AMERICAN RUSSIAN YOUNG ARTISTS ORCHESTRA
Auction Helps Create
Music In Two Countries
Story By Roger Webster
Photos by Patrick McMullan
ECEMBER’S icy weather made all New Yorkers feel like they were in Moscow, St. Petersburg or Novgorod, but few got the opportunity to make the best of it like the supporters of the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra (ARYO), who had their 15th anniversary gala at Tavern On The Green.
Henry Luce III and Yuli Vorontsov, former Russian ambassador to the US and UN, were the gala chairs; WQXR’s Gregg Whiteside the emcee; Bard College president and ARYO music director Leon Botstein the keynote speaker; and Rita Mehos the Dinner co-chair along with Stephen de Angelis and Bente Strong.
Los Angeles patron of the arts Richard Colburn was guest of honor.
Founding president Edythe Holbrook, retiring this year, was praised by absolutely everyone, especially chairman John H. Bell, vice chairman Gregory Guroff and her successor Christine Loomis. She was likened to a “Mother Superior” to successive generations of musicians, starting hundreds of them on solid music careers.
Violinist Joshua Bell, who went on ARYO’s first tour of Russia, when he was 22, in 1990, played a piece by Tchaikovsky and a medley by American John Corigliano, from the movie The Red Violin.
Violinist Mikhail Simonyan played a variation on Yankee Doodle, by Henri Vieuxtemps, the same that was playing at the Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg the night Rasputin was killed.
The AMIRUS Players, consisting of violinist Inna Khriplovich, cellist E. Scott Brady and pianist Alexei Podkorytov, wowed the crowd with a “trio” by Dmitri Shostakovich. There were also two amazing trumpeters: Micah Krillion and Sycil Mathai.
Among the 270 lucky guests were three former American ambassadors to Russia: Arthur Hartman, James Collins and Jack Matlock, Jr.; Svetlana Ushakova; Ambassador and Mrs. Heyward Isham; Catherine Reynolds, whose foundation just donated $100 million to the Kennedy Center; Librarian of Congress; Dr. James Billington; Paul Volcker; Consul Pavlovsky; Barbara Haskell, Prince Vladimir and Princess Tatiana Galitzine; Phyllis and Harvey Lichtenstein; Luisa Lopez; William and Louisa Potvin; ARYO Young Chairmen Marc David Miller and Katya Varlamova; Susan Bloom; Peter and Lili Root Bianchi; Alexandre Gertsman; Brian Jorde and Marina Arsenijevic; George, Sr., George, Jr., and Miriam Loomis; Lisa Puchner; Mary and Howard Phipps; Marianne and John Wyman; Hyon Whiteside; Virginia Mancini; Mr. and Mrs. Marc Stern and Erica Zielinski.
There was also a silent auction of a sexy silver fox stole designed by Helen Yarmak. It certainly looked appealing on young flautist Valerie Chermiset, who modeled it during the evening. It was purchased for $6,000 by Dr. James Watson for his wife Elizabeth. Dr. Watson won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1962 as the co-discoverer of DNA.
Alexander and Lisa Katsman won the door prize, a trip to St. Petersburg with a stay at the luxurious Astoria Hotel.
This day, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg had proclaimed American Russian Young Artists Orchestra Day lived up to its promise. Over $160,000 was raised to continue their good work sponsoring worldwide concerts, residencies, a permanent chamber ensemble, and community outreach programs in both countries.