On Tuesday, January 28, 2020, the New York Philharmonic held its ninth annual Lunar New Year Concert and Gala. Approximately 300 guests attended, and approximately $1 million was raised for the Philharmonic. The evening’s proceeds will support a wide range of New York Philharmonic performances and offstage projects — from the free Concerts in the Parks to education activities that reach New York City students.
The celebratory evening ushered in the Year of the Rat with a concert conducted by Long Yu. The concert featured the US Premiere of Gift by Chinese American composer Zhou Tian; the New York Premiere of Spin-Flip by Korean composer Texu Kim; violinist Gil Shaham as soloist in Chen Gang and He Zhanhao’s The Butterfly Lovers; and pianist Haochen Zhang as soloist in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in his Philharmonic debut.
Guests of the Lunar New Year Gala arrived at 6:00 p.m. for an hour-long cocktail reception on the Grand Promenade of David Geffen Hall. The concert began at 7:30 p.m. and was followed by a traditional Asian attire / black-tie dinner, also held on the Grand Promenade.
The evening’s event was catered by Restaurant Associates, and the décor was provided by Van Vliet & Trap.
Attendees included: Ambassador Huang Ping and Aiping Zhang; James L. and Margo M. Nederlander; Jason Robert Brown and Georgia Stitt; Amanda Green and Jeffrey Kaplan; Noreen Buckfire; Gary W. and Katherine Parr; Harold Mitchell AC; Bobby and Phoebe Tudor; Ron and Christie Ulrich; Susan and Elihu Rose; Xin Zhang; John Paulson; Ida Liu; Donald and Barbara Tober; New York Philharmonic Co-Chairman Peter W. May; conductor Long Yu; pianist Haochen Zhang; violinist Gil Shaham; composer Texu Kim; composer Zhou Tian; and New York Philharmonic President and Chief Executive Officer Deborah Borda.
Gala Co-Chairs included Angela Chen, Misook and Harry Doolittle, Mei He, Sharon Wee and Tracy Fu, Shirley Young, Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar L. Tang (New York Philharmonic Co-Chairman), Ling Tian; and Mr. and Mrs. Maurice R. Greenberg served as Honorary Gala Chairs.
Starr International Foundation was the Presenting Sponsor of the Lunar New Year Gala. Citi is the Preferred Card of the New York Philharmonic.
The Playground Partners of the Central Park Conservancy Women’s Committee hosted its seventh annual Playground Partners Winter Luncheon at 583 Park Avenue on Wednesday, January 29th. The benefit featured a lively conversation between Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Oscar-winning filmmaker of Free Solo, and Samantha Boardman, M.D., and Founder of Positive Prescription. The well-attended luncheon raised $300,000 in support of the mission of the Playground Partners to preserve and maintain Central Park’s 21 playgrounds.
While discussing the benefits of nature to health and wellness, Samantha Boardman explained, “Research shows that being in a green space lifts your mood and decreases stress.” She added, “The spontaneous interaction children can get in a playground is not just fun, it’s good for them.”
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi agreed with Boardman’s sentiment, remarking that “Central Park is a good place to allow parents to give their kids more room to explore in order to help foster self-confidence and independence.”
“Playgrounds are special places where children can learn, grow and connect with nature. The Central Park Conservancy is grateful for the dedication of the Playground Partners of the Women’s Committee. Their enthusiastic support contributes to the maintenance of Central Park’s 21 playgrounds, ensuring they remain safe spaces where children can boundlessly play and explore,” said Elizabeth W. Smith, President & CEO of Central Park Conservancy.
Alexia Leuschen, President of the Women’s Committee, was joined by the Luncheon Co-Chairmen Mimi Ritzen Crawford, Kristen Durkin, Ainsley Earhardt, Jackie Keber, and Kate Lauprete, Women’s Committee Board Advisor, Susan Rudin, and Playground Partners Committee Co-Chairs, Katherine Birch and Samantha Topping Gellert. Additional notable attendees included Shirin Christoffersen, Kate Davis, Amandine Freidheim, Sharon Jacob, Margo M. Nederlander, Yesim Philip, Gigi Stone Woods, and Margaret Zakarian.
The luncheon was generously supported by N.Peal Cashmere.
Photographs by Julie Skarratt & Chris Lee (NY Philharmonic); Sean Zanni via Getty Images (Playground Partners)