Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Vienna Philharmonic Society Holds Exclusive Concert and Dinner

L-R: Ferdinand von Stranz, VPO Chairman Daniel Froschauer, VP Society Chairman Marife Hernandez, VPO General Manager Michael Bladerer, VP Society Board Members Theodora Simons, Sedge Ward, Elizabeth Ingleby, John Hargraves, Max Jahn

The Vienna Philharmonic Society  celebrated with a black-tie concert and dinner in a private club.  Limited to just 150 guests, it was arguably the most elegant event of the current social season, and under distinguished patronage including H.E. Wolfgang Waldner, Ambassador of Austria to the United States and Mrs. Gudrun Faudon-Waldner; H.E. Jan Kickert, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations and Mrs. Latica Tomasic-Kickert; and H.E. Dr. Helmut Boeck, Consul General of Austria to New York and Mrs. Barbara Boehm-Boeck.

Arriving promptly for cocktails every guest was greeted by name by the chairman, Marifé Hernández, and her husband, Joel Bell.  After just 45 minutes the concert began. Marifé’s introduction of the Orchestra made special thanks to all assembled, especially to her Board.  Because of their generosity, The Vienna Philharmonic Society in now a founding donor of the newly created Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Academy in Vienna, committed to training a new generation of classical musicians.  The Society’s participation ensures that a place would be held each year at The Academy for a gifted American student.  

The performance was Brahms’ String Sextet in G Major, Op. 36; one of the master’s most demanding works, and one close to the composer’s heart as it conceals a reference to Agathe von Siebold (with whom he was infatuated) in the first movement. This was followed by a rousing encore, reminiscent of old Vienna.  After thunderous applause, the patrons moved to a magnificent dinner of Quenelle de Brochet, Pan Seared Medallions of Veal in Brandied Morel Sauce served with Bundles of Baby Asparagus and Polenta, and Chocolate Soufflé with Vanilla Gelato.  The music, the flowers, the red calligraphy place cards and menu cards - everything was of an old world perfection not commonly achieved.

Guests included Ambassador Ping Huang, Chinese Consul General to New York, and his wife Mrs. Lilly Zhang, Ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi, Japanese Consul General to New York, Ambassador and Mrs. Andrew Jacovides, Ambassador Donald Blinken, Carnegie Hall Director Clive Gillinson and his wife Anya Gillinson, Arianne Batterberry, Tony Bechara, Bill Bernhard, Giancarla and Luciano Berti, Noreen Buckfire, John Dobkin, Noel Lateef, Pia Lindstrom, William Nitze, Cynthia Polsky, Daisy Soros,  Helene and Hugh Tilney, Barbara and Donald Tober, Svetlana and Herbert Wachtel and Michael Tilson Thomas, who conducted two of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall.

Photo (c) Da Ping Luo

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Friends of Budapest Festival Orchestra Kick-Off Soirée

Donald Blinken, Sylvia Hemingway, George Pataki

 The Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra held their gala kick-off party with guests of honor Ambassador Donald Blinken and Governor George E. Pataki last week at Sylvia Hemingway's Fifth Avenue residence.  The hostess served Hungarian wine from her DHP Vineyard.  "Egészségedre!" toasted Sylvia (Cheers! in Hungarian).  

Kristina Allegra, Reni Rothschild, Stephen Benko

Friends chairman, Stephen Benko, flew in from Budapest for the occasion, announcing in his toast the April 6th benefit dinner and concert at Carnegie Hall, as well as the plans for a second Vicenza Opera Festival, opening October 20th, 2019.

Guests included: Kristina Allegra, Steven M.L. Aronson, Ambassador Nancy Brinker, Dr. Karen Burke, Joan Hardy Clark, Aaron Feinstein, John and Carole French, Susan Gutfreund, Cheri Kaufman and Bill Sclight, Michèle Gerber Klein, Aimee and William Maroney, Reni Rothschild, Daisy Soros, Stephanie Stokes, Barbara and Donald Tober, Annette Vass, and Máté Vincze (director of the Hungarian Cultural Center).

 Learn more about The Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra here

All photos (c) John Sanderson/ 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

LongHouse Reserve Holds Winter Benefit

James S. Snyder, James Carpenter, Toshiko Mori, Paul Goldberger, Matko Tomicic

LongHouse Reserve's Winter Benefit honored architects Toshiko Mori and Jamie Carpenter, atop the Hearst Tower last Thursday night.  The evening began with cocktails in the East Rooms of the 44thfloor with superb views of the city. Welcoming guests, executive director of LongHouse, Matko Tomicic, joked: "I was thinking about changing the title of the Benefit from winter to spring. I guess winter is over, thank god!"

Longhouse founder, Jack Lenor Larsen, spoke fondly of architect Jamie Carpenter, who designed the Israel Museum: "He was asked to design a real museum, of many buildings, beautifully orchestrated, and interestingly put together. It became a museum that you must visit soon. Jerusalem seems more distant than Europe or Japan. And it's such a handsome city built over thousands of years over the same golden stone... " James Snyder, director emeritus of the Israel Museum, recalled, "We invited Jamie to Jerusalem late in winter," he said. "It happened to be a kind of biblical weather weekend. The sky was intense blue, then there were cumulus clouds, then it snowed, then it rained, then hail. Jamie, whose sensibilities are all about light, got to experience every possible condition."  Jamie Carpenter added, “Glass celebrates nature in many different ways. I'm interested in the characteristics of glass which are a little more abstract and complex than simply transparency. It can communicate information around us."

Dianne Benson, Chairman of the Board, said, "One of the most wonderful aspects of my association with LongHouse and Jack is that I have learned that architecture is not just about a building, or wood, or materials, it's a kind of magic that Jack has introduced us all to." Paul Goldberger joked, "We are celebrating LongHouse in tall house.” He then said, “I have long admired Toshiko Mori's work. Her architecture simultaneously delights with the new, and, yet, at the same time, feels comfortable and almost familiar."  In accepting her award, Toshiko Mori said, “I have known LongHouse for a very long time, since I was a student. Therefore, it is very close to me and it's very interesting.” She also revealed how she had once interviewed  Jamie Carpenter for a job: “As Jamie likes to joke, he didn't get the job but he did get a wife.”

Guests included: Arthur and Diane Abbey, Jacqueline Brody, Richard De Rose, Sherri Donghia, Lee Freund, Sean Kelly, Christopher Latham, Mark and Elizabeth Levine, Eileen O'Kane Kornreich, Sandy and Steve Perlbinder, Lee Skolnick, James Snyder, Michael Steinberg, and Neda Young. 

About LongHouse Reserve 
LongHouse Reserve exemplifies living with art in all forms. Founded by Jack Lenor Larsen, its collections, gardens, sculpture and programs reflect world cultures and inspire a creative life. LongHouse Reserve is a 16 acre reserve and sculpture garden located in East Hampton, NY, featuring pieces from Buckminster Fuller, Yoko Ono and Willem de Kooning to name a few. For more information, click here
Photos courtesy of (c) John Sanderson/ 
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