BEETHOVEN’S BEST

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LA Philharmonic President Deborah Borda and actor Ed Harris hit a high note at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Photo by Matthew Imaging

A-list actors Sela Ward, Bradley Whitford and Jane Kaczmarek were among the lovers of Ludwig von B. who gathered to celebrate the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s third season at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The evening kicked off with a sparkling champagne reception where celeb chef Joachim Splichal put his special twist on the flavors of the season, serving up tasty morsels like venison with pumpkin chutney. There were fashion statements aplenty with everything from richly embroidered evening coats to beaded sheaths, fox shrugs and even a few pink and purple tresses.

Soon it was show time and revelers took their seats for a presentation called “Beethoven-a Journey Into Genius.” This classical gas of a performance featured our own Ed Harris, who gave concert-goers insight into the composer’s life with a dramatic reading of LVB’s personal letters. “His music speaks for itself,” the four time Oscar-nominated actor told the crowd. “But his letters give us a glimpse of him as a human being.”

It was also a special evening for kids in the crowd who attended along with their teachers as part of the LA Phil’s education program called Music Matters.

Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen was at his animated best leading the orchestra through the “Lenore Overture” and selections from Symphony No. 1 and the allegretto from Symphony No. 7.

But it was a performance of Piano Concerto No. 5 by Russian virtuoso Evgeny Kissin that had music lovers mesmerized.

“Absolutely incredible,” said Beverly Rosenthal, who joined the audience in an eight-minute standing ovation before being showered by a sea of red and gold confetti.

After the final bows, locals Ginny Mancini, Eli Broad and Marc and Eva Stern made their way to the glitzy gala on Grand. The street was transformed into an elegant flower-filled salon with 5,000 roses from Mark’s Garden. The space was dressed up in deep romantic reds and the black tables topped off with towering silver vases brimming with blooms.

Chef Splichal offered up a first-class feast with spice-roasted lobster salad paired with braised endive and oranges, chateau steak in a peppered red wine sauce and for the finale: caramel and walnut pear strudel with Salzburg blue cheese ice cream.

The evening also marked the beginning of “Beethoven Unbound” and a lot more of Ludwig to come. During the next few months, Esa-Pekka and Co. will be performing all nine Beethoven symphonies for the first time in a single season. Now that’s an ode to joy!