Kay Doyle takes a look at the famous New York concert hall and just some of the Irish performers who found their way there.
If you were a tourist walking around 57th Street and Seventh Avenue in New York, and needed directions, you might ask “Which way to Carnegie Hall?” or “Where is Carnegie Hall?”
But of course the famous question doesn’t have directions in the answer – “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Because everyone knows how you get to Carnegie Hall. You practice. Practice Practice!
For musicians and artists, performing in Carnegie Hall is held in the highest of regard, one of the best career aspirations and accomplishments to stand on the stage of the world famous venue. Thousand of artists have performed here over the years, with the Irish well represented from traditional music to folk, classical, pop and rock.
Carnegie Hall first opened its doors in 1891. It was originally known as Music Hall (the words Music Hall founded by Andrew Carnegie still appear on the facade above the marquee), but was renamed Carnegie Hall in 1893 after board members of the persuaded Carnegie to allow his name to be used.
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist. He was behind the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and became one of the richest Americans in history. At one point he was wealthier that John Rockefeller – considered the richest American of all time!
Born in Dunfermline in Scotland, and living in a one room cottage, Andrew Carnegie immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1848 at the age of 12. Prospects were poor to begin with, Carnegie and his father both worked at a cotton mill for little money in their early life in America. His first job, as a twelve year old was as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread in the cotton mill for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week with a starting wage of $1.20 a week.