Philadelphia Orchestra performs with TAU students, Israel Philharmonic in packed concert

Orchestra's trip to Israel is the third visit to the country by a major U.S. symphony orchestra

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The Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the world’s finest classical music ensembles, spent the day at Tel Aviv University on June 4, 2018, as part of a two-week tour of Europe and Israel. The world-renowned symphony had nine sold-out performances in six European cities before arriving in Israel for a three-day concert tour, performing in Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

In Monday’s main event, members of the Philadelphia Orchestra performed alongside musicians of TAU’s Buchmann–Mehta School of Music Symphony Orchestra and members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in concert at the University’s Smolarz Auditorium. Eyal Ein-Habar, Head of Orchestral Training at the Buchmann–Mehta School and formerly of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted the ensemble in their first piece — Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 in F. Major, Op. 90. In the second half of the concert, Philadelphia Orchestra Assistant Conductor Kensho Watanabe conducted the symphony in Leonard Bernstein’s “Overture to ‘Candide.'”

The Buchmann–Mehta School of Music, which was founded in 2004 to train Israel’s elite young musicians and nurture future generations of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, welcomed the orchestra during opening remarks.

“We are excited to welcome our honorable guests from the legendary Philadelphia Orchestra,” Prof. Tomer Lev said. “Almost 25 percent of our orchestra is comprised of young musicians who combine music studies and military service in the framework of the IDF’s Outstanding Musicians Program — a program supported by the generous benefactors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.”

TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter also spoke at the concert. “I especially want to greet our esteemed partners from the Philadelphia Orchestra and delegates from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, who so generously sponsored the orchestra’s tour of Israel, honoring Israel’s 70th year of Independence,” Prof. Klafter said. “I would like to give special thanks to Joe and Jeanette Neubauer and Connie Smukler and to Daphna Meitar Nehmad, who helped put TAU on the map of the orchestra.

“TAU is the largest and most influential academic institution in Israel, and the Buchmann–Mehta School of Music in our Faculty of Arts is one of the crown jewels of this campus,” Prof. Klafter continued. “Looking at this stage and seeing our promising students sitting side by side leading members of one of the world’s legendary orchestras makes me very happy and hopeful for the future of music in this country and for all of our young musicians.”

Ryan Fleur, Interim President of the Philadelphia Orchestra, also addressed the audience. “This tour is incredibly special for us, as it marks the Orchestra’s first return to Israel since our inaugural visit in 1992,” he said. “For many of us, myself included, this is our first visit to Israel and one that is already memorable. In addition to performing in concert halls around the world, we truly value the meaningful opportunities we have to engage with the people of each city we visit, using the universal language of music to unite us.”

After the concert, which was greeted with uproarious applause from a packed 1,200-person auditorium, Orchestra members moved to TAU’s Buchmann–Mehta School of Music, where they held three master classes for string, woodwind and brass musicians. Members of the Orchestra led by Mr. Fleur also engaged in separate roundtable discussions on art and philanthropy and “friends groups” and art. The panel discussions, supported by the Israel Association of Arts Institutions, each featured five speakers and a two-minute student presentation.

The Israel portion of the Orchestra’s tour abroad marks a new partnership between the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Orchestra.

Watch a short video of the performance


"This tour is incredibly special for us, as it marks the Orchestra's first return to Israel since our inaugural visit in 1992."