Los Angeles Philharmonic Opens its 2011/2012 Season With Herbie Hancock

Mathew Imaging
Herbie Hancock with Los Angeles Philharmonic Association President and CEO Deborah Borda

The jazz pianist makes a special appearance playing Gershwin with conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil

Jazz met clasical music at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sept. 27. For its annual opening night performance and fundraiser, the Los Angeles Philharmonic presented an evening of Gershwin featuring Herbie Hancock improvising Rhapsody in Blue on the piano in concert with the orchestra under the direction of conductor Gustavo Dudamel

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Following the performance, guests—who included Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry, William Shatner, composer John Williams, music producer/songwriter and David Foster —enjoyed a gala dinner in a tented space on Grand Avenue decorated with a 1930s-thirties theme in blue, of course.

Here's what the bold-faced names said about the evening:

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"It was awesome and just so accessible for everyone and the orchestra was amazing," said board member Jane Eisner, there with husband Michael Eisner. When asked how long the young hotshot conductor Dudamel had been with the orchestra, she answered: "Two years. He's now 30 so he’s an old man."

"It was a fantastic combination of Herbie Hancock and the LA Philharmonic was pretty powerful. My wife is on the board so we come fairly regularly both to Disney Hall and the Hollywood Bowl," said Craftsman Films’ Kerry McCluggage.

"It's a very exciting mix of classical music with Herbie Hancock improvising. Anybody who cares about culture should have been here tonight. I think this is a very lovely party too. The food was good and I'm gonna be in bed by 11," said Decades boutique owner and international fashion arbiter Cameron Silver.

“I thought it was the most fabulous evening. This music is so beautiful and this young man [Dudamel] has really brought something to this town. He’s adorable, has a divine wife and he’s cute,” said socialite Betsy Bloomingdale.

"I really really enjoyed Herbie. I felt like he brought something incredibly different to Rhapsody and I don't know if it’s going to be everybody's cup of tea but for me it was really watchin a jazz musician play orchestral music. I leaned into him and that's what he wanted us to do,” said Brothers & Sisters actor Luke Macfarlane