At Carnegie Hall, it is the stage that matters, but during the venue’s season-opening gala on Wednesday, the roof stole the show.
After a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic, guests walked outside to 57th Street and followed a red carpet around the block to the back of the building. Then, in an elevator large enough to hold a piano, they were whisked up to the newly renovated upper floors that now contain the Resnick Education Wing and the Weill Terrace, a 10,000-square-foot outdoor space.
This was an improvement from galas past, said Carnegie Hall’s board chairman Sanford Weill, noting that in previous years, patrons filed onto buses that drove them to the Waldorf Astoria, often in the rain, “which was always pretty terrific,” he added with sarcasm.
An outdoor party needs a tent, of course, and Carnegie Hall now owns the mother of them all. On the terrace was a 28-foot structure that uses technology developed to help the military build things like airplane hangars, according to Colin Touhey, chief executive of Brooklyn-based Pvilion, which created it.
The tent uses inflatable beams, rather than more cumbersome aluminum ones, and Mr. Touhey said the setup is as simple as unrolling and inflating.
“That’s the future of installation,” he said. “My partners have been working on high-pressure inflatable air beams for 20 years. We’re all ecstatic that this is being used in Midtown Manhattan for a real application.”
Roving about at the dinner and under the barrel-vaulted ceiling, which would have looked like a barrack if not for the red lighting scheme, were about 550 guests, including Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller, Barbara Walters, Annette de la Renta, Suzie and Bruce Kovner, Susan and Bill Kristol, and musicians Jessye Norman, Lang Lang, Deborah Voigt, Simon Rattle and Anne-Sophie Mutter, who performed with the Berlin Philharmonic earlier in the evening.
The new party spaces, including the tent, allow Carnegie Hall to have a rentable, income-generating banquet room, said executive and artistic director Clive Gillinson. In addition to the physical additions, the hall on Thursday announced a new agreement with Medici.tv, which webcasts live classical-music performances.
Four Carnegie Hall performances in November and December will be streamed free, but Mr. Gillinson suggested there may be more to come.
“It’s the beginning of a journey,” he said. “We would like to be able to show the world what we do.”
Read the original article here.