Carnegie Hall Announces 2020-2021 Season

Voices of Hope: Artists in Times of Oppression

Citywide Carnegie Hall festival examines the role of artists during times of tyranny and injustice with 16 concerts at Carnegie Hall and events at 40+ NYC partner institutions

Perspectives 2020-2021:

Rhiannon Giddens, Yannick Nézet-Séguin & Jordi Savall

Three captivating series, personally curated by renowned singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and speaker Rhiannon Giddens, early music explorer, viola da gamba virtuoso, and conductor Jordi Savall, and acclaimed conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin invite audiences to gain deeper insights into musical viewpoints of leading artists of our time

Debs Composer’s Chair: Andrew Norman

Celebrated American composer Andrew Norman leads season-long residency with nine performances, including orchestral, chamber, and new music concerts, and exciting new works commissioned by Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala

2020-2021 season launches on October 7 with festive Opening Night Gala concert featuring Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, joined by pianist Lang Lang and soprano Liv Redpath

Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director, announced Carnegie Hall’s 2020–2021 season consisting of more than 170 concerts as well as wide-ranging education and community programs created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. The upcoming season includes performances by many of the world’s greatest artists and ensembles representing classical, world, jazz, and pop music, with events presented on Carnegie Hall’s three stages, in the Hall’sResnick Education Wing, and throughout New York City.

Programming highlights include a citywide Carnegie Hall festival—Voices of Hope: Artists in Times of Oppression—from March–May 2021; three exciting Perspectives series curated by singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens; conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin; and early music explorer, conductor, and viola da gamba virtuoso Jordi Savall; and the appointment of celebrated American composer Andrew Norman to hold the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair.

As we consider the remarkable range of experiences in Carnegie Hall’s 2020-2021 season, we are reminded of the amazing power that music can have in our lives—its ability to not only elevate us, but to play a role in enabling us to look at issues with fresh eyes, illuminating new perspectives, and helping us to feel connected with one another,” said Gillinson. “Our Voices of Hope festival promises to be a special journey, inviting audiences to explore the inspiring role that artists have played in some of the darkest chapters of our shared history—capturing stories or a moment in time and expressing hope, courage, and resistance in the face of the unimaginable. Our four curated series are in the hands of some of the most creative artists working today, each challenging us to explore through music, with programming that brings their unique viewpoints to the forefront. With so many concerts spanning musical genres performed by the world’s finest artists and ensembles, it promises to be a season rich with new discoveries.”

2020–2021 Carnegie Hall Season Overview
Carnegie Hall’s 130th season launches on Wednesday, October 7 with an Opening Night Gala performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, marking the orchestra’s first appearances at Carnegie Hall in 30 years. The celebratory program includes John Adams’s Tromba Lontana, Grieg’s Piano Concerto featuring Lang Lang along with selections from Grieg’s Peer Gynt with soprano Liv Redpath. Following Opening Night, the orchestra returns to the Hall for two consecutive evenings of concerts, performing premieres of works by Andrew Norman and Gabriela Smith, plus music by Ginastera and Mahler.

From March-May 2021, Carnegie Hall presents Voices of Hope: Artists in Times of Oppression, a citywide festival spotlighting the resilience of artists throughout history and the life-affirming power of music and the arts during times of oppression and tyranny. With 16 concerts at Carnegie Hall crossing musical genres and thought-provoking events at more than 40 prestigious partner organizations, the festival kicks off at Carnegie Hall on March 12 with Rhiannon Giddens and Friends: Songs of Our Native Daughters, where Giddens and her group of black female banjo players, Our Native Daughters, draw from historical sources to reimagine our collective past, shining a new light on African American women’s stories of struggle, resistance, and hope. The festival extends across New York City over three months with exhibitions, performances, talks, film screenings, and more, further exploring how the arts have been used as a tool for activism, resistance, solidarity, and hope.

Renowned singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and speaker Rhiannon Giddens curates a five-concert Perspectives series showcasing her remarkable talents, shedding a light on the shared history of a variety of musical traditions around the world. In addition to Songs of Our Native Daughters, she is joined by frequent collaborator pianist Francesco Turrisi for an evening of back-to-back recitals, as well as a program showcasing songs from their critically praised album there is no Other. Her residency culminates with Mr. Bones Need to Leave Me Alone, an evening that looks at the complex history of minstrelsy in American music and how it relates to music of today.

Viola da gamba virtuoso and conductor Jordi Savall presents a four-concert Perspectives focused both on early-music repertoire and wide-ranging programs of his own creation. His series includes two concerts focused on works by Monteverdi, where he shares the stage with his ensemble, Le Concert des Nations and singers from La Capella Reial de Catalunya. In the spring, he presents Bal-Kan: Honey and Blood, Music in the Ottoman Empire as part of the Voices of Hope festival, working with his Hespèrion XXI ensemble, joined by guest musicians from Hungary, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey, Romania, and beyond. His final performance reveals the expanse of Mediterranean musical traditions from Europe to the Islamic world.

Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin returns for the second half of his two-year Perspectives, curating seven concerts including performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra and The MET Orchestra, as well the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Westminster Choir. Maestro Nézet-Séguin’s Perspectives features collaborations with some of the finest soloists today, including violinist Lisa Batiashvili and pianist Mitsuko Uchida; some of the world’s greatest singers including frequent collaborator Joyce DiDonato; and a wide range of repertoire ranging from Beethoven to recent works by Mason Bates and Missy Mazzoli.

