New World Symphony's Grand Opening Gala Raises More Than $2 Million With Concert, Dinner, and After-Party

By Mitra Sorrells February 4, 2011, 12:43 PM EST

Photo: Juerg Schreiter fo

New World Symphony Grand Opening Gala
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A week of celebrations for Miami’s New World Center, the Frank Gehry-designed home of the New World Symphony, ended Saturday with a grand opening gala attended by 462 people. The nearly seven-hour party raised $2.17 million for symphony fellowships and community engagement programs.
While most of the evening took place inside the stunning $160 million building, the dinner was served on the adjacent Mary and Howard Frank Plaza, inside a transparent-top tent created by EventStar that gave guests views of the building and the night sky. Karla Conceptual Event Experiences suspended pendant chandeliers from the center of the tent and used floral boxes for centerpieces to reflect the clean lines of the concert hall.

“My thinking was architectural. I have a huge respect for Frank Gehry, so I wanted to bring the architecture from the gardens and the building into the tent,” said designer Karla Dascal.

The planning team chose to use blue for the decor because it is the symphony’s branding color and is used throughout the building in furniture and lighting. The evening began with guests arriving on a blue carpet, followed by cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from Thierry’s Catering. Next they moved into the 30,000-square-foot performance hall for a concert featuring Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” led by the symphony’s co-founder and artistic director, Michael Tilson Thomas.

Following the concert, guests entered the tent for dinner. Dascal used cymbidium orchids injected with blue color in each of three different tablescapes that decorated the 45 rectangular 10-top dining tables. The menu included entrées of filet mignon with peppercorn glaze and saikyo-miso-marinated black cod with wasabi-scented lace.

Starting at 10 p.m., 200 more guests who had purchased tickets just for the after-party began to arrive. Entertainment for the second half of the evening included a performance by actress and singer Audra McDonald and dancing to the music of the George Tandy Band.

The evening ended at 1 a.m. with commemorative gifts including 450 custom-made crystal flags by Baccarat etched with an original image created for the gala. As guests picked up their cars from the valet, they found Nespresso chocolates and a copy of symphony co-founder Lin Arison’s latest book inside.

Correction: This story has been updated to indicate EventStar created the custom tent.

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