Acclaimed conductor, pianist and Gershwin specialist Bramwell Tovey (photo courtesy of Bramwell Tovey).

CSO Association to Host "Toast to Gershwin" Gala with Gershwin Specialist Bramwell Tovey 

The League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) will host a “A Toast to Gershwin” a festive benefit event on Friday, March 24 at 5:30 p.m. in Grainger Ballroom at Symphony Center.  The celebration will feature pre- and post-concert receptions and will be presented in conjunction with an All-Gershwin program performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) led by pianist and conductor Bramwell Tovey, music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Toveywill serve as piano soloist for Gershwin’s Foggy Day and Rhapsody in Blue and lead performances of An American in Paris, Catfish Row and the Overture to Strike Up The Band. Tovey, a renowned interpreter of Gershwin’s music, will provide commentary throughout the program, which will be presented again at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25.

Hailed by Musical America as “one of the most versatile and charismatic musicians in the world,” Bramwell Tovey is the Grammy and Juno award-winning music director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Tovey has led some of the world’s top orchestras in the works of Gershwin. Tovey recorded an album of Gershwin songs at the piano with singer Tracy Dahl, and in 2011 made his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) at Tanglewood conducting Gershwin’s opera, Porgy and Bess—the first ever complete performance of the work in the BSO’s history. In the summer of 2014, he performed and conducted Gerswhin’s Rhapsody in Blue at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.“A Toast to Gershwin” is chaired by CSOA League members Margo Oberman and Mary Plauché. The not-to-be-missed celebration and benefit will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Grainger Ballroom with festive pre-concert cocktails, savories and an enticing silent auction that will include premium items such as the one-of-a-kind painted violin featuring a portrait of Riccardo Muti by acclaimed artist Tim Burke and designed by Chicago-based designer Jason Pickleman, as well as VIP travel and CSO concert packages.

Following the 7:30 p.m. CSO concert, guests will return to Grainger Ballroom at 9:30 p.m. to enjoy live music from jazz vocalist Tammy McCann (described as “one of today’s premier jazz stylists” by the Chicago Tribune) and her trio along with irresistible desserts, nightcaps, the silent auction and a visit by Tovey.

Tickets for “A Toast to Gershwin” are $295 for box seats and $250 for prime main floor or lower balcony seats. All benefit tickets include the pre and post-concert activities. Tickets for the benefit can be purchased online at, or by calling 312-294-3161. To purchase tickets to either of the All-Gershwin concerts featuring the CSO and Bramwell Tovey, contact the Symphony Center box office by phone at 800-223-7114 or 312-294 3000; online at, or visit the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60604