Glittering Gala Celebrates Los Angeles Philharmonic's Second Season at The Walt Disney Concert Hall

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Black-Tie Gala celebration of Los Angeles Philharmonic's Second Season at The Walt Disney Concert Hall. I arrived to a traditional red carpet roped off with photographers flashes and entered the magnificent Walt Disney Concert Hall which opened last year, the magnificent design of which was created by the amazing architect, Frank Gehry. (Read our story Introducing the Walt Disney Concert Hall! )

The evening began with a lovely cocktail reception. Then off to the Hall to the debut of the new 6,134 pipe organ (Read our story Walt Disney Concert Hall Organ Finally Ready) by Todd Wilson playing Strauss' Festival Prelude with an orchestra of over 100, all under the baton of Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen.


Notice the organ being played above the orchestra

Then as the audience patiently waited, three lovely grand pianos were rolled out and seemed to my eye, to fill the entire available space on the stage. Then Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman and Hél'ne Grimaud came out to perform Mozart's Concerto for Three Pianos.


Three pianos all under the baton of Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen

This was followed by a 20 minute intermission. Upon returning to my seat, I was very surprised to now see six lovely grand pianos on stage. Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Gloria Cheng, Hél'ne Grimaud, Shai Wosner and the Los Angeles Philharmonic's very own Joanne Pearce Martin came onstage for a thrilling performance of Hexaméron.


Count them, six pianos!

I then noticed projections of stars on the ceiling & walls of the Hall and to everyone's surprise and delight, thousands of gold cutouts of grand pianos gently rained down upon the audience as the gala concert concluded to a standing applause, with a rousing finale of Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever arranged by Martin Gould for six pianos and orchestra.


At one point 8 trumpet players, 4 on each side of the halls balcony played adding to the excitement!

In keeping with the mission of Music Matters and bringing live music to as broad an audience as possible, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association's partner school teachers and music students of community arts organizations were guests at this special season-opening performance.

The post-concert celebration hosted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Friday, October 1 was a glittering affair with dinner and dancing for more than 600 guests under the stars of Grand Avenue.  The black-tie gala evening of world-class music and festive celebrations, rivaling the Inaugural Galas of 2003, celebrated the beginning of the L.A. Phil's second season at Walt Disney Concert Hall.  Funds raised from the Grands on Grand Gala benefit the presentations, concerts, and programs of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association including Music Matters, Keeping Music Alive in L.A. 

The city lights and starry skies surrounding Grand Avenue provided the backdrop for the evening's elegant post-concert festivities.  Acclaimed chef Joachim Splichal of The Patina Group created a gourmet dinner suited to the autumn season, carefully paired with specially selected premium wines.  The palettes of the guests were first teased with three hors d'ouevres: Crostini of Burrata Cheese with Tomato Confit and Olive Tapenade, Braised Prime Short Rib with Horseradish Mousse, and Gulf Shrimp Skewer with Mango and Vanilla.  The first course featured Terrine of Smoked Duck Breast, Potato and Foie Gras, and Endive Salad with Apple and Hazelnuts while the main course included a delectable Roasted Filet of Beef with Herb Crust, Zinfandel Juice, Stuffed Cabbage and Forest Mushrooms, Garnished with Shoestring Potatoes.  The dessert topped off the cr'me da la cr'me evening serving a Dark Chocolate Mousse and Liquid Chocolate Center with Tuile Croquante and Ginger Sauce along with an Apple Flan with Diced Apples and 24-Carat Gold Leaf. Following the autumnal themed dinner came dancing to the swingin' sounds of the Henry Mancini Institute Alumni Jazz Septet.

The gala departs from traditional décor, stylishly adoring the dinner party space with brightly colored, whimsical chandeliers.  Glass sculptures individually crafted for the event replace conventional floral centerpieces.  These one-of-a-kind artworks were available for purchase at the evening's end to further benefit the programs and presentations of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The gala committee for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's inaugural performance of the pipe-organ at Walt Disney Concert Hall includes:  Ginny Mancini and Jennifer Diener, co-chairs; Helen Bing, Lisa Kirk Colburn, Margaret D. Eberhardt, Lenore S. Greenberg, Carol Henry; Joan Hotchkis; Nancy Olson Livingston; Joni J. Smith; Liane Weintraub; and Alyce de R. Williamson.

Party design by Special Occasions, Inc. and centerpieces created by Glass House Studio, Seattle.  The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Chandon, Gallo of Sonoma, the preferred wine of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Ketel One.

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