Malibu Seen / By Kim Devore

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Malibu’s David Foster and legendary music man Herbie Hancock groove with Gershwin at the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s opening night. Photo by Matthew Imaging

Gershwin! Gustavo! Gardenias!

It was a “Symphony in G” at Walt Disney Concert Hall-Grand, Glorious and Glamorous.

Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel is going on his third season, but the “Dude” never ceases to mesmerize and just gets better every year.

The 2011-2012 season kicked off with a spellbinding evening of George Gershwin favorites.

The theme was “Rhapsody in Blue,” so it was only appropriate that Malibu music lovers like Ginny Mancini, Marc and Eva Stern, and David Foster waltzed their way down a sapphire-colored carpet and into the glitzy champagne reception.

Deborah Borda was a vision from the Jazz Age sporting an elegant black velvet gown with dramatic pink satin sleeves and a bit of dazzling bling for extra pizzazz. The L.A. Phil President mixed it up with civic leaders like Los Angeles County Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Glora Molina as well as actor Don Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar and famed composer Quincy Jones.

BP Hall was elegantly dressed and packed elbow-to-elbow as the guests enjoyed cocktails and servers made the rounds with everything from foie gras and fresh figs to steak tartare, duck wontons and Camembert with honey.

Soon it was showtime and everyone made their way into the one and only concert hall.

From cymbals to trombones to tubas, the performance showed off the orchestra in all its glory. The all-Gershwin program started with “Cuban Overture.” Herbie Hancock then joined the program for an unforgettable performance of “An American in Paris,” adding his unique touch and special improvisation for a rendition like no other.

What better way to end the evening than with an appreciative audience.

After a standing ovation and a shower of silver and sapphire confetti, gala guests made their way to Grand Avenue and a scene right out of the 1920s.

Like Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” you expected to see Cole Porter or Josephine Baker at any moment.

The supper club was done up in shades of ivory and deep blues with ostrich plumes and opulent mirrors, brocade lamps, deco chandeliers, palm trees and classic movie posters with the likes of Jean Harlow. The fragrant scent of gardenias filled the air everywhere as a lively jazz band set the scene.

Deborah Borda welcomed the guests saying, “The music of Gershwin is the music of our nation, so let’s celebrate.” She also had special thanks for the community for making the magic possible.

The group soon tucked into a classic retro menu of Crab Louis with shrimp and avocado, beef Wellington with Bearnaise sauce, broccoli flan and baked Alaska.

In keeping with tradition, the LA Phil ran the operation with military precision and it went off without a hitch.

After dessert, everyone hit the dance floor for an old-fashioned conga line.

All gala proceeds support the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its education programs, including YOLA, the signature program of Gustavo Dudamel. The event raised a whopping $3.2 million dollars and was truly one of a kind. Even if you weren’t an American in Paris, on this extraordinary night, the LA Phil made you feel like one.