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Spotlight on the Piano

The piano stars in Houston Symphony’s triumphant

2018-2019 Opening Night Concert and Gala


Photo Credit: Jenny Antill and Daniel Ortiz

The Celebration

The Houston Symphony’s 2018-2019 Opening Night Concert and Gala, chaired by Donna and Max Chapman, raised over $750,000 for the organization’s Education and Community Engagement Programming. This year’s honorary chairs were Daniela and Manolo Sánchez. For the thirty-second  year, ConocoPhillips served as the concert sponsor and lead gala corporate underwriter.

The Story

Entering Jones Hall, the 1,000 guests attending the Opening Night Concert were immediately introduced to the evening’s theme by an impressive 275-key piano. The concert program, led by conductor Gustavo Gimeno, featured dazzling guest pianist Yuja Wang.

After the concert, which included works by Ravel, Barber, and Prokofiev, 400 black-tie-clad attendees continued to the Corinthian for a sumptuous seated dinner catered by Jackson and Company, of which the pièce de résistance was a chocolate piano filled with chocolate mousse and raspberry garnish. Wine pairings, provided by Spec’s Wine, Spirits, & Finer Foods, accompanied the meal.

Taking inspiration from the musical theme, The Events Company swathed tables in black and silver sequined linens and crowned them with centerpieces of black and white vases holding scarlet roses.

The Moments

Jo Dee and Cliff Wright were the lucky winners of the auction of a new Steinway Model M piano signed by Yuja Wang. After dinner, guests partied late into the evening, dancing to the lively music of the Royal Dukes Band.


Margaret Alkek Williams, Ralph Burch, Vicki West, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Cora Sue and Harry Mach, Joella and Steve Mach, Courtney and Bill Toomey, Anne and Albert Chao, Jo Dee and Cliff Wright, Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah, Betty and Jess Tutor, Gina and Devinder Bhatia, Farida Abjani, and Joanne King Herring.


About Houston Symphony

Founded in 1913, the Houston Symphony has played a central role in Houston’s cultural and civic life for more than 100 years and is now one of America's oldest performing arts organizations. Today, the Houston Symphony’s 87 musicians perform approximately 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Its mission is to inspire and engage a large and diverse audience in Greater Houston and beyond through exceptional orchestral and non-orchestral performances, educational programs, and community activities. 

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