The mission of Carnegie Hall is to continue to be one of the world's leading institutions in presenting great music, and in promoting music education, music creation, and music enjoyment in a landmark concert hall.
The largest hall at Carnegie Hall, dedicated the Isaac Stern Auditorium in 1996, has been the premier classical music performance space in the United States since its opening in 1891, showcasing the world's greatest soloists, conductors, and ensembles. Throughout its century-plus history, it has also hosted important jazz events, historic lectures, noted educational forums, and much more. Designed by architect and cellist William Burnett Tuthill and renovated in 1986, the auditorium's striking curvilinear design allows the stage to become a focal point embraced by five levels of seating, which accommodates up to 2,804. The auditorium's renowned acoustics have made it a favorite of audiences and performers alike. "It has been said that the hall itself is an instrument," said the late Isaac Stern. "It takes what you do and makes it larger than life."
Located on the third floor of Carnegie Hall, the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall is an intimate auditorium ideal for recitals, chamber music concerts, symposia, discussions, master classes, and more. Seating 268 people, the elegant auditorium evokes a Belle Epoque salon and is "remarkable for the symmetry of its proportions and the beauty of its decorations," according to a review from 1891, when the hall was known as the Recital Hall. In 1986, the Recital Hall was renamed in recognition of the generosity of the Chairman of the Board of Carnegie Hall, Sanford I. Weill, and his wife, Joan.
The new Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall will open in September 2003 as the site of a broad spectrum of performing and educational events. When it first opened its doors In 1891, Carnegie Hall comprised three auditoriums: the Main Hall, the Recital Hall, and the Chamber Music Hall, located underneath the Main Hall. The Chamber Music Hall was leased to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1898 and was used as a theater by various groups until the early 1960s, when it was converted to a cinema. In 1997, a process began to reclaim the space for its original purpose.