Annual Opening Night Tribute Boasts Special Guests and Presenters Herb Alpert, David Foster, Victoria Tennant and Nigel Lythgoe, a Performance by Renaissance Arts Academy, and Thomas Wilkins Leading the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra; Evening Benefits Music Matters, Suporting the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Music Education Programs
The official launch of the 89th Hollywood Bowl season, the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and Opening Night Concert, brought stars and talent to the iconic venue, Friday, June 18, at 8:30 p.m. This year’s inductees – pop culture icon Donna Summer, the legendary Carpenters (accepted by Richard Carpenter) and world-renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet – as well as presenters multiple Grammy-winning musician, composer and producer Herb Alpert, acclaimed music producer David Foster, film and television actress Victoria Tennant, and producer, choreographer and television personality Nigel Lythgoe – made for a memorable evening. Video montages of each honoree were shown on the venue’s four large screens, celebrating their career achievements. The opening event of the Hollywood Bowl’s season also featured the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra led by Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Wilkins, as well as an orchestra and chorus from Renaissance Arts Academy. The Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl benefit concert raised more than $1 million for Music Matters, supporting the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s music education programs, which serves more than 120,000 youths, families and teachers every year.
The evening kicked off with a welcome to the audience from Los Angeles Philharmonic Association Board Chair David Bohnett, following by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra (HBO), under the baton of Thomas Wilkins, performing Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies began with actress Victoria Tennant, a long-time friend of Jean-Yves Thibaudet, introducing the video tribute showcasing some of the highlights of the pianist’s wide-ranging talents. Thibaudet, who has been hailed as one of the best pianists in the world, then took the stage and launched into Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm Variations,” which appears on his latest CD Gershwin. Following his acceptance of his honor, Thibaudet treated the audience to the final movement of Ravel’s Concerto in G.
The Carpenters’ induction ceremony began with Herb Alpert, whose history with the brother-sister duo dates back to 1969, when he signed them to A&M Records. Following a video tribute, Richard Carpenter, for the first time since the Carpenters’ sold-out concerts at the Bowl in the ‘70s, took the stage to conduct the HBO in a medley of Carpenters hits. He then traded the conductor’s podium for the piano as he played the Carpenters’ 1971 smash single, “For All We Know,” accompanied by a video of Karen Carpenter singing and the HBO led by Wilkins. After a brief acceptance speech, Carpenter performed “Iced Tea,” the song he composed when the then-Richard Carpenter Trio won the “Battle of the Bands” contest at the Hollywood Bowl in 1966. Before the intermission break, Carpenter, again accompanied by a video of Karen Carpenter and the HBO led by Wilkins, performed the Carpenters’ famed signature song “We’ve Only Just Begun.”
The second half of the special evening began with a look at the audience as the event’s chairs – Barbara and Jay Rasulo, Jonathan Weedman and Raymundo Baltazar, Sandy and Barry Pressman, and Josh and Melanie Kaplan – were acknowledged by the voice of the Hall of Fame concerts for all 11 years, Classical KUSC FM 91.5’s Rich Capparela.
Back on the stage, Nigel Lythgoe introduced a tribute to Music Matters, including a video highlighting the LA Phil’s youth orchestra program. The video was followed by a live demonstration of the results of this program as an orchestra and chorus of students from Los Angeles’ Renaissance Arts (RenArts) Academy, an LA Phil partner school and participant in the Fidelity FutureStage arts education program, performed Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” (from Carmina Burana).
Following the Music Matters tribute, the Hall of Fame induction resumed, as Donna Summer’s long-time collaborator, music producer David Foster, introduced a video of the singer’s impressive career highlights. The HBO, led by Wilkins, joined Summer’s band in an overture of the pop diva’s greatest hits; then Summer appeared to perform “MacArthur Park.” Following the acceptance of her honor, Summer, her band, the HBO and Wilkins launched into three songs demonstrating her vocal range – “On the Radio,” “Nature Boy,” and “No More Tears (Enough is Enough).”
In a fitting showcase of two of the biggest acts of the ‘70s, Donna Summer expressed her admiration for Karen and Richard Carpenter’s recordings, then Richard Carpenter returned to the stage to perform with Donna Summer and the HBO the Carpenters’ 1971 chart-topper, “Superstar.” The evening’s performances wrapped up with Summer singing another of her greatest hits, “Last Dance,” accompanied by a spectacular fireworks display. All three inductees and Maestro Wilkins reappeared on the stage for the final curtain call.
A number of film and television personalities as well as elected and other civic officials were on hand to enjoy the performance, including Scott Bakula and Adam Shankman, California State Assembly Member Mike Davis, County Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, Russ Guiney from County Department of Parks and Recreation, John Mukri, head of City Recreation and Parks Department, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association Board Chairman David Bohnett, Los Angeles Philharmonic President Deborah Borda and Los Angeles Philharmonic Chief Operating Officer Arvind Manocha.
The “Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame” was conceived on behalf of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association by Wayne Baruch and Charles F. Gayton, who have created and produced all 11 Hall of Fame opening concerts. Established in 2000, the Hall of Fame identifies and pays tribute to artists whose unique achievements embody the spirit of the world-renowned Hollywood Bowl. The Hall of Fame is now part of an exhibit on the main floor of the Hollywood Bowl Museum that includes photos and film of inductees over the years.
This evening’s performance by the Renaissance Arts Academy was supported by Fidelity Investments and Fidelity FutureStage. Fidelity FutureStage is a national arts education program that links critical resources to local school music programs to inspire students, enhance their learning experience, and celebrate their accomplishments. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Fidelity FutureStage work together to offer symphony experiences and coaching to Los Angeles-area public schools. Renaissance Arts Academy is one of four current Fidelity FutureStage schools in the region, along with Roosevelt High School, Foshay Learning Center and Garfield High School. Ten Los Angeles-area schools have participated in the Fidelity FutureStage program over the past four years.
Prior to the concert, benefit patrons enjoyed a VIP cocktail reception decorated in a “Hollywood Bowl Retrospective” theme which highlighted the long history of the Bowl shell with a retrospective display of vintage photos from the ‘20s to present day. The décor, designed by Caravents, was a retro-chic palette of white and pewter, along with punches of lime green, turquoise and yellow. Seen through linens, florals and furnishings, it evoked a sea-inspired, vintage-glam feeling. Towering focal point floral displays were positioned on all of the bars and food stations filled with assorted shells, white phalaenopsis orchids and blue crushed glass.
Wells Fargo, exclusive sponsor of the VIP pre-concert reception, set their famous full-size Stage Coach replica inside the cocktail reception. Guests enjoyed having their photo taken inside the coach and were immediately provided a commemorative photo.
The dinner box décor, also designed by Caravents, followed the same design theme with white table linens provided by Classic Party Rentals, and petite sea-shell floral arrangements in small vases set on various covers of turquoise silk overlays.
For dinner, gala patrons enjoyed a special menu provided by Patina and served on VerTerra natural material recyclable plates. The dinner, a custom menu designed by Patina’s Joachim Splichal, presented a colorful farmer’s market summer vegetable salad with quinoa, carrot hummus and broken saffron pita to start. The featured entrée was an oak-grilled “Santa Maria” style tri-tip with a medley of summer beans, served with focaccia and wild mushroom mousse. The delightful, summery dessert was a peach crumble with strawberry compote and vanilla scented cream. Wine for the evening was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards.
Donna Summer, the Carpenters and Jean-Yves-Thibaudet join the distinguished company of past artists – John Williams, Garth Brooks, Marilyn Horne, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, John Raitt, Monty Python, Kathleen Battle, Randy Newman, Bernadette Peters, Leopold Stokowski, George Harrison, the Smothers Brothers, Roger Daltrey, Patti LuPone, Nathan Lane, Henry Mancini, Sarah Chang, Brian Wilson, Trisha Yearwood, Joshua Bell, Frank Sinatra, Carlos Santana, André Watts, Plácido Domingo, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Founding Director John Mauceri, Liza Minnelli, Sir James Galway and B.B. King, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Josh Groban – previously inducted into the Hall of Fame. Drawn from the diverse arena of musical entertainment, including classical, pop, jazz, musical theater, film composition, and dance, Hall of Fame honorees receive their tributes each summer as part of the Bowl’s annual opening night celebration.
The Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl Committee is chaired by Sandy and Barry Pressman; Barbara and Jay Rasulo; Jonathan Weedman and Raymundo Baltazar; and Melanie and Josh Kaplan.
Special thanks to Wells Fargo for its generous support of Opening Night. Additional support provided by: Jaguar, Gallo Family Vineyards, Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts and Cooper Tires.
One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the HOLLYWOOD BOWL has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and is home to the best and brightest in all genres of music. The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly-constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 42nd season. In January 2010, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the sixth year in a row at the 20th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards; the Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland.
Special thanks to Wells Fargo for its generous support of Opening Night. Additional support provided by: Jaguar, Gallo Family Vineyards, Pasadena Showcase House for the Art, and Cooper Tires.
Sophie Jefferies, firstname.lastname@example.org, 213.972.3422; Lisa White, email@example.com, 213.972.3408; Photos: 213.972.3034