Following a Friday afternoon matinee concert on January 23, 1981, nearly one thousand people joined Sir Georg and Lady Valerie Solti for a gala to celebrate the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 90th season. Illinois Governor James Thompson and Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne were in attendance at the event, held in the Grand Ballroom of Chicago’s Palmer House.

Sir Georg not only led the crowd from the piano in singing “Happy Birthday” as scores of candlelit cakes were served by the waiters, but he also enjoyed a stint at the piano with the Stanley Paul Orchestra during the party.