Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta, 70th anniversary celebrations
Charles Bronfman Auditorium (Heichal Hatarbut), home of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Tel Aviv
Zubin Mehta conducting
the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra
at the Jamshed Bhabha Theater (NCPA) in Mumbai
Bronisław Huberman

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (abbreviation IPO; Hebrew: התזמורת הפילהרמונית הישראלית, ha-Tizmoret ha-Filharmonit ha-Yisre'elit), formerly Palestine Orchestra, is the leading symphony orchestra in Israel.


From Palestine Orchestra to Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (1936–1948)

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was founded as the Palestine Orchestra by violinist Bronisław Huberman in 1936, at a time when many Jewish musicians were being fired from European orchestras. Its inaugural concert took place in Tel Aviv on December 26, 1936, and was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Its first principal conductor was William Steinberg.

Its general manager between 1938 and 1945 was Leo Kestenberg; like many of its members, he was a German Jew forced out by the Nazi rise to power and persecution of Jews. During the Second World War the orchestra performed 140 times before Allied soldiers, including an 1942 performance for soldiers of the Jewish Brigade at El Alamein. At the end of the war it performed in recently liberated Belgium. In 1948, after the creation of the State of Israel, the orchestra was renamed as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Since 1948

In 1958, the IPO was awarded the Israel Prize, in music, being the first year in which the Prize was awarded to an organization.[1]

The IPO enjoys frequent international tours, and has performed under some of the world's greatest conductors, including Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Mehta, both of whom are prominent in the orchestra's history. Bernstein maintained close ties with the orchestra from 1947, and in 1988, the IPO bestowed on him the title of Laureate Conductor, which he retained until his death in 1990. Mehta has served as the IPO's Music Advisor since 1968. The IPO did not have a formal music director, but instead "music advisors", until 1977, when Mehta was appointed the IPO's first Music Director. In 1981, his title was elevated to Music Director for Life.[2] Kurt Masur is the IPO's Honorary Guest Conductor, a title granted to him in 1992. Gianandrea Noseda is Principal Guest Conductor, a role previously occupied by Yoel Levi.

With Mehta, the IPO has made a number of recordings for Decca. Under the baton of Bernstein, the IPO also recorded his works and those of Igor Stravinsky. The IPO has also collaborated with Japanese composer Yoko Kanno in the soundtrack of the anime Macross Plus.

As of 2006, the composers whose works have been most frequently performed by the IPO were Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Dvořák. The initial concerts of the Palestine Orchestra in December 1936, conducted by Toscanini, featured the music of Richard Wagner.[3] However, after the Kristallnacht pogroms in November 1938, the orchestra has maintained a de facto ban on Wagner's work, due to that composer's antisemitism and the association of his music with Nazi Germany.[4]

The Secretary-General of the orchestra is Avi Shoshani. The IPO has a subscriber base numbering 26,000.[5] Commentators have noted the musically conservative tastes of the subscriber base,[6] although the IPO is dedicated to performing new works by Israeli composers, such as Avner Dorman.

Musical Advisors/Music Directors

Boycott controversies

The orchestra's performance in London on September 1, 2011 was disrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters. The concert was part of the BBC Proms. The radio broadcast was interrupted, but the concert was broadcast again a few days later.[7] The orchestra's secretary-general Avi Shoshani declared to London's The Times newspaper that the orchestra was unlikely to ever perform in the UK again.[8] Nobody was prosecuted for the disruptions, partly because the management of the Royal Albert Hall, where the concert took place, declined to cooperate with a group of Israel-supporting lawyers.[9]

American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (AFIPO) is a non-profit organization dedicated to sustaining the financial future of the Israel Philharmonic. Necessitated by the lack of substantial Israeli government subsidy or endowment for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, AFIPO's purpose was crystallized in 1980 through the joint vision of Fredric R. Mann and Zubin Mehta, who created an endowment fund in the United States to ensure the IPO's future. AFIPO seeks to broaden the reach of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and bring its message through music throughout the world. The monies raised by AFIPO are directed towards a fund which assists with the operational support of the orchestra and its musical education programs throughout Israel. Based in New York, the organization cultivates support for the Orchestra by hosting events and encouraging supporters all over North America to contribute to the Israel Philharmonic, a cultural ambassador of the state of Israel.

See also


  1. "Israel Prize recipients in 1958 (in Hebrew)". Israel Prize Official Site. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010.
  2. Davidson, Justin (2007-01-28). "His Life's Work: Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic". Newsday. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  3. Hilferty, Robert (2007-01-29). "Facing the Wagner Question". New York Sun. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  4. Walsh, Michael (1992-01-13). "The Case of Wagner – Again". Time. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  5. Lasserson, David (2006-12-21). "And the Orchestra Played On". Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  6. Erlanger, Steven (2007-01-30). "A Country's Cultural Centerpiece Comes Calling". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  7. Marcus Dysch (2011-09-02). "Anti-Israel protesters disrupt BBC Proms". The Jewish Chronicle. United Kingdom. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
  8. Neil Fisher (2012-01-03). "We represent the country the minute we go on stage". The Times. United Kingdom.
  9. Simon Rocker (2012-02-23). "No prosecution in Israel Proms disruption". The Jewish Chronicle. United Kingdom. Retrieved 2012-03-03.

External links

Wikinews has related news: Proms performance by Israel Philharmonic Orchestra disrupted
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