The event: Monday night's “L.A. Phil Gala,” celebrating Walt Disney Concert Hall’s 10th anniversary and honoring the hall’s innovative architect Frank Gehry.
The performance: Gustavo Dudamel conducted the L.A. Phil in a varied program, beginning with John Cage’s "4’33,” consisting of only the hall’s ambient sounds -- in other words, no music -- and ending with “When You Wish Upon a Star” in tribute to the Disney family. Bach, Tchaikovsky, Ades, Mahler and Saint-Saens came in between, with Yo-Yo Ma performing the solos and videos by artist Netia Jones showing the hall’s phases of development.
The setting: A reception preceded the concert and a black-tie dinner followed in an adjacent tent, decorated in a “Starry Night” theme, where tiny lights twinkled overhead like a galaxy of stars and the band Rhythm Collective, provided dance music.
The starry gathering: L.A. business leaders, elected officials, Hollywood stars and other VIPs came together to celebrate Disney Hall’s milestone anniversary. They included Jane Fonda and Richard Perry, Kimberly and Albert Brooks, former Disney chief Michael Eisner, Mayor Eric Garcetti, former Univision chief Jerry Perenchio, Sherry Lansing and William Friedkin, Edythe and Eli Broad, Annette and Peter O’Malley, Lyn and Norman Lear, Eva and Marc Stern, Lenore and Bernard Greenberg, Julie Andrews, Emmy Rossum, Ty Burrell, Ben Harper, Cheyenne Jackson, Matthew Lillard, Chris O’Donnell, Daisy Fuentes, Burt Bacharach, Herbie Hancock and John Williams.
Diane Disney Miller chaired the gala, along with honorary chair Eloisa Maturen Dudamel and co-chairs David Bohnett, Joan Hotchkis and Alyce Williamson. L.A. Phil President and Chief Executive Deborah Borda helped to welcome the crowd.
Quotes of note: Jane Fonda was so impressed by the sounds of Disney Hall’s majestic organ that she took an informal poll after the concert to discover if others, like herself, were hearing it played for the first time. She shared her thoughts on the hall’s architect, saying that her first sighting of Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, brought her to tears.
“He’s the bravest, most visionary architect since Gaudi,” Fonda said. “When I was working at the Ahmanson, (in the 2011 staging of "33 Variations"), I would stop and I would gape whenever I walked past Disney Hall.”
As for the Disney family, “We’re thrilled,” said Lillian and Walt Disney’s granddaughter Jenny Miller Goff, ”with what Disney Hall has brought to the community and to the landscape of Los Angeles.”
The finale score: With tickets priced from $2,500 and tables ranging upward to $200,000, the gala raised more than $5 million for the L.A. Phil’s music education programs.
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