If you’ve never been to Carnegie Hall, here are a few observations I had as I was able to roam almost the entire hall.
I’m not a music guy with a music background, but because of my kids, I’ve become fascinated with music, composition, and the history of it all. I’ve also come to love visiting and watching my kids perform in some of the most prestigious concerts halls in the world. Obviously, Carnegie Hall is one of those famed halls that most musicians would like to play in at some time in their life.
Since I was writing a book for one of the performing orchestras and choirs, I was able to see backstage and virtually everywhere else. Let me just tell you that if you’re into American history, this is a must visit. You’ll be able to see the early American New York style architecture everywhere in this place!
The performers usually enter in by a back door on 56th street. From there, they can go to their various staging rooms and access the backstage areas.
Many people don’t realize that Carnegie Hall is actually home to three difference performance halls within the one building. In fact, multiple performances may be taking place at the same time.
When I was backstage during one performance in the main hall, I could see on the backstage screen monitors where other piano and violin performances were taking place.
If you are coming to the hall as a spectator, you’ll normally enter in on 57th street and have your ticket checked at the door.
When you walk in, you’ll see lots of ushers. You will either be sent up the stairs to find your seat in one of the balconies or directly into the Parquet level or the main floor.
There is really not a bad seat in the house unless your view is obstructed in some way. If you are on the Parquet level, look for something toward the middle in rows L through Q. Again, everywhere is good, but those rows are going to give you the best balance of sound and view from that level.
My favorite place is on the first tier on what is called the Blavatnik Family tier. Depending on your eyesight, you may want to go for sections 1-9 or sections 57-65. That will get you your best view while keeping you close to the stage.
The chairs inside the hall have that elegant maroon color and all of them are very comfortable with enough leg room for myself at 6’3″.
Backstage is a sight to see. There are pictures on the walls that display the Hall’s rich history. There’s a lounge for the orchestra and performers where you can only imagine who has stood there and prepared for their time to go on stage.
The crew in the back are on top of it all. They know exactly what they’re doing and are fantastic at supporting the cast and performers as well as the backstage logistics people for the performers.
We set a record as the largest performing group in the history of the hall including young children and the Carnegie Hall staff accommodated us in every way possible to make it a good experience for everyone involved.
Inside of Carnegie Hall is very different than most of the other halls I have visited. It is an old hall and you know it right when you walk in. It’s very open and optimized for the best acoustics possible.
It was one of the best experiences of my life being there.