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Orchestra of St. Luke's Gift of Music Gala Sets New Fundraising Record

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Orchestra of St. Luke's Gift of Music Gala Sets New Fundraising Record

Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) raised a record-setting $1.13 million at its annual Gift of Music gala at The Plaza Hotel on Monday, March 24, 2014. Funds raised at the gala benefit the artistic and Community & Education programs of OSL, one of America's most versatile orchestras, as well as The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, New York City's first and only space dedicated to classical music rehearsal, recording, and education.

The gala was held in The Plaza's Grand Ballroom, which was transformed with beautiful, over-sized arrangements of lush ferns and cherry blossoms, Chinese porcelain vases and tableware, and glowing candlelight. The décor was designed by OSL board member and event designer David Monn. Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor and director David Hyde Pierce hosted the Gift of Music gala, sharing touching and humorous stories about personal experiences with OSL. He most recently attended rehearsals for OSL's performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis at Carnegie Hall. Pierce introduced OSL's musical performance for the evening-led by Principal Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado-which featured star soprano Angela Meade in Mozart and Catalani arias, as well as selections from Mozart's Idomeneo. OSL also performed Strauss waltzes to accompany dancing-a longtime tradition at Gift of Music galas.

OSL presented awards to dancer, choreographer, and director Mark Morris and extraordinary OSL patrons Emme and Jonathan Deland. "There was a wonderful feeling of warmth and enthusiasm in the Grand Ballroom as we celebrated our honorees, who have made such significant contributions to our artistic community," says OSL President and Executive Director Katy Clark. "Mark has staged some of the most remarkable dance productions of our time, and OSL deeply admires his unwavering commitment to live music. Emme and Jonathan are beloved patrons of our orchestra, dedicating their time, expertise, and resources to many areas of the organization, from development to education. We're so grateful that Orchestra of St. Luke's calls these remarkable individuals our friends."

Mark Morris formed the Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG) in 1980, and has since created close to 150 works for the company. He has directed and choreographed 18 ballets since 1986 and his work has been performed by companies worldwide. His collaborations with OSL span more than two decades and include Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet at Lincoln Center and performances at the Mostly Mozart Festival, among others. Morris also works extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, English National Opera, and The Royal Opera.

Noted for his musicality, Morris has been described as "undeviating in his devotion to music" (The New Yorker). He began conducting performances for MMDG in 2006 and has since conducted at The International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Lincoln Center, and BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). Morris was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation in 1991, and has received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement (2007) and the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society (2010). He opened the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn in 2001 to provide a home for his company, rehearsal space for the dance community, outreach programs for children and seniors, and dance classes for students of all ages and abilities.

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