On May 16, 2019, guests of the New York Philharmonic’s Spring Gala gathered for the unbeatable combination of the world-class Philharmonic and Tony, Grammy, and Olivier Award–winning singer and actress Patti LuPone. In her first return to the Philharmonic after eight years, Ms. LuPone performed songs from some of her landmark Broadway performances including Don’t Cry for Me Argentina and The Ladies Who Lunch. Comedian / singer Bridget Everett and Michael McElroy and the Broadway Inspirational Voices joined Ms. LuPone for a moving performance of Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water. “In these strange and difficult times,” Ms. LuPone said, “what I think about most is the world we’re leaving our children. They are demanding change, and I can’t help but feel we are letting them down. This song is dedicated to them — our promise of support, to hear them, to never forsake them.”
Guests arrived on the red carpet to attend an hour-long champagne reception. Following the concert, Gala attendees enjoyed a seated dinner on the Grand Promenade in David Geffen Hall, which was adorned with festive spring flowers. Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda welcomed guests and toasted Patti LuPone and the Philharmonic musicians, as did the 300 guests at the event, which raised more than $1 million for the beloved New York cultural institution. Chairman Oscar S. Schafer presented Board Member Mary Wallach with a gift from Tiffany’s inscribed: “With sincere gratitude for your many years of dedication and commitment to the Orchestra.”
On May 9th, Pro Musicis hosted its annual Gala Award Dinner at the Consulate of France in New York City with the patronage of Anne-Claire Legendre, Consule Generale. Based on the conviction that music is vital for the well being of all, Pro Musicis promotes visionary concert artists who awaken the human spirit wherever they perform.
Father Eugéne Merlet, the founder, pioneered the concept of a classical music award combined with a social mission over 50 years ago. A blue ribbon jury auditions concert artists for the Pro Musicis International Award. This year Australian flutist Catherine Gregory was chosen for the award based on her high level of performance and passion for social outreach. Catherine also received a Father Merlet Award for Community Service in support of her project for cancer patients entitled “Just Breathe.” A Pro Musicis alumna, soprano Karol Bennett, received a Father Merlet Award for her work with the non-profit Musiqa in Houston, Texas. In the past 15 years Karol has made over 400 visits to public schools teaching over 60,000 students to confidently sing.
In his welcome speech Mr. Eric Bayer, Deputy Consul General of France, said: “I am happy to see that Father Merlet’s vision lives on through Pro Musicis, which has helped make it possible for people in prisons to hear a message of civility, and provided the sick, the elderly and people with disabilities a sense of hope, both here in the US and in France.”
Photographs by Julie Skarratt, Linsley Lindekens, and Fadi Kheir (NY Phil); Annie Watt (Pro Musicis)