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Isaac Stern

Violinist Isaac Stern recounts the process of saving Carnegie Hall from demolition through the passage of the Carnegie Hall Bill in 1960.

Interviewed by an unknown interviewer
People: Jacob M. Kaplan, Frederick W. Richmond, Raymond S. Rubinow, Robert F. Wagner, Jr., James A. Wilkinson
Organizations: Carnegie Hall Corporation, Committee to Save Carnegie Hall, J.M. Kaplan Fund
Places: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center
Above: Isaac Stern, January 17, 1979; Courtesy of Rob Bogaerts for the Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANeFo)

With the construction of Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic moving to the new hall there, Carnegie Hall was about to become obsolete. At the time a privately owned building, the owner planned to sell it to a developer who had plans to demolish it and build a large office building in it’s place. Once it became public that the building was threatened, the Committee to Save Carnegie Hall was formed. Aided by Jacob M. Kaplan, who donated money, office space, and political connections to the cause, they were able to begin lobbying for the Carnegie Hall Bill, which was passed by both the New York City Council and the New York State Legislature, allowing the city to purchase the building. Once the hall was saved, the Carnegie Hall Corporation oversaw its management. Stern speaks about the early years of managing Carnegie Hall and the various arrangements between the city and the corporation, resulting eventually in the rental agreement. He also details the process of surveying and then fundraising to do the necessary repairs to Carnegie Hall in the 1980s.

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