The Los Angeles Philharmonic pulled out all the stops at Walt Disney Concert Hall with a glittering opening night bash and the long awaited debut of its spectacular organ-with 6,134 pipes. The festivities kicked off with an elegant cocktail fête in the grand foyer. Phil fans Martin Short, Ed Asner, Tyne Daly and Dana Delany were among those gracing the red carpet. Inside, they sipped bubbly and nibbled on perfectly fried zucchini blossoms, buttery burrata and gulf shrimp with mango sauce courtesy of Patina’s Joachim Splichal.
As for fashion statements, rich gem tones of scarlet, emerald green and sapphire blue sparkled against a sea of tuxedos as well as fluffy faux and for real fur in shrugs, stoles, caplets, ponchos and boleros. “I can’t believe a year has passed since our first gala,” said Malibu’s Ginny Mancini. “The time just flew by.” Was she surprised by the concert hall’s spectacular success? “Not at all,” she declared. “I knew it was going to be a hit from the very beginning.”
After a nice fix of Champagne and a few more delectable morsels, we settled in for a program featuring six talented ivory ticklers playing six pianos. The performance billed as Grands on Grand was a grand affair indeed with Mozart’s “Concerto in F Major” and Liszt’s “Hexameron.” Soloists Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Gloria Cheng, Helene Grimaud, Shai Wosner and Joanne Pearce Martin received roaring applause. But the real star of this show was Frank Gehry’s magnificent concert organ, which is unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Designed by Gehry and built by Manuel Rosales, this musical marvel will be featured prominently in both L.A. Phil and Master Chorale programs throughout the season.
It all wrapped up with a rousing rendition of Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” followed by a shower of shimmering gold confetti. After a standing ovation, we made our way to a glorious gala tent, where the Mancini Institute Alumni Jazz band cranked out toe-tapping tunes like “Putting on the Ritz.” The space was decked out by Marianne Weiman-Nelson in Chihuly-esque splendor with sumptuous multicolor free-form glass chandeliers in neon shades of vermilion, heliotrope, chartreuse, lemon yellow and tangerine. Each table was adorned with an elegant and colorful hydra shaped centerpiece.
Guests, including William and Catherine Bindley, Liane Weintraub, Harriet and Steven Nichols, and Beverly and Melvin Rosenthal savored a gourmet feast of smoked duck breast and foie gras terrine, herb encrusted filet of beef and chocolate mousse with ginger sauce, before dancing the night away.
The gala benefit raised a whopping $1 million for the L.A. Philharmonic’s education programs. And that was music to everyone’s ears!