San Francisco Symphony Kicks Off the Season With a Starry Night

Frank Gehry and other guests celebrated at the annual Opening Night Gala



The Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, home of the San Francisco Symphony.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream was the dramatic theme for the Opening Night Gala of the San Francisco Symphony held on Friday, September 23. The dreamy Mendelssohn Opus 61, conducted by music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, set the delightful tone of the evening, which continued with a witty multimedia presentation by the African-American Shakespeare Company, and reached a colorful creative coup later at the garlanded Pavilion dinner tent.

“It’s a delight to see my friends in such a beautiful setting, and to enjoy a little caviar together,” said Dede Wilsey, wearing an Andrew Gn gown, as she arrived post-concert inside the starry night-inspired tent for the festive patrons’ dinner. “Cultural life is alive, and for that I’m grateful to the San Francisco Symphony and all the other arts groups in the city.” Her dinner guests included Matthew Shilvock, general director of SF Opera, along with Jack Calhoun, and Yurie and Carl Pascarella.


From left: Jack Calhoun and Dede Wilsey. Inside the Pavilion dinner tent.


At an adjacent table, a surprise and very welcome guest was the genial Frank Gehry, the world-renowned architect of Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Asked about his upcoming projects, Gehry—a longtime close friend of Salonen—went into a happy reverie, noting that Salonen and Matthew Spivey, the new CEO of SF Symphony, have engaged him to create a temporary site for the orchestra when Davies Hall, their current home, is undergoing its planned renovation over the next few years. “I’m thinking of something surprising, perhaps a bit shocking. Maybe on Treasure Island, adjacent to the Bay Bridge,” Gehry said.


From left: Gaurav Garg and Komal Shah. Jeremy Gallaher and Navid Armstrong.


From left: Saskia Botha, Huifen Chan and Gorretti Lo Lui. Post-concert festivities included three different dinner celebrations.


Arts patron Komal Shah, wearing a fuchsia-colored Naeem Khan gown, admired the decor in the pavilion. “It reminds me of a baroque palazzo in Venice, with a feeling of fantasy,” said Shah, who recently attended the Venice Biennale. She is amassing a museum-worthy collection of contemporary paintings by women artists.

Others among the patrons and music fans included Priscilla and Keith Geeslin,  Goretti Lo Lui, Dagmar Dolby,  and event  chairs Navid Armstrong  and Jeremy Gallaher, along with Barbara Bode Brown and Carmen Lagarda.

Funds raised by the opening night celebration will continue music education programs in schools.


Feature Image: The San Francisco Symphony’s 2022 Opening Night Gala.


October 1, 2022

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