• Sept. 30, 2014
  • Concert Paid Tribute to the Legendary Composer

    Evening Was Taped for International and National PBS Telecast

    The 2014 LA Phil A CELEBRATION of JOHN WILLIAMS: Opening Night Gala Concert Was Made Possible with the Proud Support of Rolex, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic

    Proceeds Support the LA Phil and its Education Programs, including YOLA (Youth Orchestra LA)

    The Musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel Generously Donated Their Services for this Concert

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic and its Music Director Gustavo Dudamel opened the 2014/15 season with A Celebration of John Williams: Opening Night Gala Concert, a star-studded evening honoring the greatest film composer of all time at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Tuesday, September 30. The event featured the LA Phil, led by Dudamel, world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, soloists Dan Higgins, Glenn Paulson and Michael Valerio, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets and the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, led by Anne Tomlinson and supported by members from the Angeles Chorale. Also showcased were several elaborate video installations created by projection designer Netia Jones and critically-acclaimed creative studio LIGHTMAP. The all-Williams concert program included specially selected works from throughout his impressive career as well as a surprise appearance during the encores.

    A Celebration of John Williams: Opening Night Gala Concert raised more than $3.4 million for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s many music education programs, which serve more than 150,000 youths, families and teachers every year.

    A Celebration of John Williams: Opening Night Gala Concert began with the arrival of a long list of celebrities and VIPs: Shohreh Aghdashloo, Julie Andrews, Michael and Jane Eisner, Michael Feinstein, Frank Gehry, Herbie and Gigi Hancock, Ben Harper, Anjelica Huston, Anne Jeffreys, Don Johnson, Stana Katic, Sherry Lansing and William Friedkin, Matthew Lillard, Alex Menses, William Shatner, Marietta “Retta” Sirleaf and guest of honor John Williams, who walked the white carpet up Walt Disney Concert Hall’s grand stairway. Local officials in attendance included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Supervisors Don Knabe, Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky, and Los Angeles County CEO Bill T Fujioka. They were joined by LA Phil Chair and Gala Co-Chair Diane B. Paul, LA Phil Music Director Gustavo Dudamel and wife Eloísa Maturén Dudamel, Diane Paul’s Gala Co-Chairs David C. Bohnett and Ann Ronus, LA Phil President Deborah Borda, and LA Phil Chief Operating Officer Gail Samuel, along with more than 620 Gala patrons for the black-tie event.

    At the pre-concert reception guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The setting of BP Hall had been transformed into a cool and modern space with washes of white light and complementary chic furnishings.

    As the reception came to a close, guests were ushered into the auditorium for the all-Williams concert. The program began with the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, positioned among the audience in the rows overlooking either side of the stage, joining Dudamel and the orchestra in the Olympic Fanfare & Theme, which Williams composed for the 1984 Olympic Games and conducted at its premiere during the opening ceremonies.

    The spirited theme was followed by Soundings, first performed at the 2003 opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall, accompanied by video. At the time of the work’s premiere, Williams said that he thought of it “…as an experimental piece for Walt Disney Concert Hall in which a collection of colorful sonorities could be sampled in the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s new environment.”

    Next, superstar violinist Itzhak Perlman, who was the featured soloist on the Academy Award-winning Schindler’s List score, joined the orchestra to perform three pieces from the 1993 movie – Remembrances, Jewish Town – Krakow Ghetto 1941 and Theme. Perlman remained on stage to perform Williams’ original cadenza from the 1971 film adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof, for which the composer won his first Academy Award.

    After Perlman exited the stage, the audience was then treated to a brief audio recording of the evening’s honoree discussing his love of the great Hollywood swashbuckling films that were popular during his youth, after which the orchestra launched into The Duel from the composer’s Academy Award-nominated score from The Adventures of Tintin, accompanied by a thrilling montage that included scenes from many of these early films.

    The orchestra was then joined by soloists Dan Higgins, Glenn Paulson and Michael Valerio to perform Williams’ delightful jazz-infused suite Escapades from Catch Me If You Can.

    The program continued with the orchestra performing Throne Room and Finale from Star Wars, accompanied by a Netia Jones-created video, which featured and animated much of the original Star Wars artwork from the 1977 story boards. This concept art from the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art’s Star Wars Archive included simple line drawings and more detailed graphic representations of what would ultimately become the live action movie. At the end of the piece, Dudamel acknowledged Williams, who stood from his seat in the concert hall to the rousing applause from the audience.

    For the first encore, the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC) entered the stage to sing “Dry Your Tears Afrika” from the 1997 film Amistad. The LACC was accompanied by additional singers from the Angeles Chorale seated behind the stage.

