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  • HB
  • Jun. 20, 2008

    Summer officially kicked off with triple-digit temperatures and a singing and dancing celebration Friday, June 20, at 8:30 p.m., as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra launched the 87th season of the legendary Southern California venue with star-studded tributes and high-energy performances. The focal point of the concert was the Ninth Annual Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame induction ceremony honoring legendary film and stage singer and actress Liza Minnelli, world-renowned flutist Sir James Galway and “King of the Blues” B.B. King. Video montages of each honoree were shown on the venue’s four large screens, showcasing the artists’ professional and personal achievements. Guests were also treated to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of rock & roll at the Bowl featuring the man who was part of the original performance, guitarist Duane Eddy. In addition, the event showcased the debut of the new Principal Guest Conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Thomas Wilkins. The Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl benefit concert raised nearly $1 million for Music Matters, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s music education programs, which serves more than 120,000 youths and teachers every year.

    Festivities began with the National Anthem performed by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra helmed by Wilkins, followed by warm greetings to the audience from Heroes stars Jack Coleman and Senhil Ramamurthy, and leading to Shostakovich’s vibrant Festive Overture.

    The Hall of Fame induction ceremony began with Sir James Galway who was introduced by Wilkins. His induction and tribute included performances by the flutist and the Bowl Orchestra of works for which Galway is well known – Mozart’s Concerto No. 2 in D major (first movement), “Danny Boy” and “Pennywhistle Jig.” After a Music Matters presentation lead by Wilkins, Galway, along with his wife, Lady Jeanne Galway, demonstrated the success of the LA PHIL’s music education outreach activities by performing “Galway Fair,” alongside 30 flute students.

    The second half of the special concert opened with actor Rainn Wilson’s introduction of the Rock & Roll 50th anniversary “Hollywood Bowl Historic Moment.” On hand to re-create that first rock & roll moment was Duane Eddy performing his “Rebel Rouser,” the same song that introduced the genre to the Bowl stage. Joining Eddy were American Idol musical director Rickey Minor and an all-star band of Don Randi, Gil Bernal, Teddy Campbell and Paul Jackson Jr.

    The B.B. King induction and tribute, introduced by the multi-talented Della Reese, opened with the blues singer/guitarist performing “Every Day I Have the Blues,” along with Minor and an eight-member band made up of Jackson Jr. and Campbell as well as David Delhomme, Garrett Smith, Raymond Montiero, Miguel Gandelman and Randy Ellis. King went on to perform crowd favorite “The Thrill is Gone,” accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra’s string section, as well as Minor and the band, and closed with “How Blue Can You Get.”

    The final honoree of the evening, Liza Minnelli, was introduced by film and television actress Mary-Louise Parker. The incomparable Minnelli wowed the audience as she, joined by four dancers, performed her famous and award-winning version of “Cabaret.” She maintained the upbeat tempo with “Hello, Hello/Jubilee Time” and “I Love a Violin” and wrapped with the crowd-pleasing “New York, New York.”

    The special celebration concluded with a rousing rendition of “Peter Gunn” featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, led by Wilkins, with Eddy, Galway, Minor and the Band, and a spectacular fireworks display. A number of film and television personalities as well as local city officials were on hand to enjoy the performance, including Robert David Hall (C.S.I.), Fran Drescher, Zoe McClellan (Dirty Sexy Money), Jeri Ryan, William Shatner, Fred Willard, Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka, County Supervisors Yvonne Burke, Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky, and Los Angeles Philharmonic Association Board Chairman Jerrold Eberhardt.

    Prior to the concert, benefit patrons enjoyed a Disney-produced “Symphony Under the Sea” VIP cocktail reception. An ocean-blue carpet led patrons under the boardwalk and into a transformed undersea environment complete with a colorful and captivating array of inflatable sea urchins, floating jellyfish and airflame kelp. Stilt performers and sea creatures gracefully roamed throughout. Clownfish cocktails and sea-inspired hors d’oeuvres such as mini-tostadas of sea scallop ceviche with pickled red onion and jalapeño, honeydew melon and mint with sea-salt chilled gazpacho, and frushi (fruit sushi) were served. Fine artist Scott Westmoreland was present to complete a piece of artwork reflecting the seascapes, surf and tropical series of art that have made him a recognizable name on the national art scene. This treasured piece of art, titled Symphony Under the Sea, was auctioned off during the reception with proceeds benefiting Music Matters.

    For dinner, patrons enjoyed a spectacular and refreshing summer-themed menu. The first course consisted of a Maine lobster “spring roll” in rice paper, caramelized eggplant, bibb lettuce, Thai basil and daikon sprouts with crispy fried lotus root and red curry aioli, or farmers market baby vegetables-grilled, roasted, blanched and raw with micro herb sprouts and spring onion vinaigrette in hollowed lime, accompanied with goat cheese crostini. Entrée options included roast rack of lamb “Taste of South of France” or a duo of herb grilled beef and range chicken, dried fruit chutney, lentils and chickpeas, white peaches and orange blossom honey vinaigrette. Finally, a delicious Chocolate Mille Feuille - layers of rich dark and creamy milk chocolate mousse with crispy puff pastry and chocolate disks – was served with an accompanying fruit compote for the dessert course. The delectable menu was provided by Patina and wine was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards.

    Minnelli, Galway and King 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 and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Founding Director John Mauceri – 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 “Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame” was conceived on behalf of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association by Wayne Baruch and Charles F. Gayton, executive producers of the June 20 concert. 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 Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl Committee is co-chaired by Jay and Barbara Rasulo and Jonathan Weedman and Raymundo Baltazar. Opening Night sponsors are: Wells Fargo, Gallo Family Vineyards, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, and the Patina Restaurant Group at the Bowl.

    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 in 1991 gave its name to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, a resident ensemble that has filled a special niche in the musical life of Southern California. 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 40th season. Attendance figures over the past several decades have soared: in 1980 the Bowl first topped the half-million mark and close to one million admissions have been recorded. In February 2008, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the fourth year in a row at the 19th 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.

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  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3422,; Lisa White, 213.972.3408,; Photos: 213.972.3034