joy magnetism: Larger than life

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Larger than life

Magnet #638 - Carnegie Hall

My parents kinda hoped that I'd play Carnegie Hall, probably since watching The Competition, with Amy Irving, all about these competitive pianists who fell in love. I dimly remember going to see that movie. Ironically, competitions ended being one of the things I hated most about my 13 years of piano lessons. Ugh.

Still, one of the best things that piano and band instilled in me is a love of performing arts, and being behind the scenes of famous venues. So, every so often, I take a day off from work, just to play tourist town. A couple of years ago, I ended up packing one day with tours of Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

Carnegie Hall and the behind the scenes tour is fairly impressive. Designed by William Burnett Tuthill (An architect. And a cellist. Wha?) back in 1891, the interior and exterior architecture's really cool. And while the seats are still rather small, the theatre is daunting and crazy intimidating. You can just feel the history of great performances within those walls.

My favorite part of the tour, though, was the performing arts museum they have there as well. They had Benny Goodman's clarinet! I was so excited, I had to call my dad right afterward to tell him to tell him. I distinctly remember crossing a busy 57th street oblivious to oncoming traffic as I busily yapped about how cool was it that I played the same kind of clarinet that he did. (While my dad basically said, duh, that's why I bought you that Buffet clarinet.)

The other tour that day was Lincoln Center, which sadly didn't have a magnet back then, but I'd bet money they'll start selling them after this current major renovation is complete. But, that tour was supercool as well, split between the actual Lincoln Center complex, but also the Rose Jazz Center at Time Warner Center.

Aside from learning about the architecture and design of all the buildings and venues in both locations, we actually got to see and hear the NY Philharmonic rehearse on one stage, and Placido Domingo rehearse on another.

What a fabulous day! Besides being outside the office on a weekday, I got to see Benny Goodman's clarinet and watch Placido Domingo all in one day! C'mon! How cool is that? Ok, well maybe cool isn't quite the applicable term here, but really, you can't get more New York performing arts cool than that.

* "It has been said that the hall itself is an instrument," said the late Isaac Stern [of Carnegie Hall]. "It takes what you do and makes it larger than life."
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