LA Phil Gala

Gustavo Dudamel, Herbie Hancock and an All-Gershwin LA Phil Gala


“So much blue,” said jazz legend Herbie Hancock, as he gazed out at the audience from onstage at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The occasion: the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s season-opening all-Gershwin concert, followed by the LA Phil Gala, “Rhapsody in Blue.”

And like Hancock, I could see from my Orchesta West seat that many women all around the hall had beautifully color-matched their gowns to the gala theme.

Hancock then settled down to his brilliant piano solos, while the L.A. Philharmonic’s music director, Gustavo Dudamel, conducted the orchestra. And judging from the pre-concert cocktail conversation, the city’s infatuation with the young conductor hasn’t slowed since his 2009 appointment as music director.

“I absolutely love Dudamel,” said Maurice Marciano. “You look at him and you know how transported he is by the music – – and he brings you along with him.” Marciano is one of the four brothers who founded Guess?  

The Sept. 27 gala raised $3.4 million for the philharmonic’s music and educational programs and attracted actors William Shatner, Don Johnson and  Luke MacFarlane of “Brothers and Sisters;” music greats Quincy Jones, John Williams, Wayne Shorter and David Foster; and more than 600 other guests, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Berta and Frank Gehry, Jane and Michael Eisner,  Maurice Marciano, Jamie McCourt, Betsy Bloomingdale and many more of L.A.’s business and community leaders.  Joan and John Hotchkis, and David Bohnett and Tom Gregory served as gala committee chairs. Bohnett is chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic board.

Following a standing ovation at the concert’s finale, party-goers remained on their feet through much of the evening as the band, “Impulse,” played rock, Latin and swing tunes for dancing. In keeping with the Gershwin era, event planner Gai Klass created a 1930s supper club, (granted, a supersized one) with damask-lined walls and upholstered banquettes.  Dinner featured the classic dishes of Crab Louie, Beef Wellington and baked Alaska, all done to modern tastes

Eloisa Maturén Dudamel and Gigi Hancock served as honorary chairs of the LA Phil Gala with the committee including Maria Bell, Lynn Booth, Carey Cullinane, Margaret Eberhardt, Jane Eisner, Kimberly Marteau Emerson, Lenore Greenberg, Joyce Kresa, Ginny Mancini, Soraya Sarah Nazarian, Ann Ronus, Nancy Sanders, Carla Sands, Sutton Stracke, Alan Vorwald and Alyce Williamson. Rolex was the Gala’s major sponsor.

For more details about the party, you’ll find my L.A. Times story for Culture Monster here. To read about the concert, you’ll find Mark Swed’s review here

Photos from top, from left: Gustavo Dudamel, L.A. Philharmonic president Deborah Borda, Eloisa Maturen, John Williams, Herbie Hancock and Frank Gehry; from left: Gustavo Dudamel, John and Joan Hotchkis (both photos: Mathew Imaging); Herbie Hancock with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

An album of more than 50 photos from the LA Phil Gala can be found by clicking here. 



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LA Phil Gala

Published Sept. 29, 2011 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA