Joan And Sanford I. Weill To Become Carnegie Hall’s First $100 Million Lifetime Donors

New $14.6 Million Weill Gift To Support Carnegie Hall’s Artistic and Educational Initiatives, Including Music Education and Teacher Training Programs in New York City Public Schools

Carnegie Hall announced that, thanks to a generous $14.6 million gift, Joan and Sanford I. Weill and The Weill Family Foundation have earned the unique distinction of becoming the first private donors in Carnegie Hall’s history to reach the $100 million threshold in cumulative lifetime giving.

This new gift to Carnegie Hall’s 125th Anniversary Campaign will provide important support to Carnegie Hall’s artistic and educational initiatives with $5 million specifically earmarked to underwrite the Hall’s music education and teacher training programs in New York City public schools.

Sanford I. Weill joined the Carnegie Hall Board of Trustees in 1983, was elected Chairman in 1991, and then President in 2015. For more than three decades, Mr. Weill and his wife, Joan, have been centerstage for each of Carnegie Hall’s major milestones, generously supporting the 1986 historic restoration of the main auditorium (now Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage) and recital hall (now Weill Recital Hall); the building of the Hall’s endowment fund in the late 1990s; the construction of Zankel Hall and establishment of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute in 2003; and the renovation of the Hall’s Studio Towers, creating a home for music education on the building’s upper floors, in 2014.

A committed fundraiser who has always led by example, campaigns led or co-chaired by Mr. Weill have raised $525 million for Carnegie Hall’s endowment and capital projects. Thanks to the stewardship of Mr. Weill and his fellow trustees, Carnegie Hall’s endowment has grown from $4 million in 1991 to more than $320 million today. Under the auspices of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, the Hall’s music education and community programs have expanded ten-fold and continue to grow, now serving more than 600,000 people around the globe.

I can’t remember a time when Carnegie Hall hasn’t been a central part of Joan and my life,” said Sanford I. Weill, Carnegie Hall’s President. “We are so proud of everything that has been accomplished here over the years, especially in the area of music education, with kids having the chance to experience great music at the finest concert hall and develop their potential through music. It is very rewarding to think about how this amazing hall will be enjoyed by future generations. We truly think the best is yet to come.”

It’s my pleasure to congratulate Sandy and Joan on this incredible milestone and thank them for their unparalleled generosity to our community,” said Robert F. Smith, Chairman of Carnegie Hall’s Board of Trustees. “Stretching over decades, their advocacy for Carnegie Hall has been inspiring to so many of us. Their dedication to this Hall is built on our joint belief that music and education have the power to transform lives—and their work toward our cause will continue to make a true impact.”

I have always admired Sandy and Joan’s deep passion for Carnegie Hall, their massive commitment to music education, and their focus on ensuring that this iconic place is always safeguarded, continually evolving to meet the needs of today’s audiences and the world’s finest artists,” said Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall. “In my work with Sandy, he has always been a forward-thinking leader who, in asking the best questions and testing ideas, has always had the best interest of Carnegie Hall at heart. I could not have wished for a better partner for all that we aspired to achieve together for Carnegie Hall over the last fourteen years.”

From the beginning of his service to the Hall, Mr. Weill worked closely with Stern and board leaders to safeguard the famed concert venue, a building saved from demolition in 1960, however still in dire need of restoration. Upon joining the board, Mr. Weill co-chaired, with then-Chairman James D. Wolfensohn, the $60 million Campaign for Carnegie Hall, leading to the historic 28-week restoration of Carnegie Hall’s main auditorium and recital hall in 1986, a project that modernized the Hall’s facilities and brought these two concert venues back to their original glory. The Carnegie Hall Recital Hall was reopened in January 1987, renamed as the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall in recognition of the Weills’ leadership and generous support.

