The Vitality of Music

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Paul and Diane Guenther, Deborah Borda, Mary Wallach, Christie and Ronald Ulrich, and Joan and Joel Picket at the New York Philharmonic’s Spring Gala.

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.”

Patti LuPone and the Broadway Inspirational Voices.
Patti LuPone and the New York Philharmonic.

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.”

L. to r.: Andy Cohen and Jane Buffett; Patti LuPone and Bridget Everett.
L. to r.: Chuck and Carol Schaefer; Joan and Joel Picket.
Mary Wallach with Oscar and Didi Schafer.
L. to r.: Mary Wallach with her sons Andrew Wallach and Scott Wallach; Ronald Ulrich, Mary Wallach, and Christie Ulrich.
L. to r.: Andrew Rannells; Michael Urie.
L. to r.: David Yazbek and Elizabeth Doberneck; Daisy Soros and Richard Gaddes.
L. to r.: Philharmonic Board Chairmen Oscar S. Schafer and Lincoln Center President Henry Timms; Peter and Leni May.
Frank DiLella, Victor Garber, and Kristoffer Cusick.
L. to r.: NY Philharmonc President and CEO Deborah Borda; Phoebe and Bobby Tudor.
L. to r.: Rachel Bloom; Trevor and Sarah Jane Gibbons.
Deborah Borda, Peter May, and Ann Johnson.
Joshua Bell and Didi Schafer.
Susan Rose, Honey Kurtz, and Marjorie Hart.

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.

Eric Bayer, Deputy Consul General of France.
Karol Bennett and Gilbert Kalish.

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.

David Kaplan and Catherine Gregory.

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.”

Bonnie Barrett, Reverand Michael Lynch, and John Gingrich.
Caroline Corwin, Janet Haag, and Norma Deull.
Heidi and Allen Roberts.
Ambassador William Vanden Heuvel and Melinda Vanden Heuvel.
Ambassador William Vanden Heuvel and Eileen Powers.
Danielle Bellanger, Maria Cooper Janis, Warren Sabloff, and John Wohlstetter.
Susan Beckerman, Lucy Shelton, Kayo Iwama, and Tyler Duncan.
Keith Jewell and Stephanie Jutt.
Susan Meisel, Lou Meisel, and Pamela Pantos.
Allen Roberts, Kiril Bielsky, Heidi Roberts, and Sergio Millerman.
Maria Bielsky and Albert Ruzayev.
Kiril Bielsky, Allen Roberts, Pamela Johananoff, and Luis Urribarri.
Celia Salsi, Asuka Qin, J.Y. Song, Annabelle Avenier, Robert Dick, Lisa Raggiri, Rev Michael Lynch, and Carolyn Sebron.
John E. Haag, Catherine Gregory, and Elliot Stein.
Susan Beckerman and John Gerlach.
Franck Laverdin and Matthew Adell.
Marco Antonio Nakata Deputy Consul General of Brazil, and Judith Schlosser.
Herbert Schlosser and Tyler Duncan.
Georges Ugeux, Bonnie Barrett, Franck Laverdin, and John E. Haag.
Carolyn Sebron, Catherine Gregory, Robert Dick, Stephanie Jutt, Karol Bennett, J.Y. Song, and Tyler Duncan.

Photographs by Julie Skarratt, Linsley Lindekens, and Fadi Kheir (NY Phil); Annie Watt (Pro Musicis)

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