May 5 ~  For Me, Carnegie Hall Embracing the Present

"For me, Carnegie Hall was the Holy Grail, the be-all and end-all of musical life in this country for all performing artist." ~ Isaac Stern

Classical: Instrumental On this day in 1891, Carnegie Hall, "one of the most beautiful music halls in the world," opened at the corner of 57th and 7th Avenue in New York City.

Named after steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, the prestigious building was designed by a 30-year-old architect, William Burnet Tuthill.

The 2,804-seat landmark was inaugurated with a five-day festival which featured guest conductor Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The New York Times praised the acoustics and architecture with the headline, "It Stood the Test Well."

As writer Carter B. Horsley recently remarked, "Carnegie Hall... has become the definitive embodiment of the ne plus ultra, the attainment of extraordinary excellence. For over a century, it has been the dream and crowning achievement of every musician to perform at Carnegie Hall."

Celebrated violinist Isaac Stern was credited with saving Carnegie Hall from demolition in 1960. He lobbied ardently for preservation. "I could not see the one building that represented the American tradition of music internationally be torn down," he explained. Just before a crucial deadline, the city purchased "The Place Where Music Lives" for $5 million.

"As soon as you hear the sound of a voice here," explained tenor Placido Domingo, "you know why Carnegie Hall has its reputation."

Music is a revelation of wisdom and philosophy.