Among other major highlights of Mr. Weill’s board leadership was the completion and unveiling of the Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall—Carnegie Hall’s $100 million modern, underground concert venue—which opened in 2003, paving the way for expanded performance and education programming. Also in 2003, Carnegie Hall established the Weill Music Institute (WMI), the new umbrella under which the Hall’s existing education and community programs would be significantly expanded with a goal of reaching increased local, national, and international audiences. The work of WMI was buoyed by a new endowment supporting music education created earlier that year with more than $60 million raised in one night at a March 2003 gala celebrating Mr. Weill’s 70th birthday and his 20th anniversary as a trustee. Today, WMI programs engage with 600,000 people around the world each season, including more than 55,000 students and teachers in New York City public schools. Carnegie Hall currently dedicates approximately $14 million of its budget to support these programs annually.

Most recently, Mr. Weill led Carnegie Hall’s Studio Towers Renovation Project campaign, a comprehensive undertaking that has created inspirational new spaces for music education on the Hall’s upper floors while also fully refurbishing the Hall’s backstage areas and offices. The $230 million project was capped in 2014 with the opening of the new 61,000 square-foot Judith and Burton Resnick Education Wing, comprised of 24 new rooms for music education, including the double-height Weill Music Room. Adjacent to the new wing are new spaces for entertaining including the Weill Terrace Room and the Weill Terrace, a new outdoor roof terrace that serves as an ideal gathering place for those engaged in Carnegie Hall events and activities.

Sanford and Joan Weill continue to be very active and generous philanthropists, supporting organizations around the globe. In addition to his post with Carnegie Hall, Mr. Weill is Chairman Emeritus of Weill Cornell Medical College; Founder and Chairman of the National Academy Foundation; Chairman of the Executive Council at University of California, San Francisco; Chancellor’s Advisory Board member at University of California, Davis; Board of Visitors member at University of California, Berkeley; Chairman of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation; and Honorary Chair of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy. He is a member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

A tireless champion for social service and cultural organizations for decades, Joan Weill is a member of the Board of Overseers at University of California, San Francisco; Co-Chairman of the New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine Women’s Health Symposium; Co-Chairman of the Weill Music Institute Advisory Council at Carnegie Hall; past Chairman of Paul Smith’s College of the Adirondacks; past President and board member of Citymeals-On-Wheels; and former executive committee member of Women in Need. A driving force in the growth of Alvin Ailey, Joan is Chairman Emerita and continues to serve on the board. Married 64 years, the Weills received the 2009 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy and the 2017 Kennedy Center Award for the Human Spirit in recognition of their philanthropic efforts.

Since 1891, Carnegie Hall has set the international standard for excellence in performance as the aspirational destination for the world’s finest musicians. Carnegie Hall presents a wide range of performances each season on its three stages—the renowned Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, intimate Weill Recital Hall, and innovative Zankel Hall—including concert series curated by acclaimed artists and composers; citywide festivals featuring collaborations with leading New York City cultural institutions; orchestral performances, chamber music, new music concerts, and recitals; and the best in jazz, world, and popular music. Complementing these performance activities, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute creates extensive music education, community, and social impact programs that serve people of all ages in the New York City area, nationally, and internationally, playing a central role in Carnegie Hall’s commitment to making great music accessible to as many people as possible. For more information, visit carnegiehall.org.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 60th Anniversary Opening Night Gala Benefit Performance And Party

Honorary Chairs are Iconic Screen Stars Angela Bassett and Cicely Tyson

Evening Features a Piece d’Occasion by Robert Battle, Alvin Ailey’s Revelations Sung by Ledisi, Erica Campbell, Norm Lewis, and Brandie Sutton, and the Premiere of Becoming Ailey – a Multimedia Work that Returns Alvin Ailey’s Presence to the Stage

Celebration Honors Prudential Financial and Launches Ailey’s Five-Week New York City Center Season

As a centerpiece to its yearlong Ailey Ascending 60th Anniversary celebration and a kickoff to its five-week holiday season, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will host a star-studded gala benefit on Wednesday, November 28th at 7pm, complete with a performance for the ages at New York City Center and party at the New York Hilton Midtown Grand Ballroom. The Honorary Chairs for the evening are screen icons, Angela Bassett and Cicely Tyson.

