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Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Austria


As Israel's foremost cultural ambassador, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) is more than an orchestra. It is a unique and harmonious combination of sounds and individuals, rising above all political, social and religious differences in order to bring people closer together.  It is Israel's musical shofar throughout the world.


The story of the IPO reflects the history, the events and the emotions of its country and of the people of Israel.  And throughout its 80 years, the Orchestra has continuously represented human determination, artistic excellence and an eloquent voice for peace, creating and fortifying bridges of understanding.

The Orchestra brings world class music to Israel and it brings Israel to the world.


The Orchestra was founded by Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, who had the vision of creating an orchestra in Palestine in response to what he foresaw was about to take place. Huberman auditioned Jewish musicians across Europe tirelessly, choosing only the very best from leading ensembles and  creating what would be known as an “orchestra of soloists.” Nearly 1,000 musicians and their families immigrated to Palestine and escaped the Holocaust thanks to Huberman, who was able to not only establish a world-class orchestra but also save hundreds of lives.

On December 26, 1936, the Palestine Orchestra played its first concert in Tel Aviv under the baton of the legendary Arturo Toscanini, who raised his baton saying "I am doing this for humanity". The public reception to this inaugural performance was overwhelming, with crowds standing outside near the windows and even climbing on rooftops in an attempt to hear the Orchestra. The ovation at the end of the night lasted over 30 minutes.

Today, as it celebrates its 80th anniversary and under the baton of its Music Director for Life Maestro Zubin Mehta, the Israel Philharmonic showcases the finest Israel can offer and continues to inspire people in Israel and the world. Over 250,000 people attended more than 130 IPO concerts in Israel last year.  Additionally the IPO regularly tours the globe, performing dozens of concerts worldwide, and playing a message of excellence, harmony and hope. 

The Orchestra is also a leader in the field of musical education, nurturing young musicians and exposing over 23,000 children a year to classical music through its KeyNote, Music Education and Community Outreach Program. The Orchestra also provides a unique opportunity to 1,068 children at risk to play an instrument and benefit from the magic of orchestral music-making through Sulamot-Music for Social Change and aspires to promote musical-artistic endeavor in Arab society by forging ties between the Jewish and Arab communities in the north of Israel through music.

Why we need your help:

We are currently seeking to establish the Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Austria.  An association which will join the IPO's associations of friends throughout the world with the mission of securing the Orchestra's future, maintaining the highest musical quality, advancing music education, supporting musical events and tours and enabling the Orchestra to continuously develop, grow and bring spiritual joy to generations of music lovers in Israel and abroad.  The connection between Austria and the IPO is a deep and meaningful one.  Nine of the IPO's founding members came to Palestine from Vienna as did its first concertmaster, Zvi Haftel, who came to Palestine alongside Huberman and became the beating heart of the developing Orchestra.  It was Haftel who brought the young Zubin Mehta to the IPO as well as many other international stars.


We hope you will join our effort to create this new association of friends as it would further root the IPO in the heart of Europe from where it all began.

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