November 27, 2012
Pacific Musical Society annual fund-raising gala on Dec. 2, in the Westin St. Francis Hotel, will honor composer Jake Heggie. The 102-year-old Society's gala will present a program of Heggie songs performed by Frederica von Stade and Nicolle Foland, with Heggie at the piano. Arias and duets by Dvořák, Mozart, and Offenbach follow.
A highlight of the evening is the appearance of winners of the Pacific Musical Annual Competition: cellist Elena Ariza, 14; soprano Julia Metzler, 22, accompanied by Society Vice President and composer/teacher/bell-ringer James Meredith; and pianist Agata Sorotokin, 15.
Founded just four years after the earthquake of 1906, the Society is the oldest active musical organization in the Bay Area. It predates the Symphony, the Opera, and the San Francisco Ballet.
In 1919, the program was created to assist young students in their musical careers with scholarship awards presented each year on a competitive basis.
Beginning with violinist Yehudi Menuhin, the first scholarship winner, and continuing to recognize young artists like cellists Matt Haimovitz and Joseph Lee, the Society has consistently supported outstanding musical talent.
Along the way, a Wagnerian tenor (Jess Thomas); a Tchaikovsky Competition Laureate (pianist Roy Bogas); a Queen Elisabeth Competition winner (pianist Leon Fleisher); a Leventritt International Violin Competition winner (David Abel); a Pulitzer Prize winning composer (David Del Tredici); famous child prodigies (violinist Ruggiero Ricci, pianist Ruth Slenczynska); and a journalist, presidential staff member and U.S. Senator (pianist Pierre Salinger) have won Pacific Musical Society scholarship awards.