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Most Successful Feast Ever

Gala nets more than $600,000.

NEC’s Feast of Music Raises Net of $600,000, 52 Student Scholarships in School’s Most Successful Gala

425 Guests Attended Viennese-themed Event at Fairmont Copley Plaza

Menu Designed by Celebrity Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner

Feast Co-Chairs, Chef GutenbrunnerFeast Co-Chairs, Chef GutenbrunnerNew England Conservatory is celebrating the most successful Feast of Music in its history.  The annual event, which took place February 25 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, attracted 425 guests, and brought in net proceeds of more than $600,000 or enough to fund 52 scholarships.  A  unique format pairs alternating courses of spectacular cuisine and fine wines, with virtuoso musical performances by NEC students.

The gala was chaired by Trustee Joseph Bower and his wife Elizabeth Potter of Cambridge; Joan Yogg and her husband Michael Yogg of Wellesley; Visitor Deborah Hanley and her husband Frank McGuire of Beacon Hill (in photo right with Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner).

Prep Violinists Play KreislerPrep Violinists Play KreislerAmong the highlights of the evening was a menu of updated Austrian dishes designed by acclaimed Austrian Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner of New York’s Café Kristall, Wallsé, Café Sabarsky in the Neue Gallerie, and Blaue Gans. The courses included a smoked trout crepe tart with horseradish, chestnut soup with Armagnac prunes, venison goulash, and Apple Strudel “Café Sabarsky.” The dishes were accompanied by Austrian wines including Zweigelt, Dornenvogel, Glatzer 2009; and Gruener Veltliner, Kammerner Heiligenstein, Hirsch 2009.

Musical selections ranged from Johann Strauss II’s Tritsch-Tratsch Polka in a bravura arrangement for piano by Georges Cziffra; three Fritz Kreisler virtuoso violin pieces (in photo l to r: Sharon Kim, Francesca Bass, pianist Jung A Bang, and Olivia Kim), and excerpts from Die Fledermaus and Der Rosenkavalier, as well as Contemporary Improvisation segments based on Schubert's An die musik and the film music from The Third Man.

At the after-party, guests danced to Strauss waltzes performed by chamber orchestra directed by student conductor Andres Lopera.

Consul General Peter Brezovszky, Tony Woodcock ToastAustrian Consul General Peter Brezovszky, Tony Woodcock ToastA highlight of Feast is the spectacular silent auction, which offers bidders an opportunity to extend the pleasures of the evening through a variety of luxurious prizes. This year's auction items included Sacher Torte, tickets to the Vienna Staatsoper, and behind-the-scenes restaurant tours, among others. Two showstoppers at the auction were a dinner for ten offered by Chef Gutenbrunner that sold for $20,000 and an operatic evening in the winning bidder’s home presented by Metropolitan Opera and Seattle Opera bass-baritone Greer Grimsley that sold for $10,000. Total proceeds from the auction were $47,000.

Corporate sponsors for the evening included: Aramark, Baupost, Bloomingdale’s, Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Coca Cola, EM Duggan, Granite City Electric, Loews Corporation, One Step Forward Educational Foundation, RELCO, Ropes & Gray, Sullivan McLaughlin (Sully Mac), The Mentor Network, Thorbahn, and Tishman.

Photos by Andrew Hurlbut


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory in Boston, MA offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, contemporary improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Programs and Partnerships Program, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music, jazz, and contemporary improvisation.

NEC presents more than 900 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, century-old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz, contemporary improvisation, and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre or Paramount Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115