Dave Matthews Serenades Bankers as Tisch, Rohatyn Women Honoredby
Cuban musicians join Matthews and violinist Joshua Bell
Laurie Tisch helps raise $3.1 million, Rohatyn $500,000
At a Lincoln Center gala that raised $3.1 million Tuesday night, Dave Matthews and Yissy Garcia, a woman drummer with a mohawk, played for Evercore Chief Executive Officer Ralph Schlosstein and Citigroup’s head of corporate and investment banking, Raymond McGuire.
Thank President Obama for giving the bankers the opportunity. After his visit to Cuba, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities sent Matthews and violinist Joshua Bell on a cultural mission to Havana, to drink rum, smoke cigars and play with Cuban musicians.
When Bell came back, he decided to bring the Cubans and Matthews together in New York, and partnered with Lincoln Center to make it happen. Their concert at the Rose Theater became the anchor of Lincoln Center’s Fall Gala, and was taped for broadcast Dec. 16 on PBS as part of the Live from Lincoln Center series.
Bell headlined the first half of the show, a highlight of which was "Para Ti" (for you) by Jorge Gomez. Then Bell ceded the floor to Matthews, who joined Carlos Varela ("the Bob Dylan of Cuba," said Bell) for Varela’s "Muros y Puertas" (Walls and Doors), and performed his own songs, "Samurai Cop" and "Here On Out."
But it was Matthews’ hit "Ants Marching" that everyone will remember for sounding better than ever with Bell and the Cubans on board, including the Chamber Orchestra of Havana, saxophonist Yosvany Terry, pianist Aldo Lopez-Gavilan and drummer Garcia.
Laurie Tisch accepted her honor from Lincoln Center in Spanish and then in English, telling her amigas she’d recently brushed up on a trip to Cuba with other board members.
Meanwhile, guests were at no loss for words when it came to describing her passions for philanthropy, the New York Giants and her grandchildren Dean and Penelope.
"Laurie is stunningly competent," Lincoln Center Chair Katherine Farley said, noting Tisch’s commitment to the Lincoln Center Scholars program, which trains arts teachers for positions in public schools, and her gift to redevelop the campus, resulting in the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Lawn.
Citigroup’s McGuire, who serves with Tisch on the Whitney Museum board, described her as "constructively provocative."
"She’s one of New York’s great philanthropists," said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. "She has a combination of intelligence, savvy and unbridled generosity. She’s a skeptic and an optimist. And she understands -- you don’t solve problems without the world of culture. For justice, we need empathy, and for empathy, we need the arts."
One week before Hillary Clinton may be elected president, perhaps it’s not a surprise that Tisch wasn’t the only woman honored on Tuesday.
Performa’s annual benefit raised $500,000 recognizing art dealer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn for her support of emerging and women artists -- and for sending very short e-mails, said Performa’s founder, RoseLee Goldberg. Like Tisch, Rohatyn was feted with a gesture of cultural diplomacy: South African artist Athi-Patra Ruga, in a golden robe, led a marching band procession in the Altman building.
At the Rainbow Room over lunch, writer Julie Scelfo and illustrator Hallie Heald were celebrated for their new book, "The Women Who Made New York," from Seal Press. It features the Statue of Liberty -- with lipstick and tattoo -- on its cover, and inside, brief profiles of 126 women such as Karen Brooks Hopkins, who helped make a sensation of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the late politician Geraldine Ferraro.
Despite serving as a senator for New York, Clinton is not profiled in the book -- according to the book’s editor, Laura Mazer, Clinton’s influence hasn’t been New York City-specific enough. But the room had its share of guests hopeful for a Clinton victory. Niki Russ Federman of Russ & Daughters, for one, said it would have been nice to schedule the lunch after a Clinton victory, so it too could be celebrated, not fretted over.