What: Houston Symphony Opening Night Concert & Gala
Where: Jones Hall and The Corinthian
The scoop: The Houston Symphony’s 2018-2019 Opening Night Concert & Gala, chaired by Donna and Max Chapman, raised more than $750,000 for the Houston Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement Programming. ConocoPhillips served as the Concert Sponsor and Lead Gala Corporate Underwriter for the 32nd year. Daniela and Manolo Sánchez served as honorary chairs.
A 275-key piano, stretching in front of the doors of Jones Hall, welcomed more than 1,000 guests as they made their way into the concert. The evening featured renowned pianist Yuja Wang. Conductor Gustavo Gimeno led the musicians of the Houston Symphony in a concert program that featured Ravel’s virtuosic concerto followed by Barber’s Overture to The School for Scandal.
The night of musical magic ended with Prokofiev’s vibrant, impassioned rendering of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Following the performance, 400 black-tie party-goers continued the evening at The Corinthian for a spectacular seated dinner catered by Jackson and Company.
The décor, created by The Events Company, focused on the musical aspect of the evening. Tables were dressed with black and silver reversible sequined linens adorned with centerpieces of red roses in black and white vases, like the keys of a piano.
Dinner began with La Salade Rue Saint-Benoit, a salad composed of green leaf lettuce, walnut halves, watermelon radish, frisee and walnut oil dressing, wedges of meadow creek dairy Grayson and Roquefort with a variety of toasts. The main course included filet mignon served with Béarnaise sauce and asparagus, tomato Provencal, roasted whole baby new potatoes and sliced baguettes. Accompanying the meal were wine pairings provided by Spec’s Wine, Spirits, & Finer Foods. The dessert was a chocolate piano filled with chocolate mousse and raspberry garnish.
The highlight of the evening was the auction of a new Steinway Spirio Model M piano signed by the star of the evening, Yuja Wang. Jo Dee and Cliff Wright walked away the winners of the prized possession.
The Royal Dukes Band then took the stage, commencing the late-night party that had guests dancing into the wee hours of the morning.
Who: Regina and John Mangum, Janet Clark, Margaret Alkek Williams, Courtney and Bill Toomey, Catherine and Brian James, Ralph Burch, Vicki West, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Cora Sue and Harry Mach, Joella and Steve Mach, Anne and Albert Chao, Jo Dee and Cliff Wright, De la Rey Venter and Rialda Venter, Reymundo Ocanas and Orlando Manzo-Ocanas, Katie and Bob Orr, Maureen Higdon, Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah, James Bell, Betty and Jesse Tutor, Gina and Devinder Bhatia, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin, Farida Abjani, Kevin Black and Tony Bradfield, Alex and Daniel Gottschalk, Joanne King Herring, Rochelle and Max Levit, Alie and Dave Pruner, Jeff and Rachelle Ball.