It's hard to believe another exciting season of galas and events is just around the corner. The challenge of introducing each new generation to classical music can be daunting, but as one of the premiere arts organizations in the country, the San Francisco Symphony has been working tirelessly to make this happen. Through the symphony's Volunteer Council, they have several Leagues that support the efforts of the symphony organization by helping with concerts, planning events, providing education and raising awareness. Symphonix, the "young professional" (ages 21-45) League plans their own event series leading up to the Opening Night Gala each year. The first of these events happened last week in San Francisco.
Symphonix "brings together San Francisco Bay Area's socially minded, culturally curious, and professionally active young adults," but more than that, it's building a community. When entering the small theatre inside the Mark Hopkins Hotel, guests were greeted by friendly, courteous music-lovers, a well-stocked bar and a room full of interesting, well-dressed old and new friends. Looking around the room, it was hard not to notice a wide range of designer handbags, chic dresses and luxe jackets in the mixed crowd. (See also: Vivanista's fabulous photo spread of the event.)
After a brief cocktail hour, the Volunteer Council director, Elizabeth Folger, introduced principal pianist of the symphony, Robin Sutherland and general manager, John Kieser, who sat down with the two Symphonix Opening Gala co-chairs, Michelle Curtis and Christopher Contos for a Q&A session and discussion about the music to be featured in this year's Opening Gala concert. Kieser described in detail the three waltzes planned, and Sutherland told stories about Prokofiev that he learned from meeting Prokofiev's wife in 1972. The guest star performer for the gala will be Lang Lang, 27 year-old piano virtuoso being touted as one of the "sexiest men in the world" as dubbed by People magazine.
Celebrating music director Michael Tilson Thomas's fifteenth season with the San Francisco Symphony, the gala concert will be on Wednesday, September 9th at the Davies Symphony Hall, with dinners commencing beforehand at San Francisco City Hall. Tickets are still available for the Symphonix gala dinner, and there will be two more events leading up to the big night: a launch event on August 12th and a summer party August 23rd, leading up to the gala evening. For more information, see sfsymphonix.com and join the Symphonix group on Facebook. To get more involved online, take a look at the new San Francisco Symphony online social network.
Kieser called it "extremely festive," "the one night that kicks off the season," and a "fireworks-laden evening that MTT is so good at bringing off." As someone who has attended quite a few of these gala events, this one is definitely not to miss.
Sarah Granger was immediately hooked when, in 1996, she saw MTT himself play Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the San Francisco Symphony opening night gala.