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15th Annual Symphony at Salk, Starring Legendary Entertainer Liza Minnelli, Raises Over $1 Million for Research

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It was an unforgettable night of old school song and dance as the incomparable Liza Minnelli took to the stage for the 15th annual Symphony at Salk, held August 28 in the Theodore Gildred Court.

The evening's festivities began with a champagne reception in the spectacular clifftop courtyard, which was still accented with sculptures left behind from April's Chihuly at the Salk exhibit. Before the concert, many guests socialized and perused the items offered in the Symphony at Salk Opportunity Drawing, while others attended an architecture and science talk in the Frederic De Hoffman Auditorium (see below). The reception and lecture were followed by a gourmet dinner specially prepared by award-winning chef Jeffrey Strauss, owner of the critically acclaimed Pamplemousse Grille.

Under the direction of returning guest conductor Thomas Wilkins, the San Diego Symphony helped build the excitement by playing a lively series of Broadway standards that included pieces by George Gershwin and Cole Porter. But from the moment Minnelli took the stage, she owned the evening.

Her versatility shone through as she alternated between somber ballads and animated dance numbers, pouring raw emotion into every song and charming the audience with her exuberance and energy. For the finale, Minnelli belted out her signature song, "New York New York," and then delighted the crowd with a touching encore, "Every Time We Say Goodbye," accompanied by her longtime collaborator, pianist and Grammy-winning composer Billy Stritch.

Most significantly, the sold-out event set a new record, attracting more than 800 people and generating more than $1 million to benefit Salk scientific research and educational outreach programs.

Symphony at Salk: Talking about Science and Architecture

Nearly 100 Symphony at Salk guests convened in the Frederic De Hoffmann Auditorium to attend a fascinating two-part lecture on science and architecture, presented by Salk scientist Greg Lemke and architect Scott Magic. Magic, owner of Scott Magic Architecture and an adjunct faculty member at the NewSchool of Architecture, started things off with a slide show and discussion titled "Building Art for Science—Architecture as an Instrument for Community." Lemke, a professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, followed with a compelling presentation on new discoveries in immune system regulation, explaining how these findings suggest novel therapies for autoimmune disease. The talks were followed by lively Q&A sessions with a fully engaged and enthusiastic audience.