April 20, 2016



Oregon Symphony 2016 Gala

The theme for this signature fundraising
event—“Like Never Before”—proves true
as gala contributions
of over $870,000 smash previous record.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) –  When the University of Oregon drum line made a surprise entrance as the finale to the Oregon Symphony Annual Gala on Saturday, April 16, even its driving beat was overpowered by the celebratory confetti canons and thunderous applause from the over 400 patrons in attendance as they learned that they had set an all-time gala fundraising record of $870,645.

The evening began at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, where thousands of the Symphony’s gala patrons and community partners were treated to a free classical concert led by Music Director Carlos Kalmar, sponsored by Umpqua Bank and with additional support from FamilyCare Health. The concert featured two Haydn symphonies, which were recorded for future CD release, in addition to Colin Matthews’ “Machines and Dreams: A Toy Symphony,” for which the orchestra was joined by members of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony.

Between pieces, the 2016 Schnitzer Wonder Award, created by Jordan Schnitzer in honor of his parents, Harold and Arlene Schnitzer, was awarded to Mia Hall Miller. It includes a $10,000 contribution to the nonprofit Pacific Youth Choir, of which Miller is the founding director.

After the concert, gala guests enjoyed cocktails and a three-course meal at the Portland Art Museum. With the gala and the recently announced 2016/17 season sharing the theme “Like Never Before,” the evening’s program highlighted one of next season’s most riveting elements—the Symphony’s SoundSights series, in which the Oregon Symphony marries classical music with visual art. The cocktail hour featured a brief production by Pacific Northwest College of Art Video Animator Rose Bond, who will transform the walls of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall this December with an original video installation to Messiaen’s Turangalîla. The dinner program included the premier of an original video about the work of the orchestra, which now can be viewed at orsymphony.org.

Celebrity guest Michael Curry (of Lion King and Olympics fame) explained his upcoming collaboration with the Symphony onstage. “I’ve traveled around the world with my work,” he said. “And I’ve been looking for just the right opportunity to do something here at home.” Next spring, the Symphony and Curry will collaborate in an original adaptation of Stravinsky’s Perséphone, originally conceived for dance, through 21st century puppetry. “I picked the Symphony because of its reputation for excellence and its plans for pushing new artistic boundaries,” he said.

Production designer Michael Curry with President Scott Showalter
Production designer Michael Curry with President Scott Showalter

The 2016 Oregon Symphony Gala Committee was headed by Honorary Co-Chairs Governor Kate Brown and Jordan Schnitzer, and Gala Co-Chairs Nancy and Mayor Charlie Hales, Renee and Irwin Holzman, and James Lynch and Robby Cunningham.

In his final comments of the evening, Symphony President Scott Showalter pledged that the Symphony “would continue to make beautiful music and a more vibrant community with this generous support.” The evening’s gala proceeds account for approximately 10% of the Symphony’s annual fundraising goal.


Jim Fullan
Vice President/Communications, Marketing, Sales