Fanfare: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Gala raises $1 million
It took one Steinway & Sons and two critically acclaimed pianists to bring close to 2,300 people to their feet for a standing “O” that almost required an intermission of its own when the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra raised the curtain on the 201 7⁄2018 season with its signature gala on September 16.
“They were just fabulous,” said honorary co-chairs Ginny and Dick Simmons.
“They” were renowned virtuoso Lang Lang and 14-year old piano prodigy Maxim Lando, who shared one bench to allow for Lando to play the left hand while Lang Lang nursed an injury he sustained a few months ago. When they did, the ivory sustained such a passionate beating that the piano was left shaking and a quick glance down any given row of seating in Heinz Hall revealed nothing but euphoric, mesmerized smiles.
“It's so great to be back in this beautiful city with the top orchestra in the world, the Pittsburgh Symphony,” said Lang Lang.
Prior to their arrival on stage, Maestro Manfred Honeck ignited the evening as well as his 10th year with the PSO with what he called a “brief tour of rhapsodies around the world.”
“There's a fantastic energy at the top of the season,” he said. “We are so happy to be back in Pittsburgh after our European tour.”
The teaser began with Bedřich Smetana's “The Bartered Bride” and ended with the entire house on its feet following George Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue.”
“I think that the PSO is truly Pittsburgh's ambassador to the world,” said Mike DeVanney, who co-chaired the evening with his wife, Angela.
Afterwards, guests had the option of noshing on courses served by the Duquesne Club or heading to the Fairmont for the after-party Soiree.
The event raised $1 million.
On the list: Devin McGranahan, Adam and Megan Bauman, Brian Ashton, Richard Ernsberger, PSO president and CEO Melia and Mike Tourangeau, Bill and Vivian Benter, Nadine Bognar, Marla Presley, Leslie and Phil Liebscher, Juergen and Lori Mross, Anil and Shruti Gupta, Mark Flaherty and Mary McKinney, Steve and Cynthia Lackey.