Friday, January 30, 2009

A Festival Week

Richard Gere and Robert Kennedy, Jr. at RIVERKEEPER's Art Auction to Raise Funds for Water Protection.
The Marilyn Horne Foundation just completed a big week with a festival of seven events at Carnegie Hal, launched Sunday, January 18 in a star-studded gala in Stern Auditorium to celebrate both Marilyn’s Diamond Birthday and the 15th Anniversary of the Foundation.

A toast for the Birthday Girl — Marilyn Horne Guare.
The gala, hosted by Frederica von Stade and Samuel Ramey, presented songs and arias from Marilyn’s 50+ year career, performed by contralto Meredith Arwady, sopranos Nicole Cabell and Karita Mattila, counter tenor David Daniels; mezzo sopranos Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, and Dolora Zajick; vocalist Isabel Leonard; tenors Piotr Beczala and Bruce Sledge; baritones Thomas Hampson, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Lester Lynch; bass-baritones James Morris and Thomas Quasthoff; and pianist William Bolcom, Warren Jones, Martin Katz, Carrie Ann Matheson and Brian Zeger. For the occasion, the Marilyn Horne Foundation commissioned a vocal quintet by composer William Bolcom and lyricist Sheldon Harnick.

The Sunday celebration continued with a benefit dinner and birthday party at the Plaza’s Grand Ballroom, co-chaired by Mr. and Mrs. Sid R. Bass, Nadine Bognar, Van Cliburn, Rita and Gustave Hauser, Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, Marie Nugent-Head and James Marias, Dame Jillian Sackler, George and Jeri Sape, Robert Simon and Gilles DeVoe, and Ann Ziff. Honorary chair was Sir Howard Stringer.

The festival continued through Thursday night, January 22d, culminating with a master class with Maestro James Levine, open to the public. Additional festival events included master classes with Martin Katz and Marilyn Horne, two duo-recitals presenting mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton with pianist Kathleen Kelly, tenor Russell Thomas with Ken Noda, soprano Susanna Phillips with pianist Myra Huang, and tenor Alek Shrader with pianist Jerome Tan, and Marilyn and Friends hosted by Carnegie Hall’s Jeremy Geffen featuring a chat fest with Marilyn Horne, Warren Jones, Benita Valente, and Marilyn Horne Foundation director, Barbara Hocher.
Ann Ziff with baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Florence Hvorostovsky
Co-Chair Mercedes Bass with playwright John Guare
James Marlas and Marie Nugent Head cheer on long-time friend, Marilyn Horne
Co-Chair Rita Hauser with Richard Debs
Bass-baritone James Morris with CAMI’s Matthew Epstein
Dame Jillian Sackler, George P. Sape, and Virginia and Donald Zilkha
Samuel Ramey, Cynthia Robbins, Nicholas Zann, Mary Lou Falcone and Stephen Rubin
Martin Katz with Marilyn
Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon Harnick with William Bolcom
Robert Simon, Brian Zeger, Gilles DeVoe, and friend
Brian Zeger and Jane Gross
Lynn Nesbit and Robert Silvers
Alfred Hubay’s guests: Mary Kirk, Giovanni Favretti, Frank Holozubiec, Michael Smith, Kitty Brush, and Ross Lippman
Thomas Quasthoff with Marilyn
Cynthia Gunn with Marilyn
Lynne Aspnes, Jared Aswegan, and Barbara Hocher
Nadine Bognar and Ritchie Scaife
Andrea Herberstein, Thomas Hampson, and Tyne Daly
Karen Kriendler Nelson, F. Paul Driscoll, and Ruth Golden
Jean and Joseph Volpe with Ronald Wilford
Marilyn with David Boren and Molly Shi
Dolora Zajick and Joyce DiDonato
Sopranos Karita Mattila and Evelyn Lear with baritone Lester Lynch
Michael Goren and Frederica von Stade with Joe Volpe
Angela Lewis Houle and Florence Henderson
HSBC and The Curacao Tourism Corporation strong supporters of Ronald K. Brown’s extraordinary dance troupe Evidence, A Dance Company hosted a private advance screening of Crystal McCrary Anthony and Nathan Hale Williams’ documentary on the acclaimed dance company at their New York Fifth Avenue headquarters this week. The cocktail reception was also a kickoff to Evidence’s upcoming gala Grace in Winter.

Nancy Armand of HSBC and Steve Johnson of Curacao Tourism, joined by Reginald Canal, HSBC Vice President and Evidence Board member and Reginald Van Lee, Senior Vice President Booz Allen Hamilton and Chairman of the Board of Evidence, welcomed guests for this sneak look at the program INSIDE: Black Culture which will air on BET throughout Black History Month in February, 2009.

Evidence founder & artistic director Ronald K. Brown
INSIDE: Black Culture is a fresh three-part documentary series dedicated to exploring and showcasing historical as well as emerging African-American cultural institutions. The series features profiles of: Evidence, A Dance Company - often referred to as the dance world's best kept secret; The Studio Museum in Harlem - one of the world's preeminent African-American fine arts museums; and, Abyssinian Baptist Church - a landmark institution celebrating 200 years of history, activism and evangelism. 

INSIDE goes in depth to discover the past, present and future of these cultural powerhouses as well as the impact on the African-American community.  The series is hosted by Crystal McCrary Anthony and features interviews with Russell Simmons, Judith Jamison, Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, Kara Walker and Ronald K. Brown. INSIDE is created and executive produced by Crystal McCrary Anthony directed and executive produced by Nathan Hale Williams; edited by Vinz Feller; executive produced by Sean Joell Johnson and sponsored by HSBC Premier & The Island of Curacao.

