Inside the Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra Gala

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Left to Right: Sylvia Hemingway, Ivan Fischer, Libby Pataki, Vera Blinken, Ambassador Donald Blinken, Daisy Soros, Governor George Pataki. Photo © Annie Watt

The Friends of the Budapest Festival Orchestra held their annual gala at Carnegie Hall last Saturday evening. Ambassador and Mrs. Donald Blinken, Renée Fleming, and Governor and Mrs. George Pataki were the honorary chairs. The evening began with cocktails and a dinner in the Weill Music Room.

Maestro Iván Fischer made a dramatic entrance direct from a rehearsal and warmly greeting his old friend and chairman emeritus, Daisy Soros. At dinner, chairman Stephen Benko said, “We have so much to celebrate here. A return to Carnegie Hall is always special. Tonight will be stunning,” followed by a warm and effusive Maestro Fisher, “I would like to hug everybody in this room. It is wonderful to be among our American friends. All of you should be mentioned tonight…”

The evening’s co-chairs were Sylvia Hemingway, Heidi-Lee-Komaromi, Christine Schott Ledes, Laine Siklos, and Stephanie Stokes.

Guests included: Susan Bender, Layla Diba, Martin Hoffman, Sylvia Hemingway, Noémi and Michael Neidorff, Alexandra Nicklas, Reni Rothschild, Sana Sabbagh, Donald and Barbara Tober, Suzanne Vega and Paul L. Mills, and Victoria Wyman.

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Photo © Annie Watt

The evening’s gala committee included: Ambassador Colleen Bell, Susan Bender, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Buckfire, Aaron Feinstein, Andrew Komaromi, Mr. and Mrs. John Merey, Peter Thomas Roth, Emese Tardy-Green, and David Tobey.

The Budapest Festival Orchestra will return to New York August 4th for the Mostly Mozart Festival. Friends will be invited to the annual private Hamptons Summer Chamber Concert. The Orchestra will also perform at the Hollywood Bowl July 30, August 1st and 6th.

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