On Friday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. (EDT), Live with Carnegie Hall presents James Taylor: Celebrating an American Standard, featuring a never-before-seen stream of a one-night-only historic performance curated by the renowned singer/songwriter in April 2011 to mark Carnegie Hall’s 120th anniversary, kicking off his four-concert Perspectives series that season. This festive evening paid tribute to the many extraordinary musical and cultural events that took place on the Hall’s stages over twelve decades. In addition to Taylor and his band, featured special guests—invited by Taylor himself—included Vince Bruce, Barbara Cook, Steve Martin, Bette Midler, Kevin Pollak, Dianne Reeves, Sting, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and some special surprises. The idea to stream this 120th anniversary concert was initiated in 2020 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Taylor’s Carnegie Hall debut on June 12, 1970.
Prior to the gala event, Taylor spent several years exploring the Hall’s non-classical musical legacy—the focus of this performance--with then longtime Carnegie Hall archivist Gino Francesconi. James Taylor offered in 2011: “Carnegie Hall is the sort of venue that focuses a performer’s attention. Everyone who plays there wants to be at their best. The world recognizes this as one of the great venues for classical music, but it is important to remember that folk music got played here, too. Blues, swing, R&B, and jazz were performed here. Strauss, Gershwin, Sinatra, and The Beatles have all stood on this stage.”
Previously only seen by the sold-out audience in attendance that evening, this epic celebration will now be enjoyed by music-lovers around the world, streamed for free on Carnegie Hall’s webpage (carnegiehall.org/live) and the Hall’s Facebook and YouTube channels. The program will also be available later for free on-demand viewing.
Shortly after James Taylor’s 1970 Carnegie Hall debut at age 22, Time magazine observed that his artistry reached “a level both of intimacy and controlled emotion rarely achieved in purely pop music.” The connection he made to listeners was indelible, and his hits—“Fire and Rain,” “Sweet Baby James,” “Carolina In My Mind,” to name just a few—became a soundtrack to the American experience. Over the course of his career, Taylor has performed at Carnegie Hall more than 40 times, curating a Perspectives series at the Hall during the 2010-2011 season. He also serves as a Carnegie Hall Artist Trustee.
In addition to this streamed concert, Carnegie Hall is offering one lucky person the opportunity to win a Yamaha FG-800 acoustic guitar, signed and personalized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, generously donated by Kim and James Taylor. The prize also includes a numbered and signed special limited edition 2-LP set of Taylor’s 2020 Grammy Award winning album, American Standard. The sweepstakes will be available on Carnegie Hall’s Facebook page starting June 10 through July 12. Entry is free. For more information, visit carnegiehall.org/jamestaylorsweepstakes.
Live with Carnegie Hall features new original online programs that connect world-class artists with music lovers everywhere. The series features musical performances, storytelling, and conversations that offer deeper insights into great music and behind-the-scenes personal perspectives. Live with Carnegie Hall launched in April 2020 and has included episodes hosted by Joshua Bell, Tituss Burgess, Rosanne Cash, Judy Collins, Renée Fleming, Rhiannon Giddens, Angélique Kidjo, Ute Lemper, Audra McDonald, and more. A schedule of upcoming episodes as well as archived programs available for on-demand viewing can be found on carnegiehall.org/live.
Live with Carnegie Hall is made possible by Hope and Robert F. Smith.
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Additional support has been provided by the Siegel Family Endowment.