone—including artists, audience members, staff, and other visitors—will need to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 using a vaccine approved by the World Health Organization in order to enter the premises. “As we look forward to celebrating the start of our new season together, the health and well-being of everyone at Carnegie Hall has to be our top priority,” said Mr. Gillinson.
This Opening Night event launches a 2021–2022 season with more than 100 performances presented on Carnegie Hall’s three stages and across New York City, plus a wide range of music education and social impact programming created by the Hall’s Weill Music Institute. Presented from October through June, the season will include appearances by many of the world’s greatest artists and ensembles encompassing classical, jazz, and popular music. As New York City continues to reopen, the Hall continues to assess further additions to its fall 2021 concert schedule with any additional programming updates announced later this summer.
About the Artists
Celebrated for her charismatic artistry and captivating stage presence, Beijing-born pianist Yuja Wang was encouraged to pursue music at an early age, starting piano lessons at the age of six and studying at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music. She moved to Canada in 1999 and became the youngest student ever enrolled at Mount Royal Conservatory. Ms. Wang was appointed as a Steinway Artist in 2001 and accepted a place at the Curtis Institute of Music to begin studying piano with Gary Graffman, the following year. After graduating from Curtis in 2008, she went on to be an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, prompting Gramophone to name her as its 2009 Young Artist of the Year after the debut of her first album. The following year, Ms. Wang was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. She earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for her 2011 recording of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Claudio Abbado, and was named Musical America’s Artist of the Year in 2017. Ms. Wang made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2009 and was a Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist in the 2018–2019 season.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin is currently in his ninth season as music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra and will lead the ensemble through at least the 2025–2026 season, an extraordinary and significant long-term commitment. Additionally, he became the third music director in the history of New York’s Metropolitan Opera in August 2018. This consolidates his professional activity around two of the world’s pre-eminent artistic organizations, concentrating and honing his musical future.
Mr. Nézet-Séguin made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2012, leading The Philadelphia Orchestra in his inaugural season as music director and has since made regular appearances at the Hall, including as a Perspectives artist in the 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 seasons. He has been artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal’s Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000 and, in 2017, became the third-ever honorary member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He is honorary conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was chief conductor from 2008 to 2018, and enjoys close collaborations with leading orchestras as one of the most sought-after conductors in the world.
A native of Montreal, Mr. Nézet-Séguin studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec and continued his studies with renowned conductor Carlo Maria Giulini; he also studied choral conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt at Westminster Choir College. Among his honors are an appointment as Companion of the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honors; Musical America’s 2016 Artist of the Year; and honorary doctorates from the Université du Québec, Curtis Institute of Music, Westminster Choir College, McGill University, and University of Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia Orchestra first appeared at Carnegie Hall in November 1902 and has since performed at the Hall nearly 800 times. Renowned for its distinctive sound, it is one of the world’s pre-eminent orchestras, striving to share the transformative power of music with the widest possible audience, and to create joy, connection, and excitement through music through its concerts in the Philadelphia region, across the country, and around the world. Through innovative programming, robust educational initiatives, and commitment to the community, the ensemble is on a path to create an expansive future for classical music, and to further the place of the arts in an open and democratic society.
Through concerts, tours, residencies, and recordings, the Orchestra is a global ambassador for Philadelphia and the United States. It performs annually at Carnegie Hall. the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in New York—a venue that was built for the Orchestra—and the Bravo! Vail Music Festival. The Orchestra began touring in the earliest days of it founding. It was the first American orchestra to perform in the People’s Republic of China in 1973, launching a now-five decade-commitment of people-to-people exchange. Today, the orchestra has multi-year partnerships with the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, the Shanghai Media Group, ShanghaiTech University, and the Shanghai Philharmonic.
As part of its commitment to bringing classical music to audiences wherever they may be, the Orchestra returned to recording under Mr. Nézet-Séguin’s leadership with a CD on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Leopold Stokowski transcriptions of works by Bach and Stravinsky. To date, there have been an additional nine releases, including Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and all four piano concertos with pianist Daniil Trifonov, Bernstein’s MASS, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8. These continue the Orchestra’s remarkable history in this area, having made its first recording in 1917 and amassing an enormous discography in the intervening years.
The Orchestra also currently makes live recordings available on popular digital music services such as iTunes and Amazon, among others. Beginning in Mr. Nézet-Séguin’s inaugural season the Orchestra has also returned to the radio airwaves, with weekly Sunday afternoon broadcasts on WRTI-FM. And, in 2017, the Orchestra launched a national radio series on SiriusXM, making it the only American orchestra to provide exclusive content to SiriusXM on a regular basis.
In March 2020, in response to the cancellation of concerts due the COVID-19 pandemic, the Orchestra launched the Virtual Philadelphia Orchestra, a portal hosting video and audio of performances, free, on its website and social media platforms. In September 2020 the Orchestra announced Our World NOW, its reimagined season of concerts filmed without audiences and presented on its Digital Stage. Our World NOW also included free offerings: HearTOGETHER, a series on racial and social justice; educational activities; and small ensemble performances from locations throughout the Philadelphia region.
Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
CARNEGIE HALL’S OPENING NIGHT GALA
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor
Yuja Wang, Piano
VALERIE COLEMAN Seven O’Clock Shout
RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18
IMAN HABIBI Jeder Baum spricht
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67