YCA’s 62nd Annual Gala Benefit Kickoff

Yvonna Russell
4 min readFeb 27
Paul Sekhri, Chairman, Young Concert Artists Board of Directors, Deborah Borda, Daniel Kellogg, President, YCA

Imagine the life of a young musician with just your instrument, talent and training to share with the world. Since 1961 the Young Concert Artists (YCA) has discovered and launched the careers of exceptional, but unknown, young musicians from all over the world. Making the impossible possible YCA opens doors to the international concert world empowering the future of classical music.

Annaliese Soros, Reception Host and YCA Board of Directors, Paul Sekhri, Daniel Kellogg

Paul Sekhri, chairman of Young Concert Artists (YCA) board of directors hosted a delightful invitation only evening to officially kickoff YCA’s 62nd Annual Gala Benefit, which will feature performances by YCA alumni Carter Brey, Jeremy Denk, Karen Gomyo, George Li, Anne-Marie McDermott, and current YCA artists Steven Banks, Joseph Parrish and Nina Shekhar. The upcoming gala will be held in the spring on the evening of Monday, May 8th at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Columbus Circle.

Emanuel Ax and Beatrice Francais, YCA Board of Directors

The intimate reception was held at the lovely (YCA) Board Member Annaliese Soros’ residence in Manhattan on the evening of Wednesday, February 22nd. Her beautiful home was the perfect setting of glamour and artistry. Annaliese is the supporter of The Annaliese Soros Educational Residency Program which creates future classical music lovers with educational activities for children.

Deborah Borda, President and CEO, The New York Philharmonic and Lun Li, 2022 YCA Susan Wadsworth International Auditions Frist Prize Winner

Daniel Kellogg, YCA President, greeted guests who included some of their esteemed Gala Co-Chairs including Oscar Tang and Barbara Tober as well as YCA board members Beatrice Francais, Linda and Paul Gridley, Judith Pisar, Judith Schlosser, Anthony DiResta, as well as musical patrons Carole Bailey French and John French III, Ilse Melamid, Joanna Fisher, Danielle Rossi and Jeffrey Hirsch, and Shining Sung.

Classical music supporters and their guests braved the grey weather happy to be sipping Veuve Clicquot champagne, fine wines and nibbling on hors d’oeuvres of quail eggs topped with caviar, tuna tartare, mini smoked salmon sandwiches and feuilleté de foie gras at the reception before the real treat a live performance.

Paul Sekhri, Carole and John French III

The entrancing performance featured a short concert by Grammy award winning recording and touring artist Emanuel Ax and violinist and YCA artist Lun Li. Li brilliantly played Enescu’s “the Fiddler” and Schubert/Ernst “Der Erlkonig” on a recently acquired Stradivarius violin. As Ax made his way to the baby grand piano, he waxed warmly and generously about how 50 years ago Young Concert Artists was vital to starting his career. The world renown classical pianist Emanuel Ax majestically performed two Schubert pieces (also Liszt transcriptions).

Judith Pisar, Deborah Borda, Paul Sekhri, Susan Wadsworth

He reminisced that he had “known Deborah Borda almost as long as Young Concert Artists.” “We both love pianists and the (NY) Giants!” Borda added. The evening’s guest of honor Deborah Borda will be the Young Concert Artists’ 2023 Gala Honoree. Linda and Mitch Hart President and CEO, New York Philharmonic, Deborah Borda is well known in the the classical music world. Ms. Borda has held the position in the C-suite as she has created a powerful future for young musicians and building up two incredible organizations (New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic). Most recently she boldly reimagined Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center under her tenure.

Michael Ambler, Paul Gridley, (both YCA board) and Marsha Ambler

YCA has discovered and launched the careers of extraordinary musicians including Emanuel Ax, Jeremy Denk, Murray Perahia, Richard Goode, Pinchas Zukerman, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Julia Bullock, Randall Goosby and Dawn Upshaw. The crown jewel of (YCA) programs, the Young Concert Artists Series builds new audiences in New York, at Zankel Hall at Carnegie with special events at Lincoln Center, and in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center.

John French III and Oscar L. Tang

The Young Concert Artists 62nd Annual Gala Benefit promises to be an exceptional evening with a chamber music festival to amplifying the voices of emerging extraordinary young musicians while empowering the future of classical music.

Yvonna Russell

Writer. I cover the arts, good causes and style. Will work for coffee, wine and Manolo Blahniks.