Carnegie Hall has announced its 2023-24 performing arts season today, featuring approximately 170 classical, jazz, cabaret, opera, Broadway and other musical performances starting this fall.
The centerpiece of the season is "Fall of the Weimar Republic: Dancing on the Precipice," a festival taking place from January through May 2024. The ambitious exploration of Germany's Weimar Republic of 1919-33 will comprise dozens of musical performances at Carnegie Hall, plus further multidisciplinary offerings hosted by partnering cultural institutions around NYC.
Clive Gillinson, executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall since 2005, says this will be the institution’s largest citywide project to date.
"The festival explores the lead-up to the Weimar Republic in Germany and its collapse into dictatorship, leading to one of the most horrific times in modern human history that ultimately played a large part in defining the rest of the 20th century,” he said. “This was a time of extraordinary barbarity; however, it was also a time of bold creative expression in the world of the arts.”
Gillinson added that the subject feels timely. “With autocracy and dictatorships on the rise in today’s world,” he said, “the history of the Weimar era demonstrates lessons about the fragility of democracy that are as relevant today as they were then.”
Performers taking part in that festival include the Cleveland Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic led by conductor Franz Welser-Möst; the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Simon Rattle; Ensemble Modern, led by composer and vocalist HK Gruber; and German crooner Max Raabe with his Palast Orchester.
Jazz pianist Jason Moran will present a meditation on the life of James Reese Europe, founder of the Harlem Hellfighters, who helped popularize jazz throughout France during the period. And a “Weimar Underground” cabaret series features performances by singing actress Ute Lemper, postmodern cabaret artist Meow Meow and vintage jazz ensemble The Hot Sardines, who’ll be joined by special guest Alan Cumming.
Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala concert, on Oct. 4, features Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, joined by violinist Leonidas Kavakos for pieces by Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky.
Pulitzer Prize winner Tania León will hold the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair for the 2023-24 season. Her residency will include new work performed by Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as well as three curated concerts featuring Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Modern, and jazz pianist David Virelles.
Welser-Möst and esteemed pianist Mitsuko Uchida will serve as the season’s Perspectives artists, curating multiple concerts and events throughout the season.
Further highlights throughout the upcoming season include a special show with legendary composer John Williams in February 2024: Yo-Yo Ma will perform Williams’s Cello Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra, alongside selections from the composer’s iconic film scores.
The restlessly innovative Kronos Quartet celebrates its 50th anniversary in November 2023, joined by an all-star lineup that includes Laurie Anderson, Jake Blount, Brian Carpenter, Wu Man, Tanya Tagaq, the Aizuri and Attacca string quartets, Bang on a Can All-Stars and Sō Percussion, with more to be announced.
Premier classical offerings include Carnegie debuts from conductors Klaus Mäkelä, with the Orchestre de Paris, and Jakub Hrůša, with the Bamberg Symphony. Simon Rattle will make his first Carnegie Hall appearances as leader of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Lahav Shani will lead the Rotterdam Philharmonic in its first Carnegie appearance in nearly 40 years and Daniel Barenboim will present a Brahms symphony cycle in two concerts with the Staatskapelle Berlin.
Carnegie Hall will commemorate the centennial of George Gershwin’s landmark “Rhapsody in Blue” with three performances, including Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Michael Feinstein performing “Two Pianos: Who Can Ask for Anything More?” together; Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra will perform the Gershwin staple in collaboration with the Marcus Roberts Trio, while Steven Reineke and the New York Pops take on “Rhapsody in Blue” and other Gershwin selections with Pops pianist Lee Musiker.
Major jazz events include an 80th birthday celebration with pianist and bandleader Kenny Barron, the Carnegie Hall debut of jazz vocalist Kandace Springs and a performance featuring Grammy-winning drummer and composer Antonio Sánchez.
Patti LuPone is set to return to Carnegie Hall for her first solo show there in over a decade, presenting her musical memoir, "Patti LuPone: A Life in Notes," on April 8. Current "Funny Girl" star Lea Michele will make her Carnegie debut on Oct. 30. Tony Award winners Sutton Foster and Kelli O’Hara will join forces for a one-night-only program in November that highlights their careers on stage.
Broadway singer Norm Lewis will take part in two nights of classic carols, contemporary favorites and other holiday songs. Bryan Terrell Clark and Valisia LeKae, stars of Broadway’s "Motown: The Musical," will collaborate with the New York Pops on a program of classic pop songs of the '60s and '70s on March 15.
Gillison says that Carnegie Hall’s pandemic closure three years ago still lingers in his mind as the institution faces its second fully open season.
"The passion and energy felt by the artists and audiences on our first post-COVID opening night stays with us to this day," he said. "It serves as a powerful reminder of how much sharing live music and connecting in person means to us all personally, and what a privilege it is to share in the city’s extraordinary cultural offerings."
Details for the forthcoming 2023-24 Carnegie Hall season are available at carnegiehall.org.