San Francisco Conservatory of Music Gala 2015

Performance by the Punch Brothers -- Gabe Richard, Chris Eldridge, Paul Kowert, Chris Thile, Noam Bikelmy

The elegant and entertaining San Francisco Conservatory of Music Gala on March 23rd kicked off a full week of red carpet style events! The Conservatory‘s black-tie gala featuring dinner with world-class musicians on Monday night was followed by the Erdem fall/winter 2015 fashion show and benefit event for San Francisco Opera on Tuesday night. Next came Gentry‘s Silicon Valley philanthropy awards, and finally, on Friday, the Mid-Winter Gala at the Legion of Honor.

The Conservatory Gala evening featured music, dinner and dancing for 300 guests on the school’s campus at 50 Oak Street in San Francisco. The event paid tribute to Conservatory alumni who enjoy international acclaim as major artists on the world’s most celebrated stages. Metropolitan Opera soprano Elza van den Heever (2004) joined lauded collaborative pianist Warren Jones (1977) for a selection of dazzling opera arias. Trombonist Achilles Liarmakopoulos (2006) returned to SFCM to play with his quintet, the renowned Canadian Brass. Performances by remarkable students from SFCM’s Pre-College and Collegiate Divisions rounded out the program in the Caroline H. Hume Concert Hall. Dinner followed in an elaborate tent designed by Riccardo Benavides. Chris Thile and his progressive bluegrass band the Punch Brothers surprised guests with a performance in the tent as dinner was winding down.

Scenes from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Gala co-chaired by Sue Marineau and Deepa Pakianathan:

Photos by Drew Altizer Photography

The 2015 Conservatory Gala marked one year since SFCM President David H. Stull announced his bold strategic plan for the Conservatory’s second century with initiatives that support students’ artistic, intellectual and professional growth. Since then, the school has launched a new major in scoring and sound design for film, video games and media, featuring state-of-the-art technology and an all-star roster of visiting industry artists and academic faculty. SFCM has attracted national attention for hosting The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, a symposium involving top music critics, major Bay Area arts organizations and student writers from five schools, and the New Music Gathering, a conference dedicated to creating, performing and supporting contemporary music. SFCM also announced plans to house students next fall at The Panoramic, a brand new, sustainably designed high-rise just three blocks from campus that it will share with students of the California College of the Arts.

Founded in 1917, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is the oldest conservatory in the American West and has earned an international reputation for producing musicians of the highest caliber.

— Related — More Red Carpet Bay Area coverage of San Francisco Conservatory of Music gala events: 20142013201220112010 and 2009.