Society / Featured Parties

Russian Flair (and Vodka) Push Houston Symphony Opening Night to Another Level

When More Than the Music is a Dream

BY // 09.18.19

The wave of standing ovations and cheers saluting Yefim Bronfman‘s rapturous performance of Rachmanioff’s famed Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Houston Symphony might have thrown the timing for the Opening Night celebration off schedule. But, carried away by the high of the sublime entertainment, no one cared. Or even noticed.

In fact, so stirred were the music lovers that many among the 400 symphony patrons declined luxury bus transport, opting to walk the starlit block from Jones Hall to the Ballroom at Bayou Place, where a post-performance black-tie gala was about to begin. And what a beginning — vodka shots all around.

The vodka was merely the initial nod to the all-Russian program that the Houston Symphony, under direction of Leonard Slatkin, had so magically presented. The salon decor by The Events Company echoed Russian grandeur from the rose topiaries imitating Fabergé eggs to the red velvet brocaded table cloths to the golden draping. Jackson & Company joined the party serving a first course salad graced with soft-boiled egg and caviar and concluding with a duo of Russian-inspired desserts — Strawberries Romanoff and a Fabergé cake.

Champagne flowed and wines poured, the pairings courtesy of Spec’s Wine, Spirits & Finer Foods. Spasibo (Russian for “thank you”) Lindy and John Rydman and Lisa Rydman.

After dinner, even though the hour was late, the Richard Brown Orchestra took the stage for rounds of dancing that went into the wee morning hours.

Applause, applause for evening chair Barbara Burger and co-chairs Kusum and K. Cody Patel. And a big thank you to ConocoPhillips, which for the 33rd year generously served as concert sponsor and lead corporate underwriter of the gala that this year raised more than $575,000 for the Houston Symphony ‘s education and outreach programming.

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  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (Art)
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  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (Art)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (Art)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (Art)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (Art)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (Art)
  • Christopher Martin Gallery 1 - Houston (Art)

PC Seen: Gala chair Barbara J. Bruger, gala co-chairs Kusum and K. Cody Patel, lead corporate underwriter ConocoPhillips represented by Janet Clark, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Margaret Alkek Williams, Mariglyn and Stephen Glenn, Betty and Jess Tutor, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin, Anne and Albert Chao, Virginia Clark, Katie and Bob Orr, Dr. John R. Stroehlein and Miwa Sakashita, Betty and Jesse Tutor, Catherine and Brian James, Joan and Bob Duff, Frederick Lyons and Dr. Quyen Ho, Cora Sue and Harry Mach, Joella and Steve Mach, Mariglyn and Steven Glenn, Valerie and Tracy Dieterich.

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