Ling, Astanova Spice up the Classics

Michael Finn, Rebecca Finn, Emanuele-ViscusoMichael and Rebecca Finn and Emanuele Viscuso.

WEST PALM BEACH, FL – Can you reinterpret Tchaikovsky? Modernize Dvořák?

It’s tough to improve on the classics, but the Palm Beach Symphony brought modern-day star power to romantic favorites, marking the end of its season and the beginning of a tradition.

Performing at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, the concert included a Tchaikovsky concerto and Dvořák symphony, conducted by Jahja Ling and featuring virtuoso pianist Lola Astanova.

Elaine Kay, Jimmy Kay

Elaine and Jimmy Kay

The program, “Redefining the Romantics,” marked the end of the symphony’s 38th season, with hundreds of guests attending both the cultural pre-performance cocktail hour and the post-concert, inaugural gala. More than 900 symphony aficionados enjoyed the concert.

Astanova, known as the “Lady Gaga” of classical music, brought passion and excitement to her performance. She is among the most watched virtuoso performers in the world, with her original piano arrangements attempted by many other pianists.

Guest conductor Jahja Ling’s prolific career has earned him worldwide acclaim for his musical integrity and depth of expression. Now in his eighth season as music director of the San Diego Symphony, he has been praised for his live performances, and local and national broadcasts and recordings, and he has received official recognition by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The addition of our guest performers to the symphony created a powerful dramatic presence on stage that lifted the audience from their seats after each work,” said Michael Finn, the recently appointed executive director of the Palm Beach Symphony.

Doris Hastings, Dale McNulty, Marietta McNulty

Doris Hastings, Dale and Marietta McNulty

Matt Dine, culture photographer for The New York Times and principal oboist with the American Ballet Theater and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, exhibited his photographs of world-famous musicians during the cocktail hour. Emanuele Viscuso, famed sculptor and musician, featured his pieces, “Solid Music,” which he described as a physical representation of the musical sound.

The first-ever gala included a three-course dinner catered by The Breakers’ Special Impressions, dancing to live music and mingling with the artists. The setting was created by Michael Ereshena/The Special Event Design Group in the Kravis Center’s Cohen Pavilion.

“It was truly a fantastic evening, and there is a great sense of excitement as we continue to shape the future of the symphony in Palm Beach,” said Dale McNulty, president of the Palm Beach Symphony Board of Directors.

Click photographs to enlarge.

Honorary chairmen of the Palm Beach Symphony Gala and Concert included Bruce Bent, Nancy and Bill Rollnick, and Susan and Tom Telesco. Co-chairmen of the gala included Veronica Atkins Mersentes, Alexis Mersentes, Herme’ de Wyman Miro, Geri and Frank Morrow, Patty Myura, Dan Ponton, Lois Pope, Thomas Quick and Paula and Nikita Zukov.

The Palm Beach Symphony offers community performances of its full orchestra, chamber orchestra and soloists. It is a member of the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.

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