-week festival featuring Youssou N'Dour, Yo-Yo Ma, Pierre Boulez, and John Adams. Zankel Hall, under the main auditorium, has a movable floor and stage, and can seat 540 to 644, depending on whether t

Carnegie Hall's new auditorium will open Sept. 12 with a two-week festival featuring Youssou N'Dour, Yo-Yo Ma, Pierre Boulez, and John Adams. Zankel Hall, under the main auditorium, has a movable floor and stage, and can seat 540 to 644, depending on whether the stage is at the end or in the middle, and whether there's an orchestra pit.

Construction on the two-level auditorium began in early 1999, with the opening originally set for last September. About 6,300 cubic yards of bedrock under Carnegie Hall were removed to create the auditorium, which cost about $72 million, $22 million more than originally planned.

It's designed to be flexible in appearance and programming. "How do we change Zankel Hall's stage configuration? Practice, practice, practice," Robert Harth, Carnegie Hall's executive director, said.

Eighty concerts and 28 educational events are scheduled for the first season, which begins with two programs Sept. 12. Adams will conduct works by Ives, Harrison, Ades, and Salonen with a hand-picked ensemble, and the Omar Sosa Octet, a jazz group, will follow. Tickets for the first two concerts are $25.

"We've deliberately done away with the traditional benefit gala to allow the widest possible audience to experience the hall in the first two weeks," Harth said.

James Levine, Anna Deavere Smith, Meredith Monk, Emanuel Ax, and Andreas Scholl also are to perform in the opening festival. Other artists during the initial season will include Michael Feinstein, Audra McDonald, Emmylou Harris, Mitsuko Uchida, Peter Serkin, Dawn Upshaw, Michael Tilson-Thomas and 12 cellists from the Berlin Philharmonic. The top ticket price is $75.

World premieres will be given to works by Marc-Andre Dalbavie, Osvaldo Golijov, Adam Guettel, Peter Lieberson, Kaija Saariaho, and Steven Stucky. There also will be jazz and world-music concerts, discussions involving architect Frank Gehry and director Peter Sellars, and a performance of Feldman's String Quartet II, which runs up to six hours.


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