SF Symphony Opening Gala

SF Symphony Opening Gala

Carol Benet

San Francisco loves to party and it love the arts.  Put the two together and you get the opening gala of the San Francisco Symphony on Wednesday, September 5, 2018.  And featured artist was the ever popular violinist  Itzhak Perlman.

There were pre-dinners at three levels of donation but  everyone sitting anywhere including the nose bleed level on the top was invited to the after-party  in the tent outside.  Just buying a ticket to the concert would allow entry to that extravaganza of delicious food by famous local restaurants and music for dancing inside and out.

Davies Symphony Hall was filled to capacity and there were lots of young patrons wearing very fancy dress.  Even men sitting up behind the stage were in black-tie.  The women, many of them young and gorgeous, wore wonderful gowns.  It was a glittering evening.

And then the music, the reason we were all there, was devine.  The concert started with the Star Spangled Banner and I didn’t hear one person say after singing it — “Play Ball”.  Then MTT explained the first selection Liszt’s “Mephisto Waltz No. 1”, an exciting composition written in 1860 and as intriguing a piece now as it was then.  There are lots of Mephisto type devils running around the world — if not running it.

Then came the highlight of the evening, Izhak Perllman, who, with six students from his Perlman Music Program, performed J.S. Bach’s “Concerto No. 3 in D minor for Two Violins”.  The students came in and out as they took turns playing the  second violin to Perlman’s first.  But these were not just students.  They were seasoned performers, some of whom who have already soloed with major orchestras.

Perlman’s Music Program, established in 1994 with his wife Toby, is located in Shelter Bay, Long Island, where forty young musicians are chosen to spend 7 weeks every summer.  Once accepted they can return until they are eighteen.  The program works to develop the entire person, not just the concert violinist.  Pretty neat program.

MTT and Perlman have something in common because MTT’s “World Youth Symphony Orchestra” based in Miami has some of the same goals.  The WYSO that MTT founded and directs gives young musicians a chance to work into the professional field after graduating from music conservatories.  It is that in-between time that is the most difficult for those pursuing a career in music. While in Miami, the members of the orchestra are housed.

The second half of the evening was devoted to pops music from films with Perlman the featured soloist.  The music included “Tango:  Por una cabeza” written by Gardel and arranged by John Williams.  Then there was the music from “Out of Africa”, “Cinema Paradiso” and a heart rendering “Theme from Schindler’s List”.  The evening ended with the Symphony playing Gershwin’s “An American in Paris.”

Then it was time to party.  Small plates from restaurants such as Monsieur Benjamin, Absinthe Brasserie, August (1) Five, Souvla, Johnny’s Doughnuts and dozens more were served along with drinks from multiple open bars.  Music was provided by DJL! and The Cheeseballs and everyone looked swell in their dress-up clothes.

Don’t miss next year’s opening Gala of the SF Symphony.  It was a ball.

SF symphony.org.

About the Author

Carol BenetCarol Benet received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, where she won an Outstanding Teaching Award. She also received a B.A. in English and an M.A. in French Language and Literature from the University of Michigan. Her teaching assignments have been at UC Berkeley, UC Berkeley Extension, Dominican University and Washington State University. Currently she holds literature discussion groups in Marin County and San Francisco and is a critic of the arts for The Ark Newspaper and a contributor to ARTSSF.com and ForAllEvents.com.View all posts by Carol Benet →