History of the Music Hall of the
Andrew Carnegie Free Library

The Music Hall of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library of Carnegie, Pennsylvania is one of only a few, true Music Halls constructed by Andrew Carnegie, adjacent to a Carnegie Library. Other such library--music hall combinations were built in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania(1890--the very first Carnegie Hall)(now Pittsburgh's North Side--next to The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science); Braddock, Pa.(1893--library finished in 1889); Pittsburgh(Oakland Civic Center)(1895); Homestead/Munhall, Pa.(1898), and Duquesne, Pa.(1904-1968). Lecture Halls/small auditoriums and/or community rooms/all-purpose rooms were built with many of the 2,811 libraries, and library branches in the larger cities, constructed by Andrew Carnegie(and, all of the early libraries, mentioned above, received a lecture hall or all-purpose room, in addition to the gift of a music hall). However, only a few of the earliest libraries received a true, accoustically-perfect music hall. Of course, Andrew Carnegie also built free-standing Carnegie Halls in places such as New York City and Dunfermline, Scotland(his ancestral home); note that both cities have Carnegie-built library buildings in other parts of the city.

The Music Hall of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library opened to the public on May 10, 1901, nine days after the opening of the Library. The Carnegie Men's Glee Club presented a concert on that day. A similar local organization, the Carnegie Civic Chorale, continues to provide musical concerts in the Music Hall, from time-to-time.

Andrew Carnegie, accompanied by noted educator, astronomer, and optician John A. Brashear, travelled to Carnegie, Pennsylvania by leased streetcar to dedicate the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall on April 22, 1902. During the dedication ceremony, Andrew Carnegie provided another gift to the institution: a new stage curtain which included a painting of Skibo Castle, Mr. Carnegie's Scottish home. A re-creation of this historic stage curtain, donated by First Carnegie Deposit Bank, Skibo Banc Shares M.H.C., and Stage 62, was dedicated on July 18, 1997, during that evening's performance of the Stage 62 production of the musical, Pippin.

The Music Hall of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library is patterned after Carnegie Hall in New York City. Hence, our Music Hall is accoustically-perfect for musical concerts. In fact, each year the Music Hall is rented to musical groups, such as the Tsar Lazar Men's Choir(August and September of 1999)--not for concerts, but for the production of musical recordings on Compact Disk!

The Music Hall, which includes a balcony level, has 788 seats(originally 800 seats). These beautiful mahogany seats, original to the Music Hall, include a wire frame directly under the seat, where a gentleman could store his top hat during a performance.

In addition to the Carnegie Civic Chorale, the Music Hall is the home to three other non-profit, resident performing arts organizations. Stage 62 provides four plays per year in the Music Hall; this includes a musical and an annual play for children. The Pittsburgh Savoyards, the oldest theatrical troupe in Western Pennsylvania(60+ years-old) usually performs two plays per year; the Savoyards specialize in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, but perform other plays from time-to-time.

The Carnegie Performing Arts Center, a non-profit dance and drama school, performs three dance recitals in the Music Hall, each year. Begun in 1978 as the Carnegie Ballet Company, and later known as the Chartiers Valley Arts Council Ballet School and Dance Company, the organization has operated under their current name since March of 1995. In addition to performing in the Music Hall, The Carnegie Performing Arts Center leases the Library's gymnasium, on the lower level of the Library building, as their dance studio.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, two other well-known Pittsburgh-area musical groups performed, regularly, in the Library's Music Hall: the River City Brass Band and the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra.

Keith Lockhart, named the 20th Conductor(since 1885) of the Boston Pops Orchestra in February of 1995, conducted the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra on the Music Hall's stage through much of the 1980s. He continued as the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra's chief Conductor, among other conductorial posts, until he became the Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1990.

Performing Arts Organizations In-Residence at the Music Hall -

Carnegie Civic Chorale

Carnegie Performing Arts Center non-profit dance and drama school, with studio on the lower level of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library building.

The Pittsburgh Savoyards specializing in plays by Gilbert and Sullivan.

Stage 62, performing four popular plays a year, including one children's play(usually in February).

Photographs of the Music Hall

News Release - July 12, 1997:
Historic Music Hall Curtain Re-created

Photographs of Music Hall Curtain Re-creation
Dedicated July 18, 1997
Photo 1 *** Photo 2 *** Photo 3

Programs from Past Music Hall Performances and Events

Play, "Everybody's Here" - September 29 and 30, 1932

Musical Comedy, "The World's Allright" - March 15 and 16, 1956

Spring Concert of the Music Department of Carnegie High School - May 2, 1947

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Carnegie High School Annual Graduating Class Services -

June 1, 1952:
Page 1 *** Pages 2 and 3 *** Page 4

May 31, 1953:
Page 1 *** Pages 2 and 3 *** Page 4

June 6, 1954:
Page 1 *** Pages 2 and 3 *** Page 4

June 5, 1955:
Page 1 *** Pages 2 and 3 *** Page 4

History of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library

Infcrmation about the Andrew Carnegie Free Library

Cover Page: History of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall

History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries

This Internet, World Wide Web Site Administered by Glenn A. Walsh.
Unless otherwise indicated, all web pages in this account are Copyright 2000, Glenn A. Walsh, All Rights Reserved.
Additions and corrections to: ACFLMusicHall@andrewcarnegie.cc

Last modified : Thursday, 30-Nov-2000 16:36:27 EST.