6. Tchaikovksy Conducted Opening Night at Carnegie Hall

Walter Damrosch knew he needed a big name draw for opening night in Carnegie Hall in 1891, and Tchaikovsky was the it-composer of the era. Tchaikovsky conducted 5 of his pieces and kept a notebook entitled Trip to America that documented his experience in the New World. The Carnegie Hall website reports that this small notebook was discovered in one of Tchaikovksy’s suit pockets after he died with some great musings:

On the first page, he wrote, “Things to ask. Is it safe to drink the water in America? What kind of cigarettes do men smoke in New York City? What kind of hats do they wear? Can I get my laundry done there? Check acoustics of the new music hall.”…

He noted that “in other countries, if somebody comes up to you and they’re nice, you suspect, ‘What do they want?’ Here in America, they don’t want anything. They just want to be nice.”