Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Overcoat weather has arrived in New York

A sunlit scene in Riverside Park. 1:20 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010. Overcoat weather has arrived in New York, appropriately. It actually arrived last week and this writer, typically, refused to acknowledge it until I “caught cold” as they say in New England.

Fortunately the Monday after Thanksgiving was a relatively quiet one. I had lunch with a friend at Michael’s which was busy although hardly witness to the clamoring crowds we’re used to. Last night I took in a kick-off party at Leviev (on Madison Avenue between 62nd and 63rd Street) for the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s upcoming Gala Concert at the Stern Auditorium in Carnegie Hall on February 22, 2011.
The crowd at Leviev last night for a kick-off party for the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s upcoming Gala Concert.
Modeling Leviev jewels.
This year the American Friends (AFIPO) will host Guest Artist, piano virtuoso Yefim Bronfman who will perform Liszt Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major; and
Mahler Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor, and the North American Premiere of a new orchestral version of Israeli composer Avner Dorman’s Azerbaijani Dance.

This year’s benefit co-chairs are Terre and Marvin Hamlisch and John and Lauren Veronis.

After the concert there will be a supper in the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza. Concert tickets may be purchased at (212) 697-2949 or http://www.afipo.org.

Meanwhile there was a big reception at Leviev last night where guests couldn’t help taking in the exquisite collection of precious (and astounding) jewels. I spoke briefly with Marvin Hamlisch who will be attending the evening. He told me that Yefim Bronfman is, in his opinion, one of the greatest virtuosos in the world today.
Debra Peltz, Lauren Veronis, Harlan Peltz, and Perri Peltz.
Sarah Whitten and Paul Raps. Bonnie Stern.
Suzanne Ponsot, Elaine Wolfensohn, Paula Root, and Lisa Klein.
Lisa and David Klein. DPC and Marvin Hamlisch.
Renata and Martin Zimet. Rosalia and Matthew Schmelzer.
Elaine Wolfensohn with David and Rochelle Hirsch.
Dan Martin and Claire Zar-Kessler. Neil Levinbook and Brooke Milstein.
Last night the subject was definitely music. From Leviev, I ventured a few blocks south and west over to Steinway piano’s showroom on West 57th Street where another great piano virtuoso Byron Janis was having a book signing for his memoir “Chopin and Beyond; My Extraordinary Life in Music and the Paranormal.”

The Steinway showroom is a large gallery-like space with a grand piano. The last time I was there was also for a reception for Byron to celebrate his 80th birthday. Called for 6, there was a large crowd of friends and fans as well as a long line of people waiting to have their book signed. Byron was accompanied by his beautiful wife Maria.
Byron Janis and his memoir: click to order. Byron and Maria Cooper Janis.
The master's hands signing my copy of his memoir.
I haven’t read the book yet although Jeffrey Kluger, co-author of “Apollo 13,” offers an intriguing summary: “Byron Janis’ life has been the stuff of music and of magic – and so is his extraordinary autobiography. From Chopin to Horowitz (one of his teachers) to Pablo Picasso (whom he met through Maria’s parents Gary and Rocky Cooper), from the Soviet Union in the thick of the Cold War to otherworldly dimensions in which the unexpected happens, he has been on a remarkable and compelling ride. Don’t think classical music, global politics and the paranormal can mix? You will.”
Looking north along Madison Avenue from 63rd Street. 9:00 PM.
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