Boston Conservatory Gala Raises $763k

September 1, 2017

Berklee President Roger H. Brown (center) and Boston Conservatory at Berklee President Richard Ortner (right) awarded actor Alan Cumming an Honorary Master of Arts Degree during a gala celebration at Boston’s Symphony Hall.

Kelly Davidson

Boston Conservatory at Berklee celebrated its 150th anniversary with a once-in-a-lifetime gala on May 9. Guests at Boston’s iconic Symphony Hall were treated to stunning dance, musical, operatic, and theater performances by current students, alumni, and faculty members. The evening made history by raising a record-breaking $763,000 in support for student scholarships and to sustain the Conservatory’s tradition of artistic excellence.

Actor and activist Alan Cumming performed alongside students and served as master of ceremonies. In the course of the evening, Cumming received an honorary doctorate of arts degree from Boston Conservatory. Notable performances included violinist and faculty member Markus Placci G.P.D. ’04, A.D. ’06, soprano Vanessa Becerra MM ’14, dance faculty member Kurt Douglas BFA ’02, and Broadway actress Alysha Umphress BFA ’04. Famed singer, conductor, and philanthropist Plácido Domingo surprised guests with a pretaped video appearance, and current students paid tribute to beloved conservatory President Richard Ortner, who retired in June 2017 after leading the conservatory for nearly 20 years.

The 150th Anniversary Gala was cochaired by Cynthia and Oliver Curme and Gregory E. Bulger and Richard J. Dix. The Boston Conservatory at Berklee is especially grateful to headliner sponsor Marillyn Zacharis, and VIP table hosts Gregory E. Bulger and Richard J. Dix, Cynthia and Oliver Curme, Pamela S. Kunkemueller, and Martin and Tristin Mannion for their generosity. AE Events designed this special celebration.

This article appeared in our alumni magazine, Berklee Today Fall 2017. Learn more about Berklee Today.
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