MTT’s Final Symphony Gala

By Erin Carlson

Atmosphere at San Francisco Symphony Opening Night Gala 2019. (All photos by Drew Altizer Photography)

When I write that literally all of California showed up to the San Francisco Symphony to support Michael Tilson Thomas during his last opening night gala as music director on September 4, I’m joking, but also not: At one point, three of the most powerful players in city, state and national politics joined MTT on stage — SF Mayor London Breed, Governor Gavin Newsom and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, toasting a fellow legend while a performer from Beach Blanket Babylon crooned “San Francisco.”

Afterward, all were doused with confetti. Wait, is MTT the real governor of the Golden State?

The evening was truly a joyous occasion and a fitting farewell to the conductor, who’s retiring after 25 years at the helm. Admirers of MTT arrived at the blowout in droves, dressed to the nines: gala co-chairs Nicole Lacob and Rachael Bowman shined in Oscar de la Renta and custom Schiaparelli. Lacob, the belle of the ball, playfully posed in her dreamy black-and-white confection and mingled with guests alongside her husband, Warriors owner Joe Lacob.

“For the after-party, I had to have a bustle,” Nicole said of pinning up her gown, which had a spectacular 8-foot train. A-listers spotted in the crowd: Mary Beth and David Shimmon; Denise Hale; Joshua Robison; Marissa Mayer; Allison Speer; Vanessa Getty; Katie Traina; Ashley Granata; Damion Matthews; Audrey Cooper; Maria Manetti Shrem and Jan Shrem; Charlotte and George Shultz; Stanlee Gatti; Navid Armstrong; Dede Wilsey; Yurie Pascarella; Kaitlyn and Mike Krieger; Jennifer Siebel Newsom; Amy Tan; Nicole and Kevin Systrom; Aditya Agrawal and Ruchi Sanghvi; Becca Prowda; Gorretti Lo Lui; Paul Pelosi; Leah Garchik; Jack Calhoun; Yves Behar; Rich Silverstein; Nancy Bechtle; Bernard Osher; Lisa Pritzker, Dilara Saatchi and Sako Fisher.

Meanwhile, I was deeply moved by the symphony’s haunting performance of “Shenandoah,” arranged by Gordon Getty.

MTT, you will be missed

Michael Tilson Thomas
Rachael Bowman and Nicole Lacob
John Goldman, Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Gavin Newsom
Bernard Osher and Tilson Thomas
Bob Hill and Dede Wilsey
Denise Hale and Mark Leno
Lindsay Bolton and Alexandra Wells
Jared Silver and Adam Swig
Barbara Brown, Stacey Dobos, Holly Lawson and Lisa Grotts
Yurie and Carl Pascarella
Navid Armstrong and Joel Goodrich
Natasha and Dagmar Dolby with Gretchen De Baubigny
Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue
Paul and Nancy Pelosi
Kirk Seward and Audrey Cooper
Kaitlyn and Mike Krieger
Jeffrey Hays and Carol Shorenstein Hays
Andy and Emilie Lynch

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