Carnegie Hall has appointed composer Andrew Norman to hold the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair for the 2020–2021 season. Mr. Norman’s residency includes nine concerts throughout the season with his music being performed by violinist Leila Josefowicz and the Los Angeles Philharmonic led by Gustavo Dudamel, Berliner Philharmoniker led by Kirill Petrenko, the Louisville Orchestra led by Teddy Abrams, pianist Emanuel Ax, Ensemble Connect, yMusic, and the American Composers Orchestra. Committed to the development of new work by emerging composers of all backgrounds, Mr. Norman curates a program for the LA Phil New Music Group, led by John Adams, and participates in the Weill Music Institute’sAll Together: A Global Ode to Joy project as part of his residency.

Additional highlights of Carnegie Hall’s 2020–2021 season include performances by 21 leading orchestras from around the world, including several debuts: Lahav Shani makes his Carnegie Hall debut in his inaugural season as music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; Teodor Currentzis and musicAeterna make their Carnegie Hall debut; Chief Conductor Kirill Petrenko leads the Berliner Philharmoniker for the first time at Carnegie Hall; the Galilee Chamber Orchestra makes its debut with Music Director Saleem Abboud Ashkar; and Teddy Abrams makes his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the Louisville Orchestra in its first performance at the Hall in more than 30 years.

Among other international orchestras: Music Director Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla brings the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for two performances, the orchestra’s first Carnegie Hall appearances in 28 years, collaborating with violinist Gidon Kremer and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason; Sir Antonio Pappano returns with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; Gustavo Dudamel returns to the Hall’s podium in February leading the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Lü Jia conducts the China NCPA Orchestra; and Valery Gergiev returns with his Mariinsky Orchestra, including a tour-de-force program with all four Rachmaninoff piano concertos and the composer’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini featuring pianist Denis Matsuev.

Also featured in the season will be a fall return by the Sphinx Virtuosi; concerts by Orchestra of St. Luke’s under the baton of Principal Conductor Bernard Labadie; and the Hall’s traditional December concerts with New York String Orchestra with Jamie Laredo.

The English Concert and Artistic Director Harry Bicket return in spring 2021 as part of their multi-year Handel opera/oratorio project at Carnegie Hall, presenting a concert performance of Handel’s Tamerlano with countertenor Bejun Mehta singing the title role.

An array of the world’s leading pianists appear in recital, including Leif Ove Andsnes, Emanuel Ax, Hélène Grimaud (in her first Carnegie Hall recital since her 2006 recital debut), Yefim Bronfman, Marc-André Hamelin, Evgeny Kissin, Gabriela Montero, Maurizio Pollini, Sir András Schiff, Daniil Trifonov, plus many more.

Also next season, among a wide variety of vocal and instrumental recitals and chamber concerts: the Carnegie Hall recital debut of soprano Lise Davidsen in Zankel Hall and the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage recital debut of soprano Christine Goerke; performances by Ensemble Connect and Decoda; piano trios performed by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, violinist Lisa Batiashvili, and cellist Gautier Capuçon as well as by pianist Evgeny Kissin, violinist Joshua Bell, and cellist Steven Isserlis; and the launch of a multi-season “Doppelgänger” project by the Danish String Quartet performing Schubert alongside new works written in response to these works, commissioned by Carnegie Hall.

World and popular music highlights include Not Our First Goat Rodeo featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma reuniting with Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, Stuart Duncan, and vocalist Aoife O’Donovan, creating a singular sound last heard on their Grammy Award-winning album; a Lunar New Year performance by the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra; the return of powerhouse performer Youssou NDOUR; four concerts by singer-songwriter Michael Feinstein including a big band show in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage; Ray Chew’s A Night of Inspiration; a special Carnegie Hall edition of Chris Thile’s radio program Live from Here; and Steven Reineke and The New York Pops with their remarkable five-concert series celebrating America’s popular music from Broadway to film scores, dance music, and holiday classics.

A special highlight of the season: superstar violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and legendary composer-conductor John Williams will present Across the Stars: The Music of John Williams, a gala evening of Williams’s beloved film music performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra in a special one-night-only January performance benefitting Carnegie Hall.

In addition, for the first time in many years, concertgoers will be offered a new setting in which to experience music at Carnegie Hall when Zankel Hall—the Hall’s flexible underground concert venue—will be reconfigured over the course of seven days in January 2021 to an in-the-round format for a select number of Zankel Hall Center Stage concerts. Performances spanning genres, all specifically programmed with the center stage format in mind, will provide a unique vantage point and intimate space in which performers and audience members can interact. Concerts presented in this format include performances by yMusicThird Coast Percussion with choreographers and movement artists Jon Boogz & Lil Buck; jazz vocalist Jazzmeia Horn; pianist Gabriela Montero; new music with Caroline Shaw and FriendsRhiannon Giddens with pianist Francesco Turrisi performing songs from their album, there is no Other; as well as a special participatory Violin Weekend event with PUBLIQuartet and 200 local violinists coming together for a “play-in,” presented by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute.

Looking beyond the walls of the building and into the community, Carnegie Hall Citywide, a free concert series of roughly thirty performances offered at venues in all five boroughs of New York City continues all season long. Partnering with local community organizations, the performances feature leading artists and rising stars, representing all musical genres.

Carnegie Hall and WQXR 105.9 FM in New York will partner for a tenth consecutive year to produce Carnegie Hall Live, an engaging live radio broadcast and digital series featuring performances from throughout Carnegie Hall’s season. This year’s series launches on October 7 with Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala performance featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel. The full 2020–2021 broadcast schedule will be announced at a later date.

Playlists curated by Carnegie Hall inspired by artists and programming themes in the 2020–2021 season are also exclusively available to stream on Apple Music at They join ongoing dynamic playlists created by the Hall exploring “The Symphony Orchestra,” “The Piano,” and “Carnegie Hall Presents,” highlighting artists and repertoire featured in upcoming concerts with musical selections handpicked to complement artistic initiatives in the coming year, inviting music lovers to explore.

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