Concert/Event Review: 2012 Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala
© The Flash List | September 9, 2012
The 2012 Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala was exactly as billed: “An Evening to Remember.”
Guests arriving early for THE premier black-tie event that kicks off the Dallas Arts District's opening season were immediately greeted by the luxurious melodies of the Young Strings Cello Ensemble as the evening began with a cocktail reception where chilled champagne flowed and an assortment of delicious hor d'oeuvres was offered.
Gala Chairs Coley and Jennifer Clark graciously welcomed visitors to the beautiful Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, a regal building which continues to entice us throughout each season with its elegant ambiance that simultaneously remains so comfortably inviting. Decorative light of striking organic shapes was projected onto the lobby wall, and the room was filled with various elements that gave life to this year's theme of a "French Provencal" style utilizing black and white fabrics accented with bright yellow hues which were incorporated via lounge pillows, patterned tablecloths, and unique flower arrangements.
Some well-dressed diners took part in a lovely three-course meal of limited seating, while others opted for reservations at nearby restaurants throughout the Arts District in the heart of downtown Dallas. Throughout the evening, impressive service was provided by a very cordial and attentive Culinaire waitstaff.
Concert Featuring DSO, Jaap van Zweden, and Yo-Yo Ma
Patrons were ushered into the McDermott Concert Hall for the highly-anticipated season-opening concert by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra featuring internationally-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Event organizers such as new DSO President Jonathan Martin along with AT&T Regional Vice President Holly Reed and others briefly addressed the audience before DSO musicians took the stage and the exquisite performance got underway. Recently named Conductor of the Year by Musical America, Maestro Jaap van Zweden returned for his fifth season as Music Director and led the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (the largest performing arts organization in the Southwest) in this opening weekend of the Texas Instruments Classical Series.
The first musical piece of business was the popular Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” by Czech composer Antonin Dvorak. The work unfolded ever so gently until it gradually became more commanding, fanciful, and even celebratory with an emotionally impacting range of sounds including soothing strings, vigilant horns, and mellow woodwinds, all laced with delicate flute melodies and thunderous roars from the timpani. It was graceful, powerful, and deeply moving; and the enraptured audience was utterly delighted.
An even greater treat was then bestowed when Yo-Yo Ma joined the orchestra onstage to perform Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A Minor. Absolutely fascinating not only to hear but also to watch, Ma’s hands moved along the neck of his cello sometimes with slow purposeful accuracy and at other times with lightning speed. Leaning back in his chair with a sort of laid-back posture seemed juxtaposed to the forward-moving nature and fruit of his work, which by the way, was produced in that moment without reference to a single sheet of music whatsoever.
The passion with which both Yo-Yo Ma and Maestro van Zweden executed their crafts was astoundingly evident. Conveying an elevated level of musical excellence, Conductor van Zweden’s hand motions were gentle yet authoritative, his facial expressions intense but not restrictive, and his body weight was shifted periodically from his heels to tip toes in what resembled a literal attempt to ‘push’ or ‘project’ his vision of the music outward. These men, gifted with such great and profound talent, are not just musicians manipulating an instrument or piece of equipment. Rather, it seems that music bursts forth from somewhere deep within them, emanating to those around, even transferring to others, before being delivered to the casual listener with specific care and a great sense of pride along with gentle, warm humility. The music appears to be part of their very being, an extension of who they are.
Post-concert, excitement continued to escalate as guests continued their enchanting experience with additional musical entertainment, an open bar, and desserts at the after-party hosted by Vivaldi Patron Circle (DSO's Young Professionals) and chaired by Anna-Sophia van Zweden.
On one side of the Meyerson, candlelit tables provided a romantic vibe as couples nibbled on decadent chocolate confections near a live pianist; while the other side of the building offered partygoers (many donned in chic cocktail attire) a place to settle into cozy lounge seating and/or a snug spot on a thriving dance floor. The spunky, highly energetic DJ Lucy Wrubel cranked out classic and modern tunes to a crowd of young and old(er) who danced the night away to hits such as “Mickey [You’re So Fine]”, “Call Me Maybe,” “We Are Young,” “Glad You Came,” as well as Wrubel’s self-admittedly ‘cheesy’ final song (which was, in our option, still perfectly appropriate) …“Time of My Life.”
Many did in fact cap off the evening feeling as though they’d had the time of their lives as the marvelous after-party was also exactly as billed: “Unforgettable.”