Birthday bows and a peek at The Frick
Lang Lang and Zubin Mehta bow to the crowd at Carnegie Hall at the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's annual gala

Last night the Young Fellows of The Frick Collection, with Vera Wang, presented its gala “Tango and Tapas,” which benefits the museum’s Education Program. The Young Fellows has the reputation for being one of the great Parties of the Year in New York. It certainly is a glamorous one. The theme for the dress was “dress to tango.” I went armed with my Digital but the bigger look will have to wait until tomorrow because we’re packing up for a trip tonight to Europe – to the Art Fair at Maastricht and then to Paris and to London. So here’s a very brief look at the evening. More, much more tomorrow on NYSD.

"Tangos and Tapas" at The Frick Collection's Young Fellows gala

A few weeks ago at Carnegie Hall there was a celebration of the 70th birthdays of both the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) and its longtime Music Director Zubin Mehta at a spectacular benefit evening given by the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (AFIPO).

Suzanne Ponsot, the Executive Director of the AFIPO announced that the gala raised $3 million for the orchestra, Israel’s premier cultural ambassador. Co-chaired by Lord Jacob Rothschild, Lily Safra, and James Wolfensohn, the gala began with a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and continued with a black-tie dinner afterwards at Cipriani 42nd Street.

Congregating in the boxes at Carnegie Hall before the performance

Performing artists and guests converged from many parts of the world for the occasion—Zubin Mehta from Munich, guest soloist Lang Lang from Vienna, the orchestra and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.  This memorable one-night-only event held surprises and touching moments that will not soon be forgotten by anyone present.

Following a pre-concert reception in Carnegie Hall’s Rohatyn Room, the surprises began within minutes of Zubin Mehta’s downbeat at Carnegie Hall. Instead of the opening bars of Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, Carnegie Hall resounded with the orchestra and pianist Lang Lang playing “Happy Birthday” to the Maestro, who later in the evening admitted that at first, he was not amused. He laughingly added that he would be talking to the orchestra members about this at their next rehearsal.

Other memorable moments of the Carnegie Hall concert included two encores, the first by Lang Lang who played his own special tribute to Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra — Schumann’s Widmung (Dedication). Prior to the orchestra’s playing its own encore at the close of the concert — the Tritsch Tratsch Polka, Zubin Mehta pointed to co-chairman Lily Safra in the audience and said, “This is for you.”

In a short speech at the benefit dinner, Maestro Mehta thanked everyone for their support, noting that the orchestra exists mainly on ticket sales. “We get nothing from the government,” he said, and looking directly at Ron Huldai, he playfully added, “I see our good friend the mayor of Tel Aviv. We get nothing from him too.”

Lily Safra addresses the crowd at Carnegie Hall

Among the more than 500 people attending the evening’s benefit were major donors Lynn and Sy Syms, Mercedes and Sid R. Bass, George Soros, and Lynn and Oscar Wyatt. Several ambassadors attended—Daniel Ayalon, Israel’s ambassador to Washington; Daniel Gillerman, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S.; John L. Loeb, Jr., former U.S. ambassador to Denmark; Alfred Moses, former U.S. ambassador to Romania; Arye Mekel, consul general of Israel in New York; and Javier Perez de Cuellar, the fifth secretary general of the United Nations and former Peruvian ambassador to Switzerland, the Soviet Union, Poland, Venezuela, and France. Among the many other notables in attendance were soprano Renee Fleming, Dowager Viscountess Maiko Rothermere, Countess Yoko Ceschina, Peggy Noonan, and practically all of Zubin Mehta’s family: his wife Nancy, brother Zarin and his wife Carmen, son Mervon and his wife Carey, daughter Zarina, and nephew Bejun.

Jordan Hyatt and Michele Hyatt

Zubin Mehta and the orchestra return to Israel to continue their 70th birthday celebrations throughout the year. The next special concert will take place on April 10, marking Zubin Mehta’s actual 70th birthday (on April 29). On this occasion he will conduct the Buchmann-Mehta Music School Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with guest artist Pinchas Zukerman.

