Aileen Mehle and Elton John
Elton John, Cornelia Guest and
Debbie Bancroft, Mario Buatta,
Elton John, Evelyn Lauder,
Elton John Rocks Radio City
To Raise Money For Juilliard
Story by Roger Webster
Photos by Billy Farrell/PMc
LTON JOHN bedazzled a sell-out audience at Radio City Music Hall with a program of 23 songs, backed up by an orchestra of 99 student musicians, under the direction of James Newton Howard, and 62 singers from the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
The finale was a rendition of Elton’s first big hit, Your Song, which he did as a duet with Juilliard alumna Renée Fleming. They raised the roof and brought down the house.
The concert was followed by a benefit dinner for 550 in the Rainbow Room. The dinner, along with 100% of the proceeds from the concert generously donated by Elton, raised $1.3 million for scholarships to be split evenly between the Juilliard School and the Royal Academy of Music, where Elton studied from age 11.
Cornelia Guest and Elton’s partner David Furnish chaired the gala. Honorary chairmen included Cynthia and Dan Lufkin, Lord Jacob Rothschild, and Evelyn and Leonard Lauder.
Other chairs were Juilliard president Joseph Polisi and his wife Elizabeth Marlowe, philanthropist Julia Wallace, our President’s niece Lauren Bush, Joan and Michael Steinberg, MAC Cosmetics president John Demsey, Eva Dillon, Michèle Gerber Klein, Maria Olivia, Jim and Alice Weil Judelson, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Paige Boller and Dr. Howard Sobel, Bettina Zilkha, Kimberly and Steven Rockefeller, Annie Churchill, Gillian and Lydia Hearst-Shaw, Amanda Hearst, and Jill and Robert Zarin.
Among the guests having a blast were Barbara Walters with Joe Armstrong, Prince of Chintz Mario Buatta, Candice Bergen, Tony Award winning costume designer William Ivey Long, Sharon Bush with her daughter Ashley, Frank Langella, Mary Rodgers, Lorraine Bracco, Deborah Norville and Karl Wellner, interior designers Robert Tartarini and Richard Mishaan, New York deputy mayor Patty Harris, Ron Delsener, Ralph Destino, Jr. with Dylan Lauren and fashion designer Gustavo Arango.
Also Audrey and Martin Gruss, Coco Kopelman, Gerald Tsai, William Goodman IV and Christine Schott, Lisa McCarthy, Christine and Stephen Schwarzman, Fred and Carole Guest, Allan Beeber, Amy Hoadley, Ted Chapin, David Greenough, Juilliard's Christopher Mossey and Tony Newman, plus society columnists Aileen Mehle, David Patrick Columbia, Debbie Bancroft, Steven Stolman, Tom Gates, Jeffrey Hirsch, Morgan Goldberg, Joanna Molloy, Jeff Slonim and R, Couri Hay.