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  • WDCH
  • Sep. 30, 2015
  • Concert Paid Tribute to the Legendary Composer

    The 2015 LA Phil Opening Night Gala: The Brilliance of Beethoven Was Made Possible with the Proud Support of Rolex, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic

    Proceeds Support the LA Phil and its Education Programs, including YOLA (Youth Orchestra LA)

    The Musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel and Christoph Waltz Generously Donated Their Services for this Concert 

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic opened its 2015/16 season – presenting one conductor, Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, and two orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela (SBSOV) – in its 2015 Opening Night Gala: The Brilliance of Beethoven. The all-Beethoven black-tie event took place at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Tuesday, September 29, at 7 pm, and also launched the LA Phil’s Immortal Beethoven festival, which continues in October. The concert featured excerpts from two dramatic works, Egmont and The Creatures of Prometheus, not found elsewhere in the festival programming, as well as the final “Ode to Joy” movement of the composer’s Symphony No. 9. In addition to the two orchestras and Dudamel, the concert featured an impressive cast of guest artists: Christoph Waltz as narrator during the Egmont selections; sopranos Rachele Gilmore and Mariana Ortiz, mezzo-soprano J’nai Bridges, tenor Joshua Guerrero, bass Soloman Howard, the Los Angeles Master Chorale; and dancers from Barak Ballet, with choreography by Melissa Barak: guest principal dancer Beckanne Sisk, and dancers Ryan Camou, Jessica Gadzinski, Evan Swenson, Mauro Villanueva and Hannah Wilcox.

    The Opening Night Gala: The Brilliance of Beethoven raised more than $3.5 million for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s many music education programs, which serve more than 150,000 youths, families and teachers every year.

    The evening began with the arrivals of notable celebrities and VIPs: Julie Andrews, Gael García Bernal, Kate Burton, Michael and Jane Eisner, Frank Gehry, Herbie and Gigi Hancock, Bryce Dallas Howard, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Anne Jeffreys, Neil Lane, Matthew Lillard, Mia Maestro, Alexandra Meneses, Chris O’Donnell, William Shatner, and Hilary Swank, who walked the red carpet up Walt Disney Concert Hall’s grand staircase. Local officials in attendance included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Supervisors Don Knabe and Sheila Kuehl, and former Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. They were joined by LA Phil Chair Diane B. Paul, LA Phil Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, LA Phil Gala Co-Chair Lynn A. Booth, LA Phil President and CEO Deborah Borda, LA Phil Executive Director Gail Samuel and LA Phil Chief Operating Officer Chad Smith, along with more than 650 Gala patrons.

    As Gala guests ascended the Grand Staircase into the reception they were treated to the Arcadia Wind Quintet performing Beethoven’s String Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 4, arranged for winds.

    Inside the reception in BP Hall, guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and were entertained by a special performance by members of the LA Phil and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, led by Joshua Dos Santos, playing Beethoven’s Eleven Viennese Dances, “Mödlinger Tanze,” WoO. 17. The music accompanied waltzing dancers.

    As the reception came to a close, guests moved into the auditorium for the concert. The program began with the LA Phil and SBSOV, led by Dudamel performing selections from Egmont, Op. 84. Soprano Rachele Gilmore enchanted the audience with her singing of the well-known “Die Trommel gerühret,” and “Freudvoll und Leidvoll” movements, and actor Christoph Waltz provided a captivating dramatic narration for the “Clärchen’s Tod bezeichnend” and “Susser Schlaf, du kommst wie ein reines gluck” movements.

    The program continued with selections from Beethoven’s ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43, featuring dancers from Barak Ballet – a Los Angeles-based contemporary dance troupe – performing numbers from the second act. Guest principal dancer Beckanne Sisk was the featured solo dancer for No. 5: Adagio – Andante quasi allegretto. Additional Barak Ballet dancers, Ryan Camou, Jessica Gadzinski, Evan Swenson, Mauro Villanueva and Hannah Wilcox took the stage to perform No. 16: Finale to conclude the piece.

    The Opening Night Concert concluded with the large combined orchestra – the LA Phil and SBSOV – along with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and vocal soloists: Mariana Ortiz, J’nai Bridges, Joshua Guerrero, and Soloman Howard performing the final “Ode to Joy” movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

    During the final notes of the piece, Beethoven-shaped confetti drifted down from the ceiling.