Alvin-Ailey-American-Dance-Theater's-Samantha-Figgins-and-Jeroboam-Bozeman. CREDIT_ Photo by-Andrew-Eccles_logo_Email

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Samantha Figgins and Jeroboam Bozeman. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Bassett, a Golden Globe Award winner, stars in the hit television series 9-1-1, and was most recently featured in the 2018 blockbusters Black Panther and Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Tyson – known for a myriad of roles across television and film, including Roots, Fried Green Tomatoes, and most recently How to Get Away With Murder – has received three Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and on November 18th will make history as the first black woman to receive an Honorary Academy Award.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American “Cultural Ambassador to the World,” grew from a now-fabled March 1958 performance in New York that changed forever the perception of American dance. Founded by Alvin Ailey, recent posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor, and guided by Judith Jamison beginning in 1989, the Company is now led by Robert Battle, whom Jamison chose to succeed her on July 1, 2011.

(The Ailey organization also includes Ailey II (1974), a second performing company of emerging young dancers and innovative choreographers; The Ailey School (1969), one of the most extensive dance training programs in the world; Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs, which brings dance into the classrooms, communities and lives of people of all ages; and The Ailey Extension (2005), a program offering dance and fitness classes to the general public, which began with the opening of Ailey’s permanent home—the largest building dedicated to dance in New York City, the dance capital of the world —named The Joan Weill Center for Dance, at 55th Street at 9th Avenue in New York City. For more information, visit www.alvinailey.org.)

CREDIT_ Photo by Christopher Duggan. CAPTION_ AAADT with live onstage music in Alvin Ailey's Revelations

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater with live onstage music in Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. Photo by Christopher Duggan

The once-in-a-lifetime program features selections of classic Ailey works including a specially staged excerpt of Memoria, a work he choreographed as an elegy for a dear friend; a piece d’occasion by Battle, set to Nina Simone’s Black is the Color; and culminates with Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece, Revelations, performed with live musicians and special guest singers Ledisi (Grammy-nominated jazz and R&B artist), Erica Campbell (Grammy-winning singer from the gospel duo Mary Mary), Norm Lewis (Tony-nominated baritone known for Broadway’s Porgy and Bess and NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar live), and Brandie Sutton (critically-acclaimed Metropolitan Opera soprano). The program also features the premiere of Becoming Ailey, a multimedia piece celebrating the continual gift of Alvin Ailey’s presence in our hearts, minds, and stages. Created in collaboration with the award-winning artists Bob Bonniol and Caryl Glabb of MODE Studios, Inc., it will bring the voice and likeness of Alvin Ailey back to the stage at the start of each performance during the New York City Center season.

Cicely Tyson. CREDIT_ Photo courtesy of Ailey, DCP.

Cicely Tyson. Photo courtesy of Ailey, DCP.

On this historic night we will mark 60 groundbreaking years and carry Alvin Ailey’s pioneering legacy onward and upward with a performance featuring renowned guest performers, cutting-edge innovation, and the artistry and inspiration that has made Ailey one of the world’s most beloved dance companies,” said Artistic Director Robert Battle. “It is also fitting that we take this occasion to honor Prudential Financial, a company that has helped Ailey reach so many milestones and was instrumental in creating the New Jersey Performing Arts Center where Ailey is the Principal Resident Affiliate and has performed annually for two decades. We welcome everyone to join the celebration and share in the joy during this milestone season.”

Ailey’s 60th Anniversary Holiday Season of premieres by renowned choreographers Rennie Harris, Ronald K. Brown, and Wayne McGregor, and returning favorites also features special programs, including “Timeless Ailey,” “All New,” “Three Visionaries,” “All Ailey,” and “All Battle,” plus a sparkling Season Finale on Sunday, December 30th. Click here for more information.

