A Learning Experience

IPO holds its First International Music Education Conference, May 14-17

With a focus on “Music Education in the Community: Traditions, Challenges and Innovations,” the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will host its first International Education Conference May 14-17.

Speakers and attendees representing orchestras and academia from as far as Seoul and Seattle will converge on Tel Aviv’s Bronfman Auditorium for four days of presentations and workshops led by leading educators, scholars and musicologists from 17 countries.

The conference will also allow the IPO to share what Maestro Zubin Mehta, the event’s Honorary President, calls “a rich tapestry of musical moments.” These include a Sunday showcase by IPO’s Israeli-Arab ensemble, Shesh Besh. The septet, with its 17-year record combining musical education and cross-cultural understanding, will set a collaborative tone for the conference. Among the other performances will be some of the children currently taking part in the Sulamot: Music for Social Change program, which annually provides musical instruments and training through 18 youth orchestra to 2,000 at-risk children across the nation.

A highlight of the IPO’s yearlong 80th Anniversary celebration, the conference will bring deserved attention to the extensive outreach the orchestra pursues beyond the concert hall walls.

“People in the music field know us,” said IPO Education Director Irit Rub. “But few know the extent to which the Philharmonic invests its money, time, good will and good work into what is a very far-reaching music education program.”

The IPO conference in Tel Aviv is itself a testament to the inspirational power of these conferences.

“I was at a music education and community conference in Germany about 18 months ago,” she said, “listening to the programs and meeting people and I suddenly thought, ‘Wow, the IPO is doing so many things in Israel, and people don’t know our country or the real community work and music education we do. Let’s do one.'”


The Speakers and Topics

As part