Rubenstein Fetes Teachers, Italians Fix Organ: D.C. Scene

Carlyle Group LP founder David Rubenstein credits his first-grade teacher for inspiring his love of reading.

She helped him get his first library card. Today he reads ten newspapers a day and three to four books a week.

He was a presenter last night at the Kennedy Center’s “A Standing Ovation for DC Teachers,” where seven local instructors and one principal were saluted for excellence.

Among the other presenters were Lazard Freres Senior Managing Director Vernon Jordan who said he’s still haunted by the admonitions of his English teacher when he writes a letter.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said she was inspired by a nun in her all-girls school to love “algebra and basketball.”

Singer Roberta Flack, a Washington native, said her Sunday School teacher nurtured her interest in music. She performed her hit “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”

The third annual event was hosted by the DC Public Education Fund, which recruits, trains and rewards teachers in Washington.

Rubenstein, FedEx Corp., and Capital One were among the sponsors.

Organ Repair

The Aeolian organ at Villa Firenze, the official residence of Italian Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero, is breathing again after a decades-long hiatus.

Guests including Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer celebrated the organ’s resuscitation with a concert and buffet dinner Friday night.

Emilio Petrone, the chief executive officer of Sisal SpA, paid 60,000 euros ($80,000) for the repair of the organ, which hasn’t been used since the Italian government bought the house in 1976.

Organist Jeremy Filsell played tunes by Italian composers Girolamo Frescobaldi and Ottorino Respighi. He ended with Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.”

Jacqueline Badger Mars of Mars Inc., who attended the recital, also ventured out Thursday night to the Washington Winter Show, an annual antiques and fine-arts fundraiser for local charities.

‘Sporting Life’

This year’s theme was “the sporting life.” Paintings of hunting scenes and equine luxuries abounded at American University’s Katzen Arts Center.

Event sponsor PNC Bank was represented by regional president Michael Harreld, who said he and his wife collect English antiques.

The Louisville native is no stranger to the horsey set. A racing enthusiast, Harreld was involved in the Kentucky Derby “for 37 years straight.”

He chatted with French Ambassador Francois Delattre -- he and his wife are the show’s honorary diplomatic chairmen -- who revealed he was “exhausted” after moving his family into a new home. His official residence is undergoing extensive renovations.

He was joined by compatriot Menehould de Bazelaire, the director of cultural heritage for Hermes, Paris.

(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

Muse highlights include Jeffrey Burke on books, Robert Heller on music.