Conservatory Gala Gets Jazzy

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Conservatory Gala Gets Jazzy

Like a good neighbor, The San Francisco Conservatory of Music makes a point of sharing its graduates with the nearby Symphony, Opera, and Ballet. Now it is bringing it’s newest Civic Center neighbor into the mix, adding a Jazz education program that will incorporate the work of the SF Jazz Center into its curriculum, and share faculty and performance opportunities. The announcement was the highlight of the Conservatory’s annual Gala, a sumptuous evening that includes a performance, dinner, and dancing to support musical education. The evening also honored early venture capitalist and longtime trustee William K. Bowes, Jr., whose strategic and business acumen was applied to great effect to benefit the Conservatory, as well.   The black tie evening began with cocktails in the building’s foyer, followed by a musical recital and video tribute to Bowes in the Caroline Hume Concert Hall. Students and graduates of the Conservatory performed Paganini, Bizet, and Beethoven, and then the SF Jazz Collective performed a snazzy set to celebrate their new collaboration. Then on to J. Riccardo Benevides’ jazz club-inspired tent perched on Franklin Street, which looked like a snazzy uptown nightclub where a particularly elegant crowd would convene. McCall’s elaborate four-course menu did not disappoint; nobody needs a cheese course, but few declined it, even following the Little Gem salad with bacon, and Lamb prepared two ways, and preceded by a decadent banana bread pudding. A very generous contribution of top-tier Lynmar chardonnay and pinot noir were consumed con brio, as tables filled with longtime friends and admirers of Bill Bowes, and lovers of music, carried the evening along. A dance floor in the middle of the tent lured couples for a cha-cha before heading off into the mellifluous neighborhood, and into the musical night.

Getting jazzed for music scholarships:  Experienced Gala Chairs Barbo Osher and Deepa Pakianathan attended to every detail, ensuring a polished evening from cocktails to conclusion. Board Chair Timothy Foo and Conservatory President David Stull were effusive in their praise of Bowes, whose quiet modesty was in evidence throughout the evening. Performers included Alex Zhou, Mariya Kaganskaya, Alla Gladysheva, Jeremy Denk, and the SFJAZZ Collective, consisting of Miguel Zenon, David Sanchez, Sean Jones, Robin Eubanks, Warren Wolf, Edward Simon, Matt Penman, and Obed Calvaire. Many trustees joined in, including Wichael Whitman, Joshua Rafner, Karen Kubin, Carol Doll, Ann Girard, Lisa Grotts, Nancy Probst, Christian de Bord, Jan Buckley, Louis Belden, Robert Zerbst and Barbara Walkowski. The Gala Committee included many Conservatory stalwarts, including John Leitner, Charlot and Gregory Malin, Susan and Philip Marineau, Jane Mudge, Maurine and Craig Sullivan, and Jan and Jim Buckley. Also tapping their toes:  Anisya and Lynn Fritz of Lynmar Winery, Denise Littlefield Sobel, Nancy Livingston and Fred Levin, Cathie and Pitch Johnson, Beth Townsend, supportive spouses Ute Bowes, Barney Osher, and Phil Marineau, Gretchen Kimball, Frederica von Stade, Nancy and Joachim Bechtle, Dagmar Dolby, Mary and Bill Poland, Rick Walker, Leslie and George Hume, Tom Steyer, Marie-Josee and Kent Baum, Michelle and John Harris, Jan and Jim Buckley, Fannie Allen and George Cogan, and many more who conduct themselves with grace and generosity.

Author: Reid Hudson

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