This historic evening also honors Prudential Financial for its generous support and commitment to Ailey for over three decades, especially its educational and community programs.

As one of our longest-standing corporate benefactors, Prudential Financial has played a vital role in Ailey’s success for more than half of the Company’s lifetime,” said Executive Director Bennett Rink. “Prudential has been indispensable in funding our outreach programs in Newark, AileyDance Kids and AileyCamp – a free summer program in Newark and 10 cities nationwide that helps guide inner city youth to their full potential. We thank them for their strategic planning and leadership support, as well as their commitment to advancing young people through education, and we applaud them for the tremendous work they’ve done to elevate the city of Newark.”

Prudential Financial is honored to have worked alongside Alvin Ailey to help achieve his vision to bring dance to all people,” said Lata Reddy, senior vice president, Diversity, Inclusion, and Impact at Prudential Financial. “His belief that the arts give voice to our shared humanity is one that we share. It’s with great joy that we at Prudential congratulate the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on their 60th Anniversary.

Christopher Taylor, an alumnus of the inaugural AileyCamp Newark (2011) and a current scholarship student at The Ailey School, will join Artistic Director Robert Battle in presenting Prudential Financial with the Ailey Legacy Honor.

Prominent figures in the worlds of entertainment, business, philanthropy, and politics will join Robert Battle and the Company for dinner and dancing to live music in the New York Hilton Midtown’s Grand Ballroom following the performance. The Gala benefits the creation of new works, scholarships to The Ailey School, and Ailey’s educational programs for young people. Emily & Len Blavatnik, Paulette & Howard Bradnock, Mellody Hobson & George Lucas, Debra L. Lee, Stephen Meringoff & Kim Charlton, Lata N. Reddy, Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach, and Joan & Sandy Weill serve as Co-Chairs for the Gala. (Call 212-405-9031 or visit alvinailey.org/support/60th-anniversary-gala for tickets.)

(Opening Night Gala Benefit Sponsors are Emily & Len Blavatnik, BNY Mellon, Debra L. Lee, The Meringoff Family Foundation, Prudential Financial, Daria L. & Eric J. Wallach, The Weill Family Foundation.)

Ailey is also proud to announce the Ailey Ascending Honorary Committee, a distinguished group of individuals across industries who will join the organization in celebrating 60 years of artistry and excellence: Gbenga Akinnagbe, Christiane Amanpour, Jon Batiste, Harry Belafonte, Colman Domingo, André Holland, LaTanya & Samuel L. Jackson, Jane Krakowski, Audra McDonald, Naturi Naughton, Yvonne Orji, Robin Roberts, Anika Noni Rose, Jussie Smollett, Lorraine Toussaint, and Fredricka Whitfield.

Tickets for season performances start at $29, and are now on sale at the New York City Center Box Office, through CityTix® at (212) 581-1212, or online at www.alvinailey.org or www.nycitycenter.org.

Lead support for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater‘s 60th Anniversary is provided by Emily and Len Blavatnik. Major support for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 60th Anniversary is provided by the  Ford Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, and Pamela D. Zilly & John H. Schaefer. Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 60th Anniversary Season in New York. American Express is the Official Card of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater gratefully acknowledges the support of Diageo North America during the 60th Anniversary Season. The 60th Anniversary Season is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed for an estimated 25 million people in 71 countries on 6 continents – as well as millions more through television broadcasts, film screenings, and online platforms – promoting the uniqueness of the African‐American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance tradition. In addition to being the Principal Dance Company of New York City Center, where its performances have become a year‐end tradition, the Ailey company performs annually at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami‐Dade County in Miami, The Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA and at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark where it is the Principal Resident Affiliate), and appears frequently in other major theaters throughout the United States and the world during extensive yearly tours.