NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Carnegie Hall reopened its doors Wednesday night for its first live performance in about 19 months.
The opening night gala concert featured the Philadelphia Orchestra with pianist Yuja Wang, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and performing works by Beethoven, Bernstein and Shostakovich.
Carnegie Hall had been closed since March 13, 2020.
Carnegie executive and artistic director Clive Gillinson said the pandemic had caused a $7.1 million loss in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020 and slightly less in the year ending this past June.
"When we first opened the box office, people were crying over the phone buying their ticket," Gillinson said. "Everybody is so keyed up, this is the big moment, the moment when music comes back again, peoples' normal lives come back again."
One of the pieces the Philadelphia Orchestra played is called "7 O'clock Shout," an anthem to first responders and those evening expressions of gratitude.
Valerie Coleman wrote the piece last year when the orchestra pivoted to online performances.
"That in and of itself was really a symbol of the times, but now to perform it live on stage really brings new depth and meaning to it, and it's going to reach us in all new ways," Coleman said.
Stathis Antonakopoulus offered free champagne at Carnegie Diner on Wednesday night to Carnegie Hall employees and ticket holders.
"For us it's about moving forward and celebrating, we have to celebrate all together," Antonakopoulus said.
It's a party to mark a return of one of New York City's greatest cultural institutions.
"Without culture, New York is bereft, it's as if its soul is missing, its heart is missing," Gillinson said. "So I think tonight the soul comes back again."
The performance was also live streamed on Carnegie Hall's website and social media accounts.
The iconic performance venue is planning 100 concerts this season, down from 150 pre-pandemic.
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