San Francisco Performances (SFP) has announced plans for its 36th Season Gala, which will celebrate the opening of the 2015–16 season and the return to the newly renovated Herbst Theatre. Co-chairs will be Natalie Wade and Thomas Beischer; and the format will be a cocktail reception followed by dinner, a fund-a-need drive, and a concert. This year’s concert will feature two major jazz musicians, vocalist Luciana Souza and pianist and composer Edward Simon.
The gala is SFP’s premiere fundraising event and all proceeds directly benefit programs that increase participation in the arts and expose new audiences to many of today’s great performers. Through successful partnerships with artists, Bay Area schools and community organizations, SFP has supplemented its multiple concert series by establishing one of the most recognized and respected performing arts education programs in the country. Anchored by the artist residency program that brings artists into classrooms and community workshops, the arts education projects help expose new audiences, young and old, to the great performers of our time. SFP outreach promotes active engagement with the performing arts, deepening the experience while opening events to diverse audiences.
Souza will be the first artist in the 2015–16 SFP Jazz Series, opening that series at the end of January. She was an active participate in SFP outreach events, serving as Jazz Artist-in-Residence between 2005 and 2010; and January will mark her seventh appearance in the Jazz Series. While she was born in Brazil, her musical interests extend beyond the boundaries of her native land. Her last SFP appearance in March of 2013 included selections from her album Book of Chet, in which she used her vocalizations to cover Chet Baker’s trumpet solos.
Simon grew up in Venezuela surrounded by the sounds of Latin and Caribbean music. He came to New York in 1989. His performances attracted considerable attention, particularly from major jazz musicians such as Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Mann, and Paquito D’Rivera. In 2010 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and he now leads the Edward Simon Trio.
This year the Gala will take place on Friday, October 16. The cocktail reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The venue will be the Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchants Exchange Building. This is at 465 California Street in the Financial District, and the ballroom is on the fifteenth floor. Black tie is optional, and valet parking will be available. Individual tickets start at $400, and full table sponsorships begin at $4000. Ticket purchases are being handled only by Emma Lundberg, who may be reached through electronic mail or by calling 415-677-0326.