The Los Angeles Philharmonic and its Music Director Gustavo Dudamel opened the 2013/14 season with the 10th Anniversary Celebration: Opening Night Gala Concert, a star-studded evening honoring the anniversary of the opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall, Monday, September 30.
The milestone event for the iconic live music venue featured the LA Phil, led by Dudamel, and world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who also performed during one of the three inaugural gala concerts 10 years ago. The music of the evening, from Bach to Thomas Adès, was selected to tell the story of the Hall’s creation and highlight its crystalline acoustics. The entire program was enhanced by installations created by video artist Netia Jones with input from the building’s architect and evening’s honoree Frank Gehry. The 10th Anniversary Celebration: Opening Night Gala Concert raised more than $5 million for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s many music education programs, which serve more than 120,000 youths, families and teachers every year.
The 10th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: Opening Night Gala and Concert began with the arrival of celebrities and VIPs: Julie Andrews, Eli and Edye Broad, Albert Brooks, Burt Bacharach, Ty Burrell, Michael and Jane Eisner, Jane Fonda, Frank Gehry, Herbie and Gigi Hancock, Ben Harper, Alejandro Iñárritu, Cheyenne Jackson, Sherry Lansing and William Friedkin, Matthew Lillard, Chris O’Donnell, Emmy Rossum, Jane Seymour, William Shatner, Decades founder/style curator Cameron Silver, and film composer John Williams, who walked the red carpet up Walt Disney Concert Hall’s grand stairway. Local officials in attendance included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe and wife Julie. They were joined by LA Phil Chairman David C. Bohnett, Honorary Gala Chair Eloísa Maturén Dudamel, and Gala Co-Chairs Joan Hotchkis and Alyce Williamson, along with more than 720 Gala patrons for the black-tie event.
At the pre-concert reception in BP Hall, guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres among the silver, white and metallic designs accentuated with a 15-foot-tall floral arrangement. Throughout the Concert Hall lobby areas were projections designed by Jones, featuring quotes by Gehry and images of the building. The LA Phil thanks Toyota for its support of the 10th Anniversary Gala Cocktail Reception.
The concert began with John Cage’s groundbreaking work, 4’33" performed by Yo-Yo Ma and the orchestra. The program opener was selected by Dudamel to allow the audience to experience the ambient sound of the Hall. As often is the case, the reaction from audience members unfamiliar with the work varied from puzzlement to amusement to a sense of wonder.
Ma and the orchestra remained on stage to perform Bach’s Prelude from Cello Suite No. 3, a piece that illustrates the inspiration of the venue. Next on the program was Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, also featuring Ma, chosen to convey the design process/iteration of the building.
Following was Thomas Adès’ These Premises Are Alarmed, written in 1996, selected to communicate the complexities of the building’s construction. Adès, who was in the audience, joined Dudamel on stage at the conclusion of his piece.
Next was the third movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9, representing the struggle involved in getting the hall funded and built, followed by the fourth movement of Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3, “Organ,” which embodied the celebratory aspect of the opening 10 years ago. Each composition was accompanied by video from Netia Jones, who worked closely with Frank Gehry to create visual images specific to each piece and reflective of the dynamic essence of the building.
The special evening’s honoree Frank Gehry joined Dudamel on stage for bows after the Saint-Saëns. The two also acknowledged Yasuhisa Toyota, acoustician for Walt Disney Concert Hall, in the audience.
The concert program concluded with an encore, a special arrangement of When You Wish Upon a Star, with images of Walt and Lillian Disney in acknowledgment of Mrs. Disney’s generous role in making Walt Disney Concert Hall a reality. The encore was also accompanied by a festive confetti drop of silver Mylar stars imprinted with “10th Anniversary.”
Post-concert festivities followed on Grand Avenue, where guests were welcomed to the dinner under a tent. The tent, decorated in the evening’s Starry Night theme, boasted lit entry tunnels and a tent ceiling decorated to mimic a galaxy of stars. The walls of the tent were draped in silver fabric with modern table settings of white and silver. White orchids in glass containers, at varying heights, lent an organic element to the tent décor.
Tables were pre-set with a salad of avocado, Dungeness crab, cucumber spaghettini, pequillo pepper coulis, micro herbs, gazpacho tomato and crescent crostini. As Gala attendees enjoyed their salads, LA Phil President Deborah Borda, Chairman David C. Bohnett, and Music Director Gustavo Dudamel made welcomed the crowd and also acknowledged Yo-Yo Ma, Netia Jones, the Gala Committee Co-Chairs Joan Hotchkis and Alyce Williamson, and the orchestra.
Following the remarks was a brief contemporary dance performance in further celebration of the evening.
Dinner continued with the entrée of black olive crusted Colorado lamb loin, farmers’ market vegetable tart, Roman polenta cakes and roasted campari tomato. Dessert was a carmelized chocolate pudding, huckleberries, tonka bean Chantilly, blackberry sponge, cassis gel and currant chips. The menu was created by Patina Chef Joachim Splichal, and the meal’s Broquel Chardonnay and Malbec wine pairings were provided by Trapiche Vineyard of Mendoza, Argentina.
During dinner, guests were treated to the sounds of the variety dance band Rhythm Collective.
The 10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: Opening Night Gala and Concert Committee included Walt Disney Concert Hall 10th Anniversary Honorary Chair Diane Disney Miller, Honorary Chair Eloísa Maturén Dudamel; Gala Co-Chairs David C. Bohnett, Joan Hotchkis and Alyce Williamson; and Committee members Julie Andrews, Wallis Annenberg, Judith Beckmen, Lynn A. Booth, Edye Broad, Mari L. Danihel, Jane B. Eisner, Kiki Ramos Gindler, Carol Colburn Grigor, Maria Hummer-Tuttle, Ghada Irani, Joan Jacobs, Sarah Ketterer, Ginny Mancini, Soraya Nazarian, Annette O’Malley, Diane B. Paul, Sandy Pressman, Ann Ronus, Cio Soler, and Marilyn Ziering. The 10th Anniversary Gala party was created by Shiraz Events.
All Gala proceeds support the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its education 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 and the Hollywood Bowl. 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.