Ulmer made Carnegie Hall with the help of conductor Fritz Reiner, godfather of the Ulmers' daughter, Arianné. The New York City concert venue Carnegie Hall serves as the film's setting for the plot and performances presented. A tribute to classical music and Carnegie Hall, the film features appearances by some of the prominent music figures of 20th century performing within the legendary concert hall. Based on a story by silent movie actress Seena Owen, Carnegie Hall follows the life of Irish immigrant Nora Ryan who arrives in America just as the grand concert hall is christened in 1891, and whose life is intertwined with the performers, conductors, aspiring artists and humble employees who call it home. The plot serves as a thread to connect the music performances.
Carnegie hall 1947 heifetz piatigorsky rubinstein reiner walter
Léo Delibes – "Ah!... Par les dieux inspirés ... Où va la jeune indoue" from opera Lakmé – sung by Lily Pons
Camille Saint-Saëns – "Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix" from opera Samson et Dalila – sung by Risë Stevens (mezzo-soprano)
Mischa Portnoff – The 57th Street Rhapsody (composed for this film) – pianist uncertain; Portnoff's hands are filmed playing the climactic piece.
A mother (Marsha Hunt) wants her son (William Prince) to grow up to be a pianist good enough to play at Carnegie Hall. The son would prefer to play jazz with Vaughan Monroe's orchestra. But Mama's wishes prevail and the son appears at Carnegie Hall as the composer-conductor-pianist of a modern trumpet concerto, with Harry James as the soloist.