|The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Gala Opening Night was held on Saturday, September 20th at Chicago’s Symphony Center. The star was pianist Lang Lang. Conducting the CSO was Charles Dutoit, chief conductor, The Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor of the Royal Philharmonic.
The Gala Celebration included a cocktail reception at 6 pm in Symphony Center’s Buntrock Hall and the Grainger Ballroom followed by the concert with a post-concert dinner dance in Millennium Park.
The evening was entitled "Northern Lights" and the dinner décor followed the theme with each table hosting Scandinavian-inspired risers containing a profusion of northern larch pine and lower vessels filled with orange, cream roses and smoke bush on a purple cloth. The menu included a Seafood trio, followed by an entree of Squab Breast and Poached Lobster, ending with a multi colored dessert of Cranberries, Orange Chantilly and Almonds. Guests Danced to the music of The Entourage. Trolleys carried the guests from Symphony Center to the massive tent at Millennium Park.
Lang Lang, Conductor Dutoit and several of the Orchestra’s musicians attended the dinner – this added additional excitement to the Gala evening. Corporate sponsors included BP, Northern Trust, Baxter, Diamond, ITW, Boeing, National City Bank, Motorola and Winston & Strawn.
Chairing the Gala Evening Celebration concert and dinner at Millennium Park were Chester Gougis and Shelley Ochab of Chicago, Vice-Chairs were Kenneth and Jane Pigott of Winnetka. Members of the committee included Wayne and Nancy Boberg, Joseph and Madeleine Glossberg and Penny and John Van Horn of Chicago. From the north shore were Dora and John Aalbregtse, Cathy and Bill Osborn of Winnetka, and Byron and Diane Karzas of Lake Forest.
|Last Wednesday night in Costa Mesa, California, Lang Lang the brilliant Chinese concert pianist who played at the opening of the Beijing Olympics, changed the note at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. The Monday before he played it on Jay Leno and then on Wednesday for the Polish first lady of Orange County, Elizabeth Segerstrom.
Lang Lang the most famous pianist in the world, a rock star in China and recently profiled in The New Yorker, wore a black silk suit with a rocket-like pin of diamonds attached to the jacket and crocodile patent shoes for the recital. At times compared to Liberace and Elton John, he is a unique and charming 26-year-old, and was the last person at the after party on Wednesday night. The recent book "Lang Lang Playing with Flying Keys" chronicles his amazing journey from China to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
|Last Wednesday night was the very glamorous Harry Winston sponsored opening of the Elizabeth and Henry Segerstrom Select Series at the Hall.
The virtuoso concert artist stroked and pounded the keys of the black German Hamburg Steinway, 40,000 lbs of string pressure, playing Schubert, Debussy, Chopin and a very fast Flight of the Bumble Bee.
For the first time ever a digital Sony screen projected his hands onto a large screen as he played.
|At the glamorous after party at Charlie Palmer's, Lang Lang talked to everyone. He spoke of his kids program in New York and his kids book "Playing with Flying Keys".
"I was so intensely involved with his music and movements" said actress Jackie Bisset. "His music is so sensitive. It can take you into a reverie."
Elizabeth Segerstrom, chair of the evening to benefit the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, wore a sapphire blue Oscar de la Renta fishtail evening gown with Harry Winston jewels. She raved about Lang Lang's remarkable stage presence, charm, whimsy and humor.
|Among those at the soiree were Betty Huang in a lace Valentino, the co-chair, with her CalTech rocket scientist husband S.L. Huang, Gloria and R.J. Brandes, Sally Crockett, Dean Corey, President of the OC Philharmonic Society and his wife
Kaly; Robin McMonigle, in black Carolina Herrara, and her husband the developer John McMonigle, Jackie Bisset, and Tim Vreeland.
Lang Lang enthusiastically was arranging to return to the Concert Hall next year and bring an Orchestra. "A citizen of the world, he will build bridges through music and bring people together" said arts patron Henry Segerstrom.
