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A Carnegie Hall Love Story

Judy Francis Zankel

"As lifelong New Yorkers, Judy and I have always loved Carnegie Hall. We are thrilled to help build this new hall, which greatly broadens what Carnegie Hall can offer its audiences in the next century."
—Arthur Zankel

Photo Credit: © Chris Lee

Judy Francis Zankel has had a unique history with Carnegie Hall. She made her "Carnegie Hall debut" by walking across the stage of the main hall to receive her diploma from the High School of Music and Art. She attended one of the famed Bob Dylan concerts in the 1960s, which occurred on that same stage. Little did she know that decades later her name would be emblazoned on the building as she and her late husband, Arthur, became the namesake for Carnegie Hall's newest venue—Zankel Hall—in 2003.

When Arthur and Judy Zankel met, Arthur was already serving as Vice Chairman of Carnegie Hall's Board of Trustees. However, like Judy, Arthur's own love story with the Hall began much earlier in 1980, when he made his first contribution for $100 to become a member of Carnegie Hall's Friends program.

His profound love of music and growing appreciation for Carnegie Hall inspired him to become more involved over the years. Nineteen years after Arthur's first gift as a Carnegie Hall Friend, the Zankels pledged $10 million to enable Carnegie Hall to create its third stage, named in their honor: Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall.

"As lifelong New Yorkers, Judy and I have always loved Carnegie Hall," Arthur had said. "We are thrilled to help build this new hall, which greatly broadens what Carnegie Hall can offer its audiences in the next century."

"Arthur and I shared a love of music," Judy explains. His unstinting conviction that all lovers of great music should find a home here at Carnegie Hall created the mission behind Zankel Hall—to welcome truly diverse great music from around the globe and provide a technological platform for outreach to new audiences worldwide.

Zankel Hall—whose seating and stage can be reconfigured—is home to all kinds of music: traditional recitals as well as world music, jazz, pop, new-music and chamber concerts; including that which Arthur, who preferred classical music, might not have attended. But that was precisely the point: he wanted Zankel Hall to attract new and younger audiences.

Three years after the opening of Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall received an extraordinary gift that reflected Arthur's far-reaching vision for the Hall that he helped create: a bequest totaling $26.2 million from the estate of Arthur Zankel to go towards a restricted endowment to support the programming and operations of Judy and Arthur Zankel Hall.

Arthur's estate gift may be the second largest in Carnegie Hall's history, but Judy points out that all legacy gifts make a difference because "every program has so many different facets." She believes that bequests help secure the artistic, educational, and financial strength of Carnegie Hall—allowing it to undertake new groundbreaking initiatives for future generations.

For Judy, it was only natural that she include a gift to Carnegie Hall in her own will. "There was never any doubt in my mind that I would do that," she says. "It's such an important institution, and I hope it thrives forever."

Set the Stage For the Future

Gifts of any size help Carnegie Hall improve the cultural experience in New York City and strengthen our tradition of excellence. To learn more about including us in your will or other estate plan, contact Susan J. Brady at 212-903-9624 or sbrady@carnegiehall.org.

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