SF Symphony Prepares to Dazzle at Opening Gala

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Last year's Symphony Opening Gala
Last year’s Symphony Opening Gala

Photo Credit: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Anyone who frequents society photographer Drew Altizer’s website knows that it’s been a sleepy couple of months. Summer is a quiet time for SF’s social crew—most people prefer to spend the city’s coldest months in warmer climates. However, that’s all about to change when September rolls around and the fall social season kicks into high gear. The first and most important event of the circuit is the Symphony Opening Gala on Wednesday, September 7. Music director Michael Tilson Thomas will start his 22nd season—and the Orchestra’s 105th—with performances by the legendary Renée Fleming and acclaimed Susan Graham. The singers will serenade the gala goers with a program of Italian and American songs, including original pieces written by Tilson Thomas. Other works on the playlist are Rossini’s Overture and Ballet Music from William Tell and Three Movements, by composer Steve Reich, who is celebrating his 80th birthday this year.

Dinner in the Rotunda at City Hall
Dinner in the Rotunda at City Hall

Photo Credit: Moanalani Jeffrey PhotographyIn anticipation of the thrilling evening, Haute Living sat down with Whitney Hudak, co-chair of the Symphonix Dinner, and Kris E. Kolassa, co-chair of the night’s after party, to learn what surprises are in store for symphony lovers. Hudak explained that there are four distinct dining options for the gala. The largest is the Patrons’ Dinner, which takes place in a tented pavilion next to Davies Symphony Hall. The Wattis Room Dinner is an elegant and intimate experience, while the Symphony Supper is at City Hall’s Grand Rotunda. Hudak’s event, the Symphonix Dinner Party, is in the North Light Court of City Hall.

Whitney Hudak
Whitney Hudak

“It starts with a cocktail reception under the Rotunda of City Hall,” she said. “Then it moves into the dinner portion of the evening—and that is a seated three-course meal, with McCall’s catering. We are so excited for the food that evening. After the dinner, people get up and mingle before heading over to Davies Symphony Hall. There is another brief cocktail hour and then the performance!” Hudak is an active board member of Symphonix, the premiere group for young professionals interested in supporting the symphony. She hopes that her involvement as chair of the Symphonix dinner will drum up new interest among SF’s young hip entrepreneurs and philanthropists. “I’m most excited about getting new members involved and possibly joining Symphonix,” she said. “The opening night gala showcases the incredible talent of the musicians. It’s a really fun to be a part of.” Kolassa’s in charge of the after party—a giant event that all concert goers are invited to attend after the show. “Notorious, who is going to be inside the tent, is our headliner band,” she said. “We are going to have a DJ, too. He is going to be the entertainment outside on Grove Street. We have a bunch of great restaurants that have donated bites and we’ll have cocktails and wine. We’re getting some other surprises that I can’t mention yet, but know it’s going to be fabulous.”

We can’t wait for the festivities—to get in on the action, purchase your ticket now before they sell out.

Davis Symphony Hall
Davis Symphony Hall

Photo Credit: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

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