The troubles of the week were forgotten for several hours of joy on Wednesday night. A young musician had changed the tune! Next up in the Segerstrom Series is Gustavo Dudamel, the young prodigy conductor, 27, from Venezuela who will conduct the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on November 23rd. Next year Dudamel becomes the conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra, one of the best in the world, when Esa Pekka Salonen retires.
|North America’s only Blumarine Boutique at the Village of Merrick Park held an event benefiting Fashionably Conscious for Coconut Grove Cares. A life size blow up of the September cover of Social Affairs magazine featuring beaming heiress and philanthropist Sarah Arison dressed in Blumarine was the centerpiece of a swank party that kicked off the Miami social season.
The event was hosted by Social Affairs publisher Norma Quintero as well as Blumarine boutique owners Filippo Alzetta and Helena Cisneros-Alzetta. Co-Chairs of the event Liza Gallardo Walton and Marcia Martinez joined Sarah’s mother Giselle Kovac, Sanford and Dolores Ziff, Tina Carlo, Carlos Navarro, Diane Ares, Candido Viyella, Jeanne Coness, Christina DePaul, Ali Codina, Aldo and Ramona Busot, Tim Johnson, Fernando Wong, Luis Quintero, William Meyersohn, Elyze Held and Jorley Rotella for an evening of gorgeous gowns and ice cold Grey Goose Martinis.
|Down in Miami Epic Residences and Hotel, located in the heart of downtown, played host with a booksigning to New York author/fashion writer Tatiana Boncompagni and her first novel Gilding Lily. The sunset cocktail party in honor of the author drew many adoring book enthusiasts and guests, all who enjoyed Roberto Cavalli martinis and pink Prosecco.
Clever, juicy, and nearly impossible to put down, Gilding Lily [Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers], by noted style columnist Tatiana Boncompagni, is a hilarious roman à clef set amid Upper Eastside play dates, designer-clad yummy mummies, loaner gowns, and socialite specialists. Tatiana takes readers behind-the scenes of New York’s catty and competitive social world and into the mind of a young woman trying desperately to balance her roles of good mother, good wife, and rising social star.
|From Palm Beach. Whatwith the world as we know it rearranging itself before our very eyes, one can easily forget the challenges that existed before the Wall Street Bailout and the upcoming Presidential election — namely the HIV/AIDS crisis that took and continues to take our loved ones from us with such a cruel hand.
Even in tony Palm Beach, CAP (the Comprehensive AIDS Program of Palm Beach County) continues to fight the relentless HIV/AIDS battle in a county that, while home to America’s richest of the rich, is also the scene to unspeakable poverty, and new infections, especially on its western fringes of sugar fields, citrus farms and tumbledown towns that bring tears to one’s eyes and makes one question how “this is America?”
|For 20 years, CAP has been there for all, providing testing and educational outreach programs, treatment counseling and management, and social services as basic as procuring food, clothing and shelter to those fighting for their own lives along with those of their families.’
To kick off this year’s CAPPY Awards (CAP Persons of the Year,) local tastemakers Allan Reyes and Tom Miller opened their spectacular new MOMA-like home for a hundred plus folks. There: honorary chairmen Barbara and Michael Crimi, CAP CEO Yolette Bonnet, John Castagna and John Strangi, Don Burns and Greg Connors, Lydia Crozier, Peter Cromarty, Tom Shaffer, Mark Montgomery, Liz Quinn, Penny and Alan Murphy, Jack Young, Stewart Krever, art expert Michel Cox Witmer, Eric Telchin, Scott Kent, Sandra Saldrigas, Dan Hall, Ryan Gill and so many more who quaffed champagne and nibbled on Jade Kitchen’s stunning hors d’oeuvres while eyeing their watches to dash home in time for the Biden-Palin debate.
|Photographs by Luke Wooden (Segerstrom)|