Music returns to Carnegie Hall


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Carnegie Hall is pictured in New York City. The famed music venue reopened Oct. 6 after a lengthy close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jocelyn Wright, Entertainment Editor

Carnegie Hall. Saying the name calls to mind glitz and glamor, extravagant music performances, and standing ovations from star-struck audiences. Many musicians dream of performing in its hallowed halls.

If you recall, Spring-Ford’s high school choir was lucky enough to perform there in 2019, numbering them among the countless other talented musicians that have performed over the decades.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carnegie Hall closed to protect its performers and the swathes of people that come to watch them. This was the first full season that it had missed in its 130 years of existence. Thankfully, as vaccination numbers rose this fall, the doors reopened Oct. 6 after nearly 19 months of silence.

“After 572 days, it gives me the greatest joy to say welcome back to Carnegie Hall,” Clive Gillinson, the executive and artistic director of the famed concert venue, told fans on opening night.

In order to keep everyone safe, new ventilation measures were enacted and all audience and staff members were vaccinated. A decent percentage of the musicians also elected to wear masks (black, of course, to match their concert attire). On the note of concert attire, conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin made quite the statement with a purple, patterned-velvet blazer and peach silk trousers. He may be a musical genius, but his outfit choices can be dubious.

Opening night’s performance — also livestreamed on the internet — featured Yannick Nézet-Séguin, pianist Yuja Wang and the Philadelphia Orchestra. They began the performance with a new piece, “7 O’Clock Shout,” which was written by Valerie Coleman in the midst of the pandemic. The piece draws inspiration from the shouts in the streets of New York City each day at 7 o’clock to honor the front-line healthcare workers who fought tirelessly against the pandemic. Coleman was present during the performance and was brought to tears by the overwhelming positivity and support. 

“It means so much. It tells me this piece has a place in the cannon,” said Coleman. “It tells me the message for the piece of solidarity, that we can survive this pandemic, and this message of humanity is something that aligns with Carnegie Hall and Philadelphia orchestra. I think when that happens from a musical standpoint it moves mountains. It’s magical.”

Carnegie Hall will only be holding 100 shows this season, as opposed to the regular 150. Yet, there is no better way to open than with an adoring audience, the anthem of unity, and a rightfully-deserved standing ovation.