In Which We Party With The Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
We're committed to all types of music here at Central Track. Honest. Our team's sonic interests range from 15-year-old suburban rappers to local folk bands, and everything in between. We also care about classical music in a big way.
Hey, stop smirking.
You might think the orchestra is meant for stuffy old people with a lot of money. Turns out this is only half true, as we learned this weekend as we took a trip to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's opening night concert and gala, where we reveled in style.
I'd heard rumors of the fun to be had at the yearly event, but nothing could quite prepare me for what is accurately hailed by some as “the best party of the year.” So, dressed to the nines (the invitation said “cocktail chic,” but dress styles leaned more towards black tie), we shuffled into the atrium at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, which was decked in flowers and mood-lit to high heaven.
Inside the performance hall, the orchestra powered effortlessly through Dvorak's “Symphony No. 9,” by far the composer's most famous composition. The orchestra, conducted by the celebrated Jaap Van Zweden, showed why they deserved all the pomp and circumstance of the evening. They were nearly flawless. It's no surprise, then, that the piece received a much-deserved standing ovation. As my orchestra-virgin guest breathlessly exclaimed: “They were incredible!” Next, Yo Yo Ma, arguably the most famous and decorated cellist of our time, joined the orchestra on stage for Schumann's “Cello Concerto in A Minor.” Ma is nothing short of a virtuoso, and his cello sang above the orchestra, with Van Zweden serving to control volume and flow, leaving Ma to set the tempo and tone of the piece. All parties came together in perfect symbiosis, and, when the last notes hung in the air, the audience exploded in applause. If this performance was to serve as a preview for the rest of the DSO's season, Dallas has good reason to be very, very excited.
And those in attendance at the opening gala showed off their own excitement for the affair by, well, partying. Upon leaving the concert hall, guests discovered the Meyerson center had been transformed into a jewel of after-party opulence.
Open bars dotted the floor. The lines were long but never so bad that one could become frustrated. A champagne-only bar boasted a never-ending outpour of bubbly, flanked by trays of gleaming strawberries. The lobby by the main doors contained no fewer than five dessert tables, though I was disappointed that the advertised “savories” were nowhere to be found. Hey, it's hard to maintain a safe champagne drunk with nothing in your stomach but eclairs.
Tunes were provided by the infamous and eccentric DJ Lucy Wrubel, who didn't suck. She did dance along to her own set quite a lot, though.
But the symphony, which has historically been seen as the apex of class and taste among any major Western city, proved that there's a reason they're so revered.
I've been to all kinds of parties in Dallas before — frat parties, gallery openings, backyard parties and dive bar crawls. Nothing can quite compare to the feeling of being surrounded by folks dressed in their finest, many of whom likely had children sleeping at home while they were here getting absolutely hammered.
Yes, the whole affair was expensive. Yes, the whole thing was excessive.
But, hey, if it only comes once a year, why the hell not?
Put aside any preconceived notion you may have of classical music being stuffy, bougie or just plain boring.
These people, as I learned this weekend, know how to party.
Photo by Andreas Praefcke, via WikiCommons.