- The Washington Times - Friday, April 25, 2008

An aura of old-school diplomatic charm permeated the home of Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy and his wife Fatma as the couple hosted Young

Concert Artists’ annual benefit Monday night. The imposing gray stone mansion on Sheridan Square has been the site of quality musical performances ever since its original owner, industrialist Edward Hamlin Everett, hosted famous opera stars and concert pianists there in the years after World War I.

That tradition continued when Turkey purchased the house in 1936, Mr. Sensoy told guests, reminding them that jazz-loving Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, the son of one of his predecessors, is still fondly remembered for organizing “the first integrated weekly jams” in Washington there in the 1940s. “We’ve followed the same tradition since then,” he said before introducing three musicians, violinist Tim Fain, pianist Benjamin Hochman and Turkish cellist Efe Baltacigil, whose splendid predinner concert featured selections from Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn.

Benefit co-chairwomen Didi Cutler and Aniko Gaal Schott helped welcome philanthropically minded music lovers who included the ambassadors of Colombia and Morocco, Calvin and Jane Cafritz, Gilan Tocco Corn, Mary Mochary, Lisa Pumphrey, Pamela and Mike Peabody, Richard and Shannon Fairbanks, Ann Nitze, former Swedish Ambassador Henrik and Nil Liljegren (he is now working for Saab Technologies here), YCA founder Susan Wadsworth and Princess Sarvenaz Pahlavi, a niece of the late Shah of Iran who lived in Washington 20 years ago.

The most enchanting presence? Definitely Roberta McCain, who delighted guests with tales of her tireless exploits on the campaign trail on behalf of her son, Sen. John McCain. “I’m doing an event for him every other day,” the elegant and ebullient nonagenarian said. “I go wherever they need me to go.”

Kevin Chaffee

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