Carnegie Hall Tour

Picture of the San
Francisco Symphony and Chorus, rehearsing at Carnegie Hall On February 21 and 22, 2001, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus went on the first tour in its history, doing a two-concert tour at Carnegie Hall in New York City. It was a great honor to be part of this expedition, and we are incredibly thankful to MTT for pushing to bring us along, and featuring us while we were there.

We performed the Stravinsky concert on February 21, and the Mahler concert on February 22. We even got to do an encore of Randall Thompson's Alleluia after the Mahler concert, which was MTT's idea and a really wonderful gesture to feature us by ourselves. In fact, before we sang it in San Francisco, he introduced it by explaining that the chorus had been singing in competition with the symphony all night, and he wanted to give the audience a chance to hear how beautiful the chorus could be by themselves.

Singing at Carnegie Hall was an awesome experience. It has a great acoustic, but the real honor is being up there on stage where so many great names have performed. Admittedly, it was a bit cramped on stage for a full symphony orchestra, and 150 singers, but we managed. :)

Oh, and the backstage area is quaintly archaic. The only entrance onto stage is eight feet wide, with no staging area, so it takes forever to get people and instruments on and off stage. The chorus's warm-up room was on the sixth floor, but we had to be quiet going up and down the stairs because the staircase went right by the fourth floor recital hall where another concert was happening. It took so long to get off stage and get up to our room that by the time the last person had made it upstairs at intermission, it was time to turn around and head back down. I found no less than four staircases backstage, all of which seemed to take you to different places. It got people more than a bit lost on several occasions.

New York itself was a total blast. A couple college buddies of mine made it down from Boston and we explored the city together. We went to a couple beautiful museums (The Cloisters, and the Frick Collection). We saw La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera. We had bagels at Zabar's. We bought used books, ate incredibly good pizza at John's Pizzeria, and spent hours hanging out at a jazz/blues club in Greenwich Village. We even squeezed in dimsum in Chinatown. It was a lot of fun.

The Symphony website has some pictures of our tour, including the one featured on this page.

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote a nice piece (archived here) describing the chorus, as we left for our tour. The Contra Costa Times did a similar piece (archived here) as well.

I volunteered to host pictures taken on tour by chorus members.

A couple reviews of our performances:
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