Carnegie Hall turned 120 in May, so we're digging back through our history and sharing stories with you. In this post, we feature artists who have recorded albums of their Carnegie Hall performances.
Comedians Lewis Black and David Sedaris, rock greats Frank Zappa and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett have all released recordings of their Carnegie Hall performances. So have Harry Belafonte, Lang Lang, and Ray Romano. There are hundreds of Live from Carnegie Hall albums out there, and many entertainers see it as a mark of distinction to have one on their resume.
It was a trend that started with the 1938 recording of Benny Goodman’s history-making Carnegie Hall performance. The concert was a sold-out smash and helped elevate the status of swing music among America’s cultural tastemakers. The record was also a hit and is now one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time.
Goodman was an all-around great musician, performing Mozart with the New York Philharmonic in 1940 and Hindemith with Symphony of the Air and Leonard Bernstein in 1955 at Carnegie Hall. In 1947, he commissioned Aaron Copland to write him a concerto, which Goodman premiered in 1950.