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A glittering Fresno Philharmonic gala

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Bee photographer Craig Kohlruss was on scene Saturday night to photograph some of the Fresno Philharmonic’s most passionate fans at the orchestra’s 60th anniversary gala dinner. Above, conductor Theodore Kuchar visits with Roxie Moradian, one of the founding figures of the orchestra back in 1954. The gala was one of the year’s preeminent social-scene events, and I had fun ducking into the dinner and the dessert reception following the show to chat with some of the city’s philanthropic class.

Craig also got some nice new photos of Kuchar and the orchestra in action, although we weren’t allowed to get any photos of Chang on stage because of a stipulation in her contract. Be sure to check out his excellent photo gallery.

My take on the concert is featured in Monday’s Life section. I thought Sarah Chang’s performance of the Bruch Violin Concerto was full of strength:

There’s a fierceness to Chang as a musician, a sturdy and muscular confidence to her playing, that adds a level of complexity to the image of elegant fashionista crafted these days for so many women players by classical music’s marketing gurus. She tackled the Bruch not with daintiness but a brisk, vehement confidence. During breaks in her part, while the orchestra played, she often dropped her arms completely and held the violin in place with her neck and chin — a pose of strength and certitude.

After the concert, Chang changed out of her dazzling jewel-toned concert gown for a simpler black gown, and she greeted patrons at the dessert reception. I grabbed this photo of her with a family very excited to meet her:

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