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03 April 2010

Ray Charles In Carnegie Hall At 100: A Place Of Dreams (1989)

Carnegie Hall At 100: A Place Of Dreams marked the centenary celebration of Carnegie Hall, introduced by Isaac Stern, with clips from numerous film and television productions produced over the years. Ray was interviewed.
This special was produced in 1989; it originally aired on PBS on January 2, 1991.
Produced and directed by Peter Rosen in association with Carnegie Hall.

The program included historical performances from Carnegie Hall, as well as memories from those who have played there: Leonard Bernstein, Victor Borge, Van Cliburn, Aaron Copland, Jascha Heifetz, Marilyn Horne, Vladimir Horowitz, Yo-Yo Ma, Liza Minnelli, Gregor Piatigorsky, Lily Pons, Artur Rubinstein, Frank Sinatra, Arturo Toscanini, The Weavers, and Pinchas Zukerman.

Originally released as a laser disc. DVD: BMG Classics/RCA, ASIN B000LP6KTO, 2007.

The Paley Center (ID: T:23237) has an extensive description of the show's contents:
This special presentation celebrates the 100th anniversary of New York's famed Carnegie Hall by exploring the Hall's grand cultural history through artists' reminiscences, still photographs, and archival footage. Isaac Stern, who is credited with saving the building from destruction in 1960, introduces the program. He stresses that this program is not only a glance back into the past but a nod to the future of the arts at the building, which was established in 1891 by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Many artists recall some of the Hall's spectacular moments and notable performers: Zubin Mehta discusses the history of conductors at Carnegie Hall, including Tchaikovsky, Leopold Stokowski, Arturo Toscanini, Fritz Reiner, and Artur Rodzinski; Leonard Bernstein recalls his own conducting debut, when he conducted the New York Philharmonic in place of the ailing Bruno Walter; Van Cliburn describes the awe-filled experience of performing at the Hall in the 1950s, and comments on the great pianists whom he followed, including Ignace Paderewski, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Josef Hofmann,
The Genius compilation album uses
a famous photo of Ray on stage
in Carnegie. Original photo series here
Rudolf Serkin, Glenn Gould, and Vladimir Horowitz; Wynton Marsalis narrates a history of jazz at the famed performance space; Lionel Hampton recalls his part in a historic 1938 Carnegie Hall concert given by the Benny Goodman Orchestra - the first event of its kind at which white and black musicians performed together - and footage of the concert is shown; comedian Alan King comments on the importance of Carnegie Hall to eastern European immigrants; mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne considers the history of opera singers at the Hall; Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma respectively discuss the Hall's rich history of violin and cello performances; Frank Sinatra narrates a look at performances of popular and folk music at Carnegie Hall, with comments by Ray Charles, Liza Minnelli, Pete Seeger, and Madeline Kahn; and Minnelli discusses the Beatles' 1964 concert at the Hall. Included is footage of performances by King, comic musician Victor Borge, humorist Garrison Keillor, Jack Benny playing the violin with Stern, singer Lily Pons, and the Weavers giving their final concert in 1980. Also included is a brief overview of the near-demolition of Carnegie Hall in 1960 and Stern's successful effort to prevent it.

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