Tamara Strauss, San Francisco Chronicle Posted: 02/15/2012
Paul Simon will headline the San Francisco Symphony's 2012 Black and White Ball, performing in a concert with his band and the Symphony (a Black and White first) at Davies Symphony Hall on June 2. The post-concert party at the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center will feature 10 bands on five stages, with music spanning each decade since the ball's 1956 inception, along with dancing, food and, of course drinks.
The Symphony also just unveiled its summer concert lineup. Highlights include: Natalie Merchant with the SFS (June 18); Michael Feinstein and his Big Band (performing a tribute to Frank Sinatra, July 15); Tiempo Libre with the Symphony (July 21); a screening of "The Wizard of Oz," with the SFS performing the film's original score (July 26-27); the world premiere of "Pixar in Concert," with scores from the "Toy Story" trilogy, "WALL-E" and "Ratatouille" (July 28-29); and the "Classical Mystery Tour," the SFS performing the Beatles (Aug. 2-3). The Symphony will also perform two free outdoor concerts at Dolores Park with Tiempo Libre on July 22 and at Stern Grove with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the Symphony in a 75th anniversary tribute to the Stern Grove Festival on July 8.
For details and ticket information on all Symphony events, go to www.sfsymphony.org.
Posted February 15, 2012
Academy Of Music Keeps Its 155th-anniversary Party Right At Home
January 29, 2012 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma accepts applause from the crowd and congratulations from conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin after performing Tchaikovsky's "Variations on a Rococo Theme." (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
For as long as anyone can remember, the last Saturday night in January has played out in the same slightly paradoxical way for Philadelphia's Grand Old Lady of Locust Street.
A comely crowd of women in gowns and white-tie-and-tailed men assembles for her birthday. Music is played, speeches are made, and then the revelers file out of the Academy of Music to other spaces for dinner and dancing, leaving the hall they came to fete still and dark.
This year, though, the honored guest was around for the whole party.
At Saturday night's 155th Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball, instead of heading for the Hyatt at the Bellevue after hearing cellist Yo-Yo Ma, jazz singer Diana Krall, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, the audience stayed.
This year, dinners at restaurants near the Academy were held before the concert rather than after. Among those seen in the hall after dining elsewhere were many of the city's cultural leaders, developers, lawyers galore, Mayor Nutter and his wife, Lisa, Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett and his wife, Susan, and Sen. Bob Casey and his wife, Terese.
The night's official host, actor David Morse - a Philadelphian for 18 years - said the venerable auditorium had been set up much as it had been for the Academy's opening night on Jan. 26, 1857. He said that party had been declared the greatest ever given in the city, then added, after a pause, "until tonight."
Diana Krall, the 155th Academy Ball's special guest artist, performed jazz and pop standards with her own trio and with the Philadelphia Orchestra. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
The Academy stage had been extended fully into the house, with a floor erected over the orchestra-level seats so some listeners could hear the concert while sitting at tables, Boston Pops-style.
Afterward, the symphony orchestra on stage was replaced by a dance band. The great chandelier was lowered, and revelers spread out into the specially constructed party area.
Several concertgoers commented that the new arrangement was "shocking" on first look but said they liked it.
"It's long been a goal of mine to have an open house in the Academy and to be able to do it the way they did it in 1857," Academy president Joanna McNeil Lewis said. "Really, I think it hits on the value of tradition and legacy of the Academy of Music."
At that mid-19th-century gathering, Philadelphia society heard waltzes, polkas, and quadrilles; for this 55th edition of the anniversary concert, nearly 1,400 patrons paid between $240 and $2,500 per ticket to hear the concert, soak up champagne, resist or not resist elaborate desserts, and dance - on that temporary floor in the main hall, or in the upstairs ballroom.
The building, brightened with loads of roses and trim, commanded attention Saturday night. But so did the music. It was the first Academy anniversary concert for Yannick Nézet-Séguin, even before becoming the orchestra's music director next fall.
He told the audience: "I am overwhelmed with joy," referring to his Academy of Music debut, before leading cellist Ma in Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme. The cellist held the hall's attention with a sensitive and highly detailed performance.
Singer/pianist Krall took the stage for several songs, both with the orchestra and her own trio, performing a set of standards - "The Look of Love," "Pick Yourself Up" - in her trademark casual, smoky voice.
She then brought Nézet-Séguin out on stage for one last song and said to him, "It's my dream orchestra come true. But I was just getting warmed up."
Posted January 29, 2012
Kauffman Center For The Performing Arts Grand Opening Celebrations
Posted September 19, 2011
Producers Aim High For Kauffman Center's Debut Gala