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Arthur Zankel, 73; financier gave $10m to Carnegie Hall

NEW YORK -- Arthur Zankel, the financier who gave $10 million for the Carnegie Hall recital space that bears his name, plunged to his death from his ninth floor apartment in an apparent suicide Thursday, police said yesterday. He was 73.

Mr. Zankel, Carnegie Hall's vice chairman, died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital after apparently jumping from his Fifth Avenue apartment, Detective Noel Waters said, confirming a report in the New York Sun.

Mr. Zankel, a member of the Citigroup Inc. board of directors from 1986 until last year, specialized in real estate investment through his firm, High Rise Capital Management. He was a managing partner of First Manhattan Co. for almost 20 years, until 1997.

Sanford Weill, chairman of Citigroup and of Carnegie Hall's board of trustees, called Nr. Zankel ''my closest friend and adviser." Mr. Zankel was being treated for severe depression, Weill said.

Mr. Zankel's donation helped fund the $100 million venue at Carnegie Hall that opened in 2003. Zankel Hall fulfilled Andrew Carnegie's original vision for three performance spaces at the complex, offering an intimate venue -- with seats for about 600 compared with 2,804 in the main Isaac Stern auditorium.

Weill, who is the namesake for Carnegie Hall's third venue, the 268-seat Joan and Sanford I. Weill Recital Hall, said he and Mr. Zankel met through a mutual friend 48 years ago.

Mr. Zankel loved that the venue that carried his name brought together musicians from all over the world, Weill said. ''He loved reaching out to young people" and broadening ''outreach in areas of education and all kinds of music all over the world," he added.

The construction of Zankel Hall required the digging of more than 6,300 cubic yards of bedrock -- enough to fill 1 1/2 Olympic-size swimming pools. The hall sits about 40 feet below street level, directly under the main auditorium. A system of lifts, steel trusses, and wagons allow artists to rearrange the floor and stage to fit most any performance.

Mr. Zankel leaves his wife, Judy, and four sons from a previous marriage.

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