2018 Fundraisers Announced

Dates, co-Chairs and Honorees are set for major AFIPO events to celebrate and support the Israel Philharmonic in LA, NY and SF this fall.

This October the AFIPO will host annual galas in New York and Los Angeles and a special benefit in San Francisco. While each will be unique, chaired by that city’s business and cultural leaders, they all will share in celebrating the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and supporting its educational programs.

Each will also feature a performance by an ensemble of IPO musicians specially selected for these events by Maestro Zubin Mehta.

“It’s our one time each year where we can celebrate, as one community from coast-to-coast, the importance of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,said American Friends CEO Naomi Grabel. “These annual galas are major events that reflect the orchestra’s significance in America, in Israel, and around the world.

The Galas in New York and Los Angeles will be on Tuesday, October 23, and Thursday, October 25, respectively, with the San Francisco event on the afternoon of Sunday, October 28.


October 23: New York Gala

October 25: Los Angeles Gala

October 28: San Francisco Benefit


New York

Stacey Bronfman and her son in front of Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv

The New York gala, to be held at the elegant Pierre Hotel, is being co-chaired by Tricia and Jason Pantzer and Stacey Bronfman and will honor Daniel Libeskind, the internationally renowned figure in architecture and urban design.

“The annual gala is such an important part of our support for the IPO and ensuring the orchestra’s ongoing success,” said Tricia Pantzer, an AFIPO board member who met her husband Jason at the 1998 gala. “This year, Stacey and I have come together with a special appeal to a new generation of music lovers.”

“We’re really focused on that,” said Stacey Bronfman. “It is so important to bring in younger people and get them involved.”

Stacey is herself an example of younger supporters increasing their involvement, as she has attended IPO galas and concerts for many years, but last year’s gala had a special impact.

That event honored Maestro Zubin Mehta and the AFIPO created a video celebrating Mehta, whose 50th year with the IPO will conclude in October 2019 when he retires as its Music Director. Among those interviewed were violinists Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, who were also among the evening’s soloists.

“I was so moved by that film and the interaction between Itzhak and Zubin,” Stacey recalled. “The clips of Itzhak and Zubin together in Israel were so amazing. To see their relationship – like brothers – going back decades, and the times that Ihtzak would call Zubin and say ‘You have to go to Israel,’ and regardless of conditions, no matter what was going on, he just went. It showed the commitment of these men to each other, to the music and the arts, and to Israel. It was such a powerful reminder of the impact of the arts and our artists.

“I love the Philharmonic and have attended the gala many times and supported it,” she continued. “So when Tricia asked me to co-chair this year’s event with her and Jason, I accepted immediately. I’m so honored to do it.”

“We really are so excited to be bringing an ensemble from the orchestra to the AFIPO community in New York this year,” Tricia added. “It is going to be an unforgettable night.”

The Polish-born Libeskind immigrated to the United States as a teenager with his family, received the American-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship and performed as a musical virtuoso before eventually leaving music to study architecture. In 1989, he won the international competition to build the Jewish Museum in Berlin, and has since relocated to New York when his “Memory Center” design won the international competition to redevelop the World Trade Center site. 

The New York gala begins at 7 p.m. on October 23, and includes a cocktail reception, the IPO concert, and a gourmet dinner. Click here for more information and to reserve tickets.

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles gala on October 25, to be held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, is chaired by Jennifer and Ben Silverman, Lynn Harris and Matti Leshem, Yifat Oren, Liza Chasin and Matthew Velkes and Kfir Gavrieli.

The event will honor the life and work of composer Stanley Silverman, a longtime supporter of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The IPO ensemble will perform a special program including selections of the classical and popular music Silverman has composed for both theater and film.

Silverman has collaborated on and off-Broadway with Anthony Burgess, Arthur Miller, and Paul Simon (orchestrating his The Capeman) and on film with Mike Nichols and Arthur Penn. He also conducted the Tony, Drama Desk and Grammy Award-nominated Joseph Papp production of The Threepenny Opera in 1976.

“My father has used his love of music to bridge cultures and time periods creating lasting memory,” said Ben Silverman. “Our dear friend and former AFIPO President Herman Sandler, and his family, have further connected my own family with the Israel Philharmonic, which is an extraordinary orchestra that connects the people of the world through its brilliant work.

“The annual LA gala is always a really fun celebration,” said Danielle Ames Spivak, AFIPO Western Regional Director. “Friends look forward to getting together and experiencing the IPO in our own community while supporting a cause they believe in. We sell out every year and this year won’t be any different. I am thrilled we are returning to the Wallis, in the heart of Beverly Hills, for what surely will be our best gala yet!”

San Francisco

The San Francisco benefit will be held at the home of Carol and Norman Traeger in Tiburon. This special event is being co-chaired by Susan Libitzky, Lisa Pritzker, Varda Rabin, Lydia Shorenstein, Eta Somekh and Diane Zack, who are thrilled that musicians of the IPO will be returning to the Bay Area. 

For more details on the Los Angeles and San Francisco events, please contact Danielle Ames Spivak at (310) 277-0100 or dames@afipo.org.