|SF Symphony Celebrates Chinese New Year
by Jeanne Lawrence
Rats! I forgot to tell you all about the amazing San Francisco Symphony celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Davies Hall filled to hear Carolyn Kuan, Associate Conductor of The Seattle Symphony, conduct a unique blend of Eastern and Western musical traditions – fitting for multi-cultural San Francisco.
An unexpected highlight of the evening was Mozart’s Concerto No. 10 in E-flat major for Two Pianos, played with maturity and sophistication by 15-year-old Peng Peng and 13-year-old Conrad Tao.
Chinese born Peng Peng made his debut in Nanjing at age eight. Since then, he has circumnavigated the globe, performing and competing. He now studies at Juilliard, having composed 18 works for piano, eight chamber pieces and two for full orchestra. And this kid is only fifteen! Makes me feel like an underachiever.
You may remember Conrad; he played at last summer’s Festival del Sole in Napa Valley and is scheduled happily again this year. He, too, is a wunderkind, winning the pre-college division of the prestigious Gina Bachauer Piano Competition and the 2006 Prokofiev Concerto Competition.
Sharon Seto chaired the marvelous event with co-chairs Lauren Lai-Bellings and Lesley Hu with much of the fund raised benefiting the San Francisco Symphony’s education and community programs.
Guests included: SFS President John Goldman and his wife, Marcia Goldman, SFS Exec. Brent Assink, Board members Genelle Relfe, Margaret Liu Collins and Mark Jung with 2008 Gala Chair Karen Jung, composer Gang Situ, UCB CEO Tommy Wu, Ben-Fong Torres, Judith and John Renard, Susanna Kwan, Jessa Wu, Elaine LaMastra and co-chair Lauren Lai- Bellings’ husband David Bellings.
A spectacular Imperial Banquet with dishes fit for an Emperor was also a highlight along with lion dancers, fortunetellers and traditional Chinese music for entertainment, and a special performance by the imaginative Cirque de Soleil.
The Year of the Rat, 4705 to the Chinese, is a Brown Earth Rat Year, a year of plenty despite the predictable market fluctuations. There’s ample opportunity for accumulating wealth through carefully planned speculation. Sounds good to me!
P.S. I’m soon off to China for a few months so I’ll let you know what I discover hidden behind the Great Wall.
|Junior League Anniversary – A Model of a Gala
The Junior League of San Francisco (JLSF) celebrated the 82nd Anniversary of its annual Fashion Show, aptly themed American Beauty and the 20th anniversary collaborating with Macy’s.
Kimberly Hooker chaired this year’s affair, the longest running event of its kind in the nation. As one of the premier fundraisers in SF, it took two shows to do it justice.
There was a chic champagne luncheon and a dramatic black-tie gala, at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill.
The fact that San Francisco based fashion designer Julie Chaiken, — she’s got a design room in NYC too - was this year’s guest designer says it all.
|I love this event because it’s a real family affair and others must agree because more than 1500 attended in support. From the crowd, there were lots of hoots and hollers as they watched their friends and family model the clothes – real people with real bodies for a change.
The models, all Junior Leaguers, get a chance to strut their stuff down the catwalk along with husbands and kiddies and pre-teens – all gently coached by co-chair and model advisor Debra Leylegian and model trainer Charleston Pierce of Look Modes and teen chair Shaila Freyer.
A big ‘thank you’ goes to the honchos at the newly opened InterContinental Hotel - Melanie Lindquist, GM Peter Koehler and Marc Sittenfield, and Chef Dominique Crenn – for hosting a pre-show cocktail party and sneak preview of Luce Restaurant before the doors opened to the public.
The modern designed Luce – pronounced LOO-chay – and Bar 888 were a big hit and, oh, the League models received a spa certificate courtesy of the hotel.
The funds raised from the fashion show and auctions this year focused on support for Strengthening Families in Need. What with everyone feeling the pinch these days, I can’t think of a better or more timely cause.
|Baubles & Ballet at Bulgari
What a year for the San Francisco Ballet. First there was the Ballet’s 75th anniversary opening night black-tie gala and then the Baubles and Ballet party and the season concluded with the innovative New Works Festival.
Inimitably Italian, Bulgari jewelers came to the rescue. For this splashy evening, Bulgari imported $25 million in priceless jewels for display, worthy of a museum.
One piece that garnered much attention was the 1950’s necklace – more than 120 carats of emeralds – originally worn by Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida – spectacular! They flew it in from Rome, but no one was allowed to wear it.
However, Dede Wilsey and Elizabeth Thieriot were seen eyeing the piece, maybe for own their collections?
Co-hosts for the evening were the New Works Festival Dinner co-chairs: Ann Fisher, Mary Jo Kovacevich, and Yuri Pascarella along with vice-chair Kati Kadar Lynn.
Ballerinas Ludmila Campos, Lorena Feijoo, Margaret Karl, and Yuan Yuan Tan floated among the crowd, their lithe ballet bodies weighted down with jewels.
|Lisa Grotts, previously the Ballet Auxiliary President laughed, “Can you believe I’m doing the PR now…I love it.”
Bulgari has a boutique on Post Street – thank goodness – so we don’t have far to go for those glam gems. Oh, did you know about the Bulgari Hotels and Spas – evidently as beautiful as their jewelry.