Those involved in the event could not be more excited.
“We are thrilled. It’s an unbelievable draw for Atlanta,” said Tad Hutcheson, who is co-chairing the gala with his wife Janin. “The concert sold out [in late January], just by word of mouth and being on the symphony’s website. We did not have to do any advertising for it. I think it’s the progress of the gala and we’re exceeding the talent each year. It’s a huge draw. The talent is always a key component. ”
Karin Bliznik, the symphony’s associate principal trumpet, is one of its musicians set to perform with Martin and his band, and the Steep Canyon Rangers.
“I’m pretty pumped,” said Bliznik, who will be principal trumpet at the concert. “I feel like every time I mention it, I smile. I can only imagine how fun it’s going to be to perform with Steve Martin. … How often do you get to perform music with a comedian, a famous comedian?”
Martin is known for his decades as an award-winning comedic actor and writer, acting in 56 movies and TV shows and writing for 42 of them, according to Internet Movie Database. The 67-year-old also has written 12 books.
But lately he has been in the spotlight more for his musical talents. In 2002, Martin won a Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance for his banjo playing on Earl Scruggs' "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." Eight years later, he won a Grammy for his debut album, “The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo.”
The Steep Canyon Rangers also have found success. Their 2012 album, “Nobody Knows You,” won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album earlier this month.
Martin was not available for an interview, but in a statement he said, “The Steep Canyon Rangers and I are thrilled to be performing with the Atlanta Symphony, whose members, I understand, secretly play a tight bluegrass version of Shostakovich’s ‘Scherzo’ in E-flat major.”
Though the concert is sold out, tickets to the gala are still available. The event will start with a cocktail reception, then the concert, followed by a seated dinner and an after-dinner lounge party with The Andrew Brothers performing on dueling pianos. The gala also includes live and silent auctions.
The 2012 event raised $550,000, and this year organizers hope to bring in $675,000. It is one of the symphony’s largest annual fundraisers and will benefit its youth orchestra and talent development programs.
“It’s important for the community to support this, not just for the symphony but also the up-and-coming musicians,” Bliznik said. “We just performed with the Lassiter and Walton orchestras this week at Lassiter’s new music hall [in east Cobb].”
She and Tad Hutcheson said the symphony has built on momentum from last year’s gala, which featured actress/singer Bernadette Peters. As for this year?
“It’s going to be a magical evening,” the co-chair said. “We’re really looking forward to it.”
If you go:
o What: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s third annual Symphony Gala
o When: Saturday at 6 p.m.
o Where: Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St., Midtown
o Benefits: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s youth orchestra and talent development program
o Tickets: $45 to $120; patron tickets are $1,000 to $5,000
o Information: visit www.aso.org