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Sizzling evening of jazz makes for an unforgettable 20th annual Symphony at Salk

Over 750 Salk supporters and music lovers were fêted with an unforgettable 20th annual Symphony at Salk on August 29. The event, which sold out weeks in advance, included dinner by acclaimed chef Jeffrey Strauss of Pamplemousse Grille and a sizzling music program featuring the San Diego Symphony, jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli and trumpeter Chris Botti. The event raised over $900,000, which will support Salk's scientific research and education outreach efforts.

Maestro Thomas Wilkins, one of the country's most distinguished conductors, returned to lead the San Diego Symphony for the 11th consecutive year. Wilkins brought an energy and excitement all his own, making him a perennial favorite at Symphony at Salk. Pizzarelli, also a Salk favorite, made his second guest appearance, having first performed at Symphony at Salk in 2008. He opened with a beautiful rendition of "They Can't Take That Away From Me." Leading off the second half of the show was a spectacular performance by Grammy award-winning trumpeter Botti, who left the audience breathless.

Another highlight of the night was a special tribute to Symphony at Salk's longtime honorary chair, Françoise Gilot-Salk. For the past 20 years, Gilot-Salk has contributed one of her paintings for the event's visual theme. Concertgoers had the opportunity to view a colorful display of Gilot-Salk's posters from the past 20 years lining the entrance to the courtyard.

Françoise Gilot-Salk

This magical evening would not have been possible without the support of title sponsor Conrad Prebys and Debra Turner, along with Audrey Geisel, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Liz Keadle, Martina and Daniel Lewis, Becky and Ralph O'Connor and Carole and Jerome Turk, plus a host of sponsors who return each year. All together, it was a stellar night for the Institute, and a wonderful way to celebrate 20 years of this time-honored event.