    The concert hall was then filled with the ominous opening measures of Williams’ Theme from Jaws, which caused the children chorus members to flee the stage in mock-terror (but of course with bright smiles on their faces).  Dudamel then took the opportunity to come into the audience to escort the evening’s honoree to the stage, where Williams began leading the orchestra in a performance of his famous Imperial March from Star Wars. Shortly after the music began, the audience was surprised by the appearance onstage of a phalanx of official Imperial Stormtroopers, heralding the arrival of one of history’s most infamous film villains, Darth Vader himself, carrying a light saber. Near the conclusion of the iconic theme, confetti in the shapes of Star Wars characters C3PO and R2D2 cascaded down from the ceiling.

    Post-concert festivities followed on Grand Avenue, where guests were greeted by Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers as they entered the tent for dinner. The tent, decorated in the evening’s gold, white and black metallic theme, featured tributes to John Williams with images from the printed score of Soundings adorning the elegant space. The glass tent brought the outdoors inside, with the beautiful downtown skyline accenting the luxurious décor inside the tent. Floating black lacquered boxes with geometrically placed florals lent an organic element to the tent décor.

    The menu, created by Patina Chef Joachim Splichal, began with a first course of tian of Red Mills Organic red and white quinoa, fava beans, asparagus, peas, Weisser Farms heirloom carrots and sorrel dressing. The entrée presentation was beef tenderloin, bone marrow potato mousseline, roasted romanesco, and blistered vine-ripened tomato in red wine sauce. The vegetarian entrée option was sunchoke agnolotti, autumn mushrooms, crushed hazelnuts and cured egg yolk. Wine was provided by The Wine Group.

    The brief welcome program featured remarks from LA Phil President and CEO Deborah Borda and LA Phil Board Chair Diane B. Paul as they welcomed Dudamel and thanked the evening’s sponsor, Rolex.

    The entertainment continued with the Cowling Band and another surprise of the evening – a guest performance by members of the original Cantina Band from Star Wars.

    While patrons continued to enjoy the music, alternating desserts were served: chocolate hazelnut pudding; sable breton, hazelnut cremeux; espresso whipped ganache; berry soufflé tart; fromage blanc, fresh berries and raspberry coulis.

    To add to the festive atmosphere of the evening, Julie Andrews received a birthday cake at her table, while surrounding attendees sang to her.

    Guests continued to dance into the evening.

    The Celebration of John Williams: Opening Night Gala Concert Committee included Gala Co-Chairs David C. Bohnett, Diane B. Paul, and Ann Ronus; and Committee members Wallis Annenberg, Judith Beckmen, Edye Broad, Mari Danihel, Margaret Eberhardt, Jane B. Eisner, Kiki Ramos Gindler, Ghada Irani, Sarah Ketterer, Soraya Nazarian, Nancy S. Sanders, Carla Sands, Steven Spielberg, Sutton Stracke, Alyce Williamson, and Marilyn Ziering. The Celebration of John Williams: Opening Night Gala party was created by Shiraz Events.

    All Gala proceeds support the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its education and community programs, including YOLA, the signature program of Gustavo Dudamel. The Gala concert was made possible with the proud support of Rolex, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres – orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop – at two of L.A.’s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall (www.laphil.com) and the Hollywood Bowl (www.hollywoodbowl.com). The LA Phil’s season at Walt Disney Concert Hall extends from October through May, and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs.

    Leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, Rolex, headquartered in Geneva, enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. It’s Oyster watches, all certified as chronometers for their precision, are symbols of excellence, performance and prestige. Pioneer in the development of the wristwatch as early as 1905, the brand is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism introduced in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, science, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities as well as philanthropic programs. Rolex is proud to be the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and sponsor of the 2014 Los Angeles Philharmonic Gala at the world-renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall on September 30, 2014.

    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2014, AT 7 PM
    Walt Disney Concert Hall,
    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles


    GUSTAVO DUDAMEL, conductor
    ITZHAK PERLMAN, violin
    DAN HIGGINS, alto saxophone
    GLENN PAULSON, vibraphone
    MICHAEL VALERIO, string bass
                Anne Tomlinson, artistic director
    NETIA JONES, projection design
    ROBIN GRAY, lighting design

    Olympic Fanfare and Theme
    Three Pieces from Schindler’s List
    Cadenza and Variations from Fiddler on the Roof
    The Duel from The Adventures of Tintin
    Escapades from Catch Me if You Can
    Throne Room and Finale from Star Wars

    The 2014 Opening Night Gala and Concert was made possible with the proud support of Rolex, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    Proceeds support the LA Phil and its education programs, including YOLA (Youth Orchestra LA). The musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel generously donated their services for this concert.


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  • contact:

    Sophie Jefferies, sjefferies@laphil.org, 213.972.3422
    Lisa White, lwhite@laphil.org, 213.972.3408
    Photos: 213.972.3034