The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (abbreviation IPO; Hebrew: התזמורת הפילהרמונית הישראלית, ha-Tizmoret ha-Filharmonit ha-Yisre'elit) is an Israeli symphony orchestra based in Tel Aviv. Its principal concert venue is the Charles R Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv.
From Palestine Orchestra to Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (1936–1948)
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The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was founded as the Palestine Orchestra by violinist Bronisław Huberman in 1936, at a time of the dismissal of many Jewish musicians from European orchestras. Its inaugural concert took place in Tel Aviv on December 26, 1936, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Its first principal conductor was William Steinberg.
Its general manager between 1938 and 1945 was Leo Kestenberg, who, like many of the orchestra members, was a German Jew forced out by the rise of Nazism and the persecution of Jews. During the Second World War, the orchestra performed 140 times before Allied soldiers, including a 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.
Particular conductors notable in the history of the orchestra have included Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Mehta. 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 became 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. In December 2016, the Israel Philharmonic announced that Mehta is to conclude his tenure as music director as of October 2019. Principal guest conductors of the orchestra have included Yoel Levi and Gianandrea Noseda.
With Mehta, the IPO has made a number of recordings for Decca. With Bernstein, the IPO recorded his own works and works of Igor Stravinsky, for Deutsche Grammophon. The IPO has also collaborated with Japanese composer Yoko Kanno in the soundtrack of the anime Macross Plus.
The initial concerts of the Palestine Orchestra in December 1936, conducted by Toscanini, featured the music of Richard Wagner. 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.
The Secretary-General of the orchestra is Avi Shoshani. The IPO has a subscriber base numbering 26,000. Commentators have noted the musically conservative tastes of the subscriber base, although the IPO is dedicated to performing new works by Israeli composers, such as Avner Dorman.
In 2007, Lahav Shani first appeared with the IPO as guest soloist. Starting in October 2013, he appeared as guest conductor with the orchestra each year. In January 2018, the IPO announced the appointment of Shani as its next music director, effective with the 2020-2021 season. He is to hold the title of music director designate for the 2019-2020 season.
- William Steinberg (1936–1938)
- Leonard Bernstein (1947–1949; Laureate Conductor, 1988–1990)
- Paul Paray (1949–1951)
- Bernardino Molinari
- Jean Martinon (1957–1959)
- Zubin Mehta (1969–1977)
- Zubin Mehta (1977–2019)
- Lahav Shani (2020–)
The orchestra's performance in London at The Proms on September 1, 2011 was disrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters. The radio broadcast was interrupted, but the concert was broadcast again a few days later. 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. 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.
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.
- Culture in Israel
- Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation
- List of Israel Prize recipients
- Music in Israel
- Marc Lavry
- "Israel Prize recipients in 1958 (in Hebrew)". Israel Prize Official Site. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010.
- Davidson, Justin (2007-01-28). "His Life's Work: Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic". Newsday. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- "Zubin Mehta announces retirement from Israel Philharmonic". Jerusalem Post. 2016-12-26. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
- Hilferty, Robert (2007-01-29). "Facing the Wagner Question". New York Sun. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- Walsh, Michael (1992-01-13). "The Case of Wagner – Again". Time. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- Lasserson, David (2006-12-21). "And the Orchestra Played On". Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- Erlanger, Steven (2007-01-30). "A Country's Cultural Centerpiece Comes Calling". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
- "Lahav Shani Named Music Director of the IPO" (Press release). Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
- Michael Cooper (2018-01-17). "After 50 Years, Israel Philharmonic Names a New Conductor". New York Times. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
- Marcus Dysch (2011-09-02). "Anti-Israel protesters disrupt BBC Proms". The Jewish Chronicle. United Kingdom. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
- Neil Fisher (2012-01-03). "We represent the country the minute we go on stage". The Times. United Kingdom.
- Simon Rocker (2012-02-23). "No prosecution in Israel Proms disruption". The Jewish Chronicle. United Kingdom. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
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