Dallas Symphony Orchestra, DSO Gala 2023, Sylvia Elzafon

The DSO 2023 Gala (Photo by Sylvia Elzafon)

The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center was transformed into a Parisian dream Saturday night for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s An Evening in Paris 2023 Gala. Philanthropists, music fans and patrons gathered for DSO’s largest fundraising event of the year. The DSO’s 2023 Gala event was chaired by Kim and Greg Hext, with Diane and Hal Brierley serving as honorary chairs. The French theme was brought to life by Todd Events.

The formal affair treated guests with a champagne wall with bubbles served at the push of a button. The Young Strings trio played the cocktail reception before dinner in the Hart Lobby that featured decor of twinkling Eiffel Towers and a picturesque view of the Paris skyline, including the Seine.

After the meal, DSO’s Ross Perot President and CEO Kim Noltemy, 2023 Gala Chairs Kim and Greg Hext, and Cece Smith, Chair of the Dallas Symphony Association’s Board of Governors welcomed guests in the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall to the event.

“Throughout its history, the Dallas Symphony has been a driving force in developing Dallas’s cultural identity as a vibrant international city,” Noltemy stated. “Now one of the top orchestras in the country, the DSO connects with millions of people locally and around the world each year through concerts, recordings, radio broadcasts, online and TV shows, and education programs.”

She then recognized 2023 Gala sponsors, including Capital One and J.P. Morgan Chase as well as members of the Dallas City Council and several arts community leaders who were in attendance, including Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins and Paul Ridley for their contributions to the community.

“Art and music are an integral part of a well-rounded education, and the educational programming that tonight’s event supports enhances our community and opens doors for our city’s youth,” Hext told the audience after Noltemy spoke. “The Dallas Symphony is one of our city’s greatest treasures.”

Hext introduced Cece Smith, who highlighted the DSO’s education initiatives, including the new Jeanne R. Johnson Education Center, slated to open in Fall 2024.“The Dallas Symphony’s education programs are a bold investment in the future of this city,” Smith said. “We are proud to have one of the most robust instrument training programs in the country, serving more than 900 students each year.”

Of course, what’s a DSO without music? After statements were made, the Gala concert was led byLuisi and Grammy-winning American classical pianist Emanual Ax, and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard in her DSO debut. Selections included pieces by Bizet and Chopin.

The concert, led by Luisi, featured a performance by mezzo Isabel Leonard, who dazzled in selections from Bizet’s Carmen; and a stunning performance of Chopin favorites by pianist Emauel Ax.

The after-party Midnight in Paris featured Parisian macarons and crepes, custom cocktails and a set by Q the Band.

Gallery photos courtesy of DSO by photographers Sylvia Elzafon and Kristina Bowman.

–From staff reports