Behind the Scenes at Carnegie Hall

lisa hilton plays piano with rudy royston, jd allen, and luques curtis

Photo by Ryan Nava.

Are you curious what it’s like to perform at Carnegie Hall?

One thing for sure is that it was a LOT easier the sixth time than it was the first time, especially with an enthusiastic audience, so this year was my favorite year so far. The fact that my friends JD, Luques, and Rudy all there this year just warmed my heart – we really have been playing together a while and it’s just getting better for us.

OK, back to the question, what is it like to play there? Every room has a unique energy, as well as advantages and disadvantages – but these days I only perform in rooms that I like. Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall has perfect acoustics and an amazing 9′ Steinway D, that’s way up there in the advantages category for a pianist of course, since I only get to play a piano like that maybe 2-3 times a year at best. Just imagine my favorite thing to do – playing the piano – on one of the finest instruments in the entire country. It’s like a Ferrari to me – a high performance vehicle – that’s what it’s like! You can see the piano practically overwhelms the stage – it’s huge – that big “engine” has longer strings with the ability for a greater range of sound as well as dynamics. So I get to enjoy the thrill of the sonic beauty, the easy “touch” which allows quickness and clarity, but I also try and “milk” the room and piano with contrast in volume – playing very very softly as well as really pretty loud, all magnified naturally by the design of the room, so no microphones are needed. That’s definitely cool. I also that that it’s a “treat” for most of us to go to Carnegie Hall so there are positive expectations with the audience. The room and stage are very pretty and live up to those expectations – lots of chandeliers all around – and I like being a part of a special experience. As an artist, I like playing up to those advantages – so yes, the room is inspiring.

OK, what’s it like to play Carnegie Hall?

It’s absolutely soooo much fun! We had an awesome time! I think we’ll be back Jan 10, 2021!

– Lisa

photo grid of lisa hilton at carnegie hall

Photos by Ryan Nava.