McCrary Anthony’s insightful look at the talented Brooklyn born choreographer who founded his company in 1985 provides even the non-dance fan with a fascinating overview of a company that confronts the human condition in immensely spiritual tones with enormous grace and athleticism. For his part, Brown noted he was “pleased that she understands the spirituality in our work”.
Evidence dancers Otis Donovan Herring, Francine Ott, Sule J. Adams, Clarice Young, Arcell Cabuag, and Lilli-Anne Tai
In addition to his critically acclaimed work with EVIDENCE, Brown has created work for the African American Dance Ensemble, Philadanco, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Grace in 1999 and Serving Nia in 2001, IFE/My Heart in 2005), Ailey II, Cinque Folkloric Dance theater, Jennifer Muller/The Works, and Jeune Ballet d’Afrique Noire.

Praised as “one of the most profound choreographers of his modern dance generation” by The New York Times, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE blends African, Latin, Caribbean, modern, ballet and hip-hop dance styles to tell stories about what is important about the human experience.

So extraordinary is his talent that no less than the grande dame prima dancer Judith Jamison, now Artistic Director of The Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre comments in the film, “If talent were a mountain then Ron Brown is Mt. Kilimanjaro”. No surprise that Ron is thought to be the likely successor to take over the reins of the Ailey company when Jamison retires.
Grace in Winter Gala Committee and friends
While everyone was thrilled to have this special preview, talk quickly shifted to Evidence’s upcoming New York season and its 5th annual “Grace in Winter” gala at The Plaza on February 3. On hand to toast McCrary Anthony and Brown and talk up the gala were a number of EVIDENCE board members including Dr. Neil R. Lowe, Joyce Mullins Jackson, Joanne Hill and Peg Alston and other Gala committee members. As well, Steve Johnson and Nina Truman of the Curacao Tourism Corporation major sponsors of the gala were there to lend support.

Highlights of the gala, which is chaired by Don and Katrina Peebles, will be the performances by EVIDENCE and a luxury auction featuring jewelry from Judith Ripka and Elizabeth & Ashley who have created a stunning pair of diamond earrings inspired by Ronald Brown’s signature dance piece “Grace”, a Baume & Mercier watch, a rare lithograph” Firebird” by Romare Bearden and a Sandor Camille commissioned portrait of President Barack Obama.
Chair Joyce Mullins Jackson and Nancy Armand
avier Evans and Melynda Johnson
Evidence vice chair Dr. Neil R. Lowe and Board member Joanne Hill
Lidz Pauyo and Angie Hancock
Lilli-Anne Tai and William Henderson
Nathan Hale Williams, Crystal McCrary Anthony, and Ronald K. Brown, Artistic Director
Walter Greene, Uptown publisher Jocelyn Taylor, and Steve Johnson, Director Curacao Tourism
Ruth Clarke and Edith Matthews
Reginald Van Lee, Chairman of the Board
Rachel McLennan and Andrea Adams
Principal dancer, Arcell Cabuag and Evidence executive director, Dawn Gibson Brehon
Nina Truman, Nathan Hale Williams, and Crystal McCrary Anthony 
On the eve of the inauguration, The Atlantic and Microsoft gathered New York and Washington’s media and political elite to celebrate the publication of Gwen Ifill’s new book, “The Breakthrough:  Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.”  
Guests celebrating at the home of David and Katherine Bradley
James Bennet, The Atlantic; Tom Brokaw; Maureen Dowd, New York Times; David Brooks, New York Times; and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo)
Guests including NBC’s Tom Brokaw and Andrea Mitchell, Glamour’s Cindi Leive, Aspen Institute’s Walter Isaacson, PBS’ Jim Lehrer, Vanity Fair’s Todd Purdum and New York Times’ David Brooks and Maureen Dowd, as well as Senator Michael Bennet and Congressmen Artur Davis and Bart Gordon, gathered at the home of Atlantic Media Chairman David Bradley to toast Ifill.
Leslie Gordon, Justin Smith, and Congressman Bart Gordon
Atlantic Media Chairman David Bradley toasts Gwen Ifill
Gwen Ifill signing books for guests
Albert Baker Knoll, Pamela S. Passman, Ginny Terzano, and Elizabeth Baker Keffer
Brad Smith, Gwen Ifill, Elizabeth Baker Keffer, and John Fox Sullivan
Katherine Bradley and Fred Humphries
This past Tuesday night at Barry Diller’s Frank Gehry-designed IAC Building, Riverkeeper held a fund-raising auction of art presided over by Riverkeeper’s sage and steely proponent Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Riverkeeper is the best of us at this time in our history. It’s an independent member supported environmental organization “founded on the premise that citizens themselves must roll up their sleeves to defend our waterways.” You could replace “waterways” with a lot of other words too, like air and land and education and healthcare, etc. However, back to the subject.

The mission of Riverkeeper is to safeguard the ecological integrity of the Hudson. Meaning: protect the drinking water of the city. In the past quarter century Riverkeeper has investigated and brought to justice more than 300 environmental lawbreakers. Riverkeeper believes in the rights of every citizen to enjoy and defend our nation’s water resources. Aside from the matter of “rights,” without clean water for all of us to drink, rights of any kind are irrelevant, as is life itself.

More than 70% of the organization’s annual budget of $3.5 million comes from gifts, grants and donations from us, John Q. Public. Support it with anything and as much as you can.
Deborah Harry
Bob and Elizabeth Gruen
Matt Dillon
Sebastian Clarke
Django, Bebe, and Harlee McBride
Carey Lowell, Richard Gere, Robert Kennedy, Jr., Lauren Hutton, and Alex Matthiessen
Wendy Diamond and Matt Semino
Gloria Reuben and Anne Colley
Gloria Reuben and Richard Belzer
Christian Hagerman, Alex Matthiessen, and Kate Hagerman
Richard Gere, Carey Lowell, and Lauren Hutton

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