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  • WDCH
  • Oct. 2, 2008
  • Stravinsky Program and Announcement of Commissions Fund Honoring Salonen Among the Tributes to the Long-Term Music Director

    This gala evening benefits the Musicians Pension Fund and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Breguet, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Exclusive Sponsor of the Opening Night Gala.

    The 2008/09 season opening night gala hosted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Thursday, October 2, and dedicated to Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen in his final season with the LA PHIL, was a festive affair. The black-tie evening featured beloved sopranos Barbara Hannigan, Audra McDonald and Dawn Upshaw, who joined Salonen and the Philharmonic in a program reflecting Salonen’s deep affinity for the music of Igor Stravinsky by featuring a series of selections from Stravinsky’s The Firebird. The theme of the evening and the season, “Celebrate Salonen,” was additionally illustrated by the surprise announcement before the concert by LA PHIL Board Chairman David Bohnett and President and CEO Deborah Borda about the Esa-Pekka Salonen Commissions Fund. The Fund has been established to support the commissioning and performance of new works, secure the LA PHIL’s ongoing commitment to new music, and honor Salonen’s remarkable achievement of presenting new music to current and future audiences. The entire evening was graciously supported by Breguet, the official timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Funds raised from the gala support the Musicians Pension Fund and the presentations, concerts and programs of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, including its educational and community outreach programs.

    The evening kicked off with red carpet arrivals of guests, including Eric Idle, Don Johnson, Garry Marshall, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, and Los Angeles County Supervisors Yvonne Burke and Zev Yaroslavsky, among other distinguished attendees. Guests enjoyed intimate reception offerings of hors d’oeuvres and cocktails before the evening’s concert performance. In addition to the selections from The Firebird, the concert program included Stravinsky’s “No Word from Tom,” from The Rake’s Progress, and Adams’ “This is Prophetic” from Nixon in China, both performed by Ms. Upshaw. McDonald took the stage to sing Ellington’s Solitude, Sondheim’s There Won’t Be Trumpets, and Styne’s “10,432 Sheep.” Ms. Hannigan followed with Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre. The concert ended with a final selection of The Firebird, accompanied by a stunning fireworks display.

    The city lights and starry skies surrounding Grand Avenue provided a magnificent backdrop for the evening’s elegant post-concert festivities. In keeping with the Russian influence of the concert’s Stravinsky/Firebird programming, the open-air tent was decorated in a brilliant red and black color scheme, with red lighting, plush black carpet, crystal chandeliers and a glossy black dance floor. Sleek, red silk-covered dinner tables were adorned with centerpieces of hanging bird cages and artful black branches, and surrounded by plush black suede chairs. The black walls of the tent were accented by silver sconces, and over-sized silver mirrors reflected the festive atmosphere. Images of red feathers and glittering stars were projected onto the ceiling of the tent and guests were awed by the special lighting effects that simulated a “firebird” flying across the room followed by the words “Celebrate Salonen” appearing on the wall. Outside the tent, the Breguet Lounge showcased the brand’s BaselWorld 2008 timepieces, a collection with outstanding technical ability. The collection includes the “Heritage Tourbillon” and the “Reine de Naples” with a cameo dial, sculpted from a shell. In the red-illuminated cocktail area, guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and Stoli elit specialty Red Square Martinis beneath the scenic backdrop of the Breguet logo image projected against Walt Disney Concert Hall’s exterior stainless steel panels.

    Acclaimed chef Joachim Splichal of The Patina Group created a sumptuous gourmet dinner to match the Stravinsky/Firebird décor of the evening. The gala dinner began with oak-smoked salmon with compressed traditional garnishes, potato blinis and sour cream. The main course consisted of marinated rack of lamb with parsley root puree, wilted baby spinach, roasted shallots and sour cherry sauce. The meal ended with a delectable dessert of black Russian panna cotta with a trio of biscotti – anise seed, cocoa and pistachio. Premium wines for the evening were provided by Gallo Family Vineyards.

    Following dinner, guests were treated to brief remarks from famed architect Frank Gehry before Salonen took the stage and expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the experiences and tributes he has enjoyed during his tenure with the Philharmonic.

    The Eurotones, a Continental 9-piece ensemble, entertained guests throughout the evening with its lively retro-European cabaret music. After dinner, the band kicked up the energy level, inspiring guests to get out on the dance floor.

    In keeping with the LA Phil’s mission to bring live music to as broad an audience as possible, support of this event enabled more than 1,000 music students and teachers from throughout Los Angeles to attend the concert as guests of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    The gala committee for the 2008 Los Angeles Philharmonic benefit at Walt Disney Concert Hall includes honorary chairs Berta and Frank Gehry and Diane and Ronald W. Miller; gala chairs David Bohnett and Tom Gregory; Margaret and Jerrold L. Eberhardt; Joan and John Hotchkis; Ginny Mancini; and Elizabeth and Henry T. Segerstrom; in addition to chairs Judith and Tom Beckmen; Helen and Peter S. Bing; Eris and Lawrence Field; Lenore and Bernard Greenberg; Carla and Fred C. Sands; and Alyce and Warren B. Williamson.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the evening’s exclusive sponsor and Official Los Angeles Philharmonic Timepiece, Breguet. Event design and production were handled by Special Occasions; Mistyka J. Garcia with Special Occasions served as production manager; décor by Revelry; flowers by Mark’s Garden; rentals by Classic Party Rentals (El Segundo); linens by Resource One; chairs by Chameleon Chairs; tent by Classic Tents; lighting by Images by Lighting; audio by No Static; and band management by Corporate Concerts.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music — Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association’s involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.

    Breguet is the ultimate watch brand among the 159 member companies comprising the Swatch Group Ltd of Biel, Switzerland, the largest watch company in the world. With boutiques in Beverly Hills, New York, Cannes, London, Paris, Geneva, Seoul, Vienna, Dubai and Tokyo, the 232-year-old brand appeals to a very discerning clientele.


    THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2008, at 7 PM

    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles


    ESA-PEKKA SALONEN, conductor


    AUDRA McDONALD, soprano

    DAWN UPSHAW, soprano

    STRAVINSKY Music from The Firebird

    ADAMS “This is Prophetic” from Nixon in China

    Ms. Upshaw

    STRAVINSKY Music from The Firebird

    ELLINGTON Solitude

    Ms. McDonald

    SONDHEIM There Won’t Be Trumpets

    Ms. McDonald

    STYNE/CAHN “10,432 Sheep”

    Ms. McDonald

    STRAVINSKY Music from The Firebird

    STRAVINSKY “No Word from Tom” from The Rake’s Progress

    Ms. Upshaw

    STRAVINSKY Music from The Firebird

    LIGETI Mysteries of the Macabre

    Ms. Hannigan

    STRAVINSKY Music from The Firebird

    6 PM Pre-concert reception throughout the Hall including wine and hors d‘oeuvres

    7 PM Concert

    8:30 PM Dinner and dancing

    This gala evening benefits the Musicians Pension Fund and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Breguet, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Exclusive Sponsor of the Opening Night Gala.

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  • Contact:

    Lisa White,, 213.972.3408; Photos: 213.972.3034