The year culminates with two weeks of festivities from December 17 to 31, the highlight of which will take place on December 26, the actual date in 1936 when Arturo Toscanini picked up his baton to lead the then-named “Palestine Orchestra” in its inaugural concert. Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will be joined on that date by a glittering array of such special guest artists as pianists Daniel Barenboim, Yefim Bronfman, Evgeny Kissin, and Radu Lupu; violinists Julian Rachlin, Gil Shaham, and Maxim Vengerov; and special guest conductors Valery Gergiev and Lorin Maazel. The double 70th birthday year concludes on December 31 in a concert conducted by Kurt Masur, who was named Honorary Guest Conductor of the IPO in 1992.

Harold Berlowe, Cheryl Lerner, and Heidi Lerner
Benefit Co-chairman Lily Safra with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and Yael Huldai
Tess and Leah Engel
Jill Keiser, Ron Prashker, and Mike Arlein
Tricia Pantzer and friends
Jill Keiser, Shereen Lee Margolis, and Sharon Klein
Nina and Walter Weiner
Sid and Mercedes Bass
Benefit Co-chairman Lord Jacob Rothschild and AFIPO President Lynn Syms
Marcy and Andrew Barkan with Rachel Posner
Lesley Arlein with Erica and Alex Friedman
Michael Rosner, Philip Huynh, and Jeremy Bates
Avi Benayoun, Leigh and Beth Sherman, and Adam Lambert
Jim Goldman, Eric Leven, Josie Sandler, Yfat Reiss, and Brad Gendell
Joshua Schwalbe and Aliza Susswein
Richard and Mark Cohen with Tricia and Jason Pantzer
Jason Hirsch, Brian Shatz, and Adam Tantleff
Daniel Mermel and Janet Shargel
Ahron and Tania Friedberg
Lisa and David Layfer
Farhad Eshaghpour and Ruth Rosenberg
Jenny and Avner Dorman
Harold Berlowe and Heidi Lerner
Carroll Petrie and Jamie Figg
Leon and Paula Root
Joseph Weilgus and Penny Nadler
Shira Dinar, Jason Schwalbe, Beatriz Melendes, and Jason Hirsch
Benefit Co-chairman James Wolfensohn, Nancy Mehta, Benefit Co-chairman Lily Safra, and Maestro Zubin Mehta
Renee Fleming and Benefit Co-chairman Lord Jacob Rothschild
Ambassador Alfred Moses, Irene and Abe Pollin, and Elaine Wolfensohn
Mayor Ron Huldai and Zubin Mehta
Tess and Leah Engel
Lauren Lefkovits and Elissa Freedberg
Rosalia Martinez and Matthew Schmelzer
Ilana Brownstein and Bill Schubin
Erica and Alex Friedman
Juli Gardner and Scott Spencer
Beth Belitz and Dan Fossner
Ophira and Joram Cukierman
Scott Stringer and Wendy Rockman

Last Friday evening the New-York Historical Society hosted Nobel Prize-winning author and Princeton professor Toni Morrison for a lecture.

Toni Morrison

When President Clinton awarded her with the National Humanities Medal, he described her as America’s most renowned black woman writer. She has earned both critical and public acclaim for her richly expressive depictions of Black America. Her novel, Beloved, which won the Pulitzer, is based on the true story of Margaret Garner, who killed her baby in order to save the child from slavery.

Ms. Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton. In addition to winning the Pulitizer in 1988, she received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977 for Song of Solomon, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
David Halle with Pat and John Klingenstein
Elinor Tatum (Pub of NY Amsterdam News), Barrett Frelinghuysen, and Toni Morrison
Erana Stennett and Joan Davidson
Louise Mirrer, Erina Stennett, and Lucille McEwan
Randy Fertel, Toni Morrison, and Erana Stennett
Toni Morrison with Janine Jaquet

Photographs by Jason Groupp Photography (AFIPO); Dan Pollard (NYHS).


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/NewYorkSocialDiary.com