    Post-concert festivities took place in the large tent on Grand Avenue. Upon walking into the tent, whose entrances were flanked by Beethoven living statues on pedestals, Gala patrons were immersed in a classical Viennese setting with mural-sized hand painted backdrops of Vienna scapes, topiaries, fountains, gold-rimmed dinnerware and lush cascading floral centerpieces designed in gold mercury glass compote dishes filled with a variety of spray roses, scabiosa pods, protea greenery, maiden hair fern, ivy and Queen Anne’s lace. The Cowling Band played a mix of upbeat contemporary and “oldies” music.

    The Viennese-inspired menu, created by Patina Chef Joachim Splichal, started with a first course of Compressed Salad of Potatoes – root vegetables, string beans, and smoked salmon. The entrée featured Wiener Schnitzel – breaded veal escalope, creamy spinach, and elderflower-cranberries. Dinner wine was provided by The Wine Group.

    The welcome program featured remarks from LA Phil President and CEO Deborah Borda and Gala Co-Chair Lynn A. Booth as they welcomed Dudamel and thanked the evening’s sponsor, Rolex.

    After brief remarks from Dudamel stressing the importance of music as a unifying force, he introduced Ensamble 7/4, a samba ensemble of members of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. The ensemble, many of which are from Dudamel’s home town of Barquisimeto, performed a set of lively music that wowed the crowd. Following the samba set, the Cowling Band returned to the stage.

    While patrons continued to enjoy the music, the dessert course was served: Pear Plum Cake – hazelnut creameux, coffee Chantilly, hazelnut crisp, and pear sorbet. In addition, custom-made Beethoven-imprinted chocolate treats provided by Frank Sheftel of The Candy Factory were served.

    Guests continued to dance into the evening.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Gala: The Brilliance of Beethoven Committee included Gala Co-Chairs Lynn A. Booth and Joan Hotchkis; and Committee members Judy Beckmen, David C. Bohnett, Edye Broad, Mari L. Danihel, Margaret Eberhardt, Jane B. Eisner, Kiki Ramos Gindler, Elaine Goldsmith, Carol Colburn Grigor, Sarah Ketterer, Soraya Nazarian, Annette O’Malley, Diane B. Paul, Ann Ronus, Tawny Sanders, Carla Sands, Larry Schmitt, Sutton B. Stracke, Barbera H. Thornhill, John Williams, Alyce Williamson, and Marilyn Ziering. The Los Angeles Philharmonic Gala: The Brilliance of Beethoven party was created by Shiraz Events.

    All Gala proceeds support the Los Angeles Philharmonic and its education and community programs, including YOLA, the signature program of Gustavo Dudamel. The Gala concert was made possible with the proud support of Rolex, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music Director & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres - orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop - at two of L.A.'s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall ( and the Hollywood Bowl ( The LA Phil's season at Walt Disney Concert Hall extends from September through June, and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs.

    Leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, Rolex, headquartered in Geneva, enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. It’s Oyster watches, all certified as chronometers for their precision, are symbols of excellence, performance and prestige. Pioneer in the development of the wristwatch as early as 1905, the brand is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism introduced in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, science, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities as well as philanthropic programs. Rolex is proud to be the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and sponsor of the 2015 Los Angeles Philharmonic Gala at the world-renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall on September 29, 2015.

    TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2015, AT 7 PM
    Walt Disney Concert Hall,
    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles


    GUSTAVO DUDAMEL, conductor
    CHRISTOPH WALTZ, narrator
    RACHELE GILMORE, soprano
    Dancers courtesy of BARAK BALLET:
    MELISSA BARAK, artistic director/choreographer
    BECKANNE SISK, guest principal dancer
    MARIANA ORTIZ, soprano
    J’NAI BRIDGES, mezzo-soprano
    Grant Gershon, artistic director
    Trevor Sterlin Burk, lighting designer
    Renae Williams Niles, dance consultant
    Ruth Fentroy, costume designer
    Margery Simkin, casting director

    BEETHOVEN, Selections from Egmont, Op. 84
    “Die Trommel gerühret”
    Zwischenactmusik I. Andante
    “Freudvoll und Leidvoll”
    “Clärchen’s Tod bezeichnend”
    “Susser Schlaf, du kommst wie ein reines gluck”

    BEETHOVEN, Selections from The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43
    Act 2: No. 4 Maestoso - Andante
    Act 2: No. 5 Adagio - Andante quasi allegretto
    Act 2: No. 16 Finale

    BEETHOVEN, Symphony No. 9, 4th movement, “Ode to Joy”

    The 2015 Opening Night Gala and Concert was made possible with the proud support of Rolex, the Official Timepiece of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

    Proceeds support the LA Phil and its education programs, including YOLA (Youth Orchestra LA). The musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel and Christoph Waltz generously donated their services for this concert.


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