Gordon Getty Bravo @ Conservatory of Music




Tout le San Francisco turned out at the SF Conservatory of Music Spring Gala (ably led by Gala co-chairwomen Tamara Fritz and Jan Buckley) to honor one of everybody’s favorite San Franciscans: Gordon Getty.

Philanthropist, vintner, composer and Broadway show-tune aficionado, Getty and his wife, Ann Getty, are longtime and generous supporters of the arts through their Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

But the Conservatory holds a special place in Gordon Getty’s heart as the spot where he studied music theory -- and then went on to create his own song cycles and compositions, including his renowned Plump Jack opera.

In fact, so loyal an alumnus is Getty that when the now 90-something-old Conservatory needed to expand its digs (and basically build an entire new campus across town), Getty was one of the lead benefactors who helped get the $65 mil, state-of-the-art Oak Street campus established.

Getty’s generosity also allowed him to pay tribute to his former Conservatory principal teacher, Sol Joseph, by naming the the new Recital Hall in the teacher’s honor.

Conservatory Trustee Ann Otter, Diane Rubin and Conservatory Board Chairwoman Lisa Miller

The gala kicked-off with cocktails and a concert, hosted by beloved local songbird Frederica von Stade, in the Caroline Hume Concert Hall which featured musical tributes by a number of notables: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, composer Jake Heggie; Conservatory alumni Robin Sutherland (SF Symphony principal pianist), Emil Miland (SF Opera cellist), soprano Lisa Delan (a featured singer on a number of Getty’s recordings) and soprano Marnie Breckenridge; and Conservatory students tenor Eleazar Rodriguez and pianist Rieko Tsuchida.

Selections included vocal works by all the greats: Donizetti, Puccini, Gershwin, Liszt, Heggie and, of course, Getty.

The merry-making continued with a sumptuous McCall Associates supper (starring PlumpJack wines, natch) next door in the Conservatory parking lot which had been elegantly transformed by designer Robert Fountain into tented-type music salon for the 500 gala guests.

Conservatory Trustee Deepa Pakianathan declared the entire gala “sublime.” But her true barometer that the evening really was a hit was indicated by her husband, Phil Pemberton, who is not the biggest fan of black-tie events: “He had a wonderful time!”

Toasting the man of the hour, Jan Buckley turned one of Getty’s signature phrases back on him.

“We salute you with respect and affection for your continued and generous support of the Conservatory,” said Jan Buckley, echoing the sentiment of Conservatory students, teachers, performers and music lovers. “Gordon, dear-heart, we love you!”

Check out the photos below

SFCM President Colin Murdoch, Gala co-chairs Tamara Fritz and Jan Buckely, and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade

SF Opera General Director David Gockely and Linda Kemper

Joachim and Nancy Bechtle


SF Symphony Executive Director Brent Assink and his wife, Jan Assink with Marcia Goldman and her husband, SF Symphony President John Goldman

Dr. Barry Baron and his wife, Connie Goodyear Baron

Marie-Jose Baum and her husband, Conservatory Trustee Kent Baum

Bernard Osher, Denise Hale and Osher Foundation Director David Agger

Jim Meeker and Judge William Newsom

Dale Carlson and his wife, Meagan Levitan


David Hartley, Conservatory Trustee Delia Ehrlich and Jane Hartley


Jan Buckley and SF Opera diction coach Nora Norden


Ann and Charlie Johnson

Dr. James Anthony and his wife, Kris Anthony with Pam Glogau and her husband, Dr. Richard Glogau

Bill and Karen Prezant


Hilary Armstrong and Conservatory Trustee Deepa Pakianathan

Fred Levin and his wife, Nancy Livingston

Cricket Jones and her husband, The Very Rev. Alan Jones

Sally Debenham and Kay Heafey

Therese and Malcolm Post

Robert Fountain-designed dinner tent







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