More than 400 well-dressed guests arrived at Severance Hall for the annual Cleveland Orchestra Gala. The night started at 6 p.m. with a performance by the Cleveland Orchestra, directed by Franz Welser-Möst, which featured selections from Richard Strauss’s “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme” as well as a suite from his “Opera Der Rosenkavalier.” After a standing ovation the crowd left the concert hall to attend the cocktail hour held in the Grand Foyer and Terrace. The night was warm and light-infused as only September evenings can, while guests mingled on the Terrace.
The 2019 Honorary Gala Chairs were Norma Lerner, Nancy W. McCann, Beth E. Mooney, and Richard Smucker. Their leadership, along with the generosity of attendees, resulted in more than $1.2 million raised, in support of the Cleveland Orchestra’s education programs.
After Cocktail Hour the guests returned to the concert hall where decadently laid tables filled with arrangements of orchids and lilies were set up on the stage, on a platform over the Orchestra level seating and in the boxes. Dinner was catered by executive chef Douglas Katz of fire food & drink. The First Course was a Borscht Salad, followed by an entrée of Burgundy Wine and mushroom braised organic chicken thighs with parsnip and rutabaga puree, glazed carrots and leeks, local shitakes and ice spinach. Dessert was a warm toffee pudding cake with apple cranberry compote and whipped cream.
During dinner it was announced to the crowd that Franz Welser-Möst will remain Music Director till 2027 with a new five-year contract. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALANA CLARK