IPO History

Since its inception in 1936, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (originally named the Palestine Orchestra) has been dedicated to presenting the world’s greatest music to audiences in Israel and the world. Founded by the outstanding Polish violinist, Bronislaw Huberman, the IPO represents the culmination of his dream “to unite the desire of the country for an orchestra with the desire of the Jewish musicians for a country.” Huberman spent countless hours arranging for first-chair musicians of Eastern European and German orchestras, who had lost their jobs as a result of Nazism, to migrate to Palestine. In doing so, Huberman created an “orchestra of soloists” that under the esteemed leadership of Maestro Zubin Mehta, Music Director for Life, continues to provide vital inspiration to the people of Israel.

From the outset, world-renowned soloists and conductors have performed with the IPO. Its inaugural concert was played under the baton of Arturo Toscanini who felt his participation was a means to demonstrate his opposition to Fascism. Since that time, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has enjoyed associations with such renowned artists as Leonard Bernstein, Laureate Conductor of the IPO, and Kurt Masur, Honorary Guest Conductor of the IPO. Other celebrated artists to perform with the Orchestra are Daniel Barenboim, Yefim Bronfman, Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, Shlomo Mintz, Itzhak Perlman, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Arthur Rubinstein, Gil Shaham, Isaac Stern, Maxim Vengerov, Pinchas Zukerman and many others. Their contributions of time and talent have enriched the cultural life of Israel and have helped the Orchestra to maintain the highest artistic standards.

Often said to have more heart than other orchestras, the IPO is Israel’s finest cultural emissary and travels throughout the world, particularly to countries where there is little or no Israeli representation. In some cases, performances of the IPO are the only example of Israel’s existence. The goodwill created by these tours, which have included historic visits to Japan, Argentina, Poland, Hungary, Russia, China and India, is of enormous value to the State of Israel. As a result, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra maintains its position at the forefront of cultural diplomacy and the international music scene

Discover why the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra touches the hearts and lives of so many people throughout the world. 

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