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New Year's Day announcement comes with a plea for more money

  • Donald Green, right, joined by his assistant, Julie Floyd, listen to presentation about the acoustics of Weill Concert Hall during a reception at the Green Music Center on the Sonoma State University campus in Rohnert Park, California, on Sunday, January 1, 2012. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Renowned Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang will perform on opening night at Sonoma State University's long-awaited Green Music Center in September, followed the next day by the Santa Rosa Symphony, college president Ruben Armi?na announced Sunday night.

The announcement, made during a New Year's evening reception in the center's restaurant, also included a familiar refrain from Armi?na about the $120 million project which was first announced in 1997 with the promise of a $10 million contribution by Telecom Valley pioneer Don Green. Armi?na told contributors, whom he called "investors," that more money is needed and they will be asked for additional support.

"We know who you are," he said. "We know where you live."

$12 Million Donation To Green Music Center

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Attending the reception were Green and Joan and Sandy Weill, whose $12 million gift, announced in March, ensured a fall 2012 opening for the music center.

"I think you will see Sonoma State grow and prosper" as the center attracts world-class musicians and large audiences to a varied program of music and dance, said Sandy Weill, a former chief executive of Citigroup and a nationally recognized philanthropist.

The Weills, whose primary residence is in New York, bought a 362-acre estate in the hills west of Sonoma for nearly $31 million in 2010.

Lang, 29, a former child prodigy, will play at the formal opening of the 1,400-seat hall now named for Joan and Sanford I. Weill, on Sept. 29.

Santa Rosa Symphony, the music center's orchestra in residence, will perform on Sept. 30, led by music director Bruno Ferrandis, with appearances by former directors Corrick Brown and Jeffrey Kahane.

More details on the music center's inaugural season will be announced March 5.

Weill said he and his wife "absolutely fell in love with the place" after listening to Lang play there, at their request, at midnight trial run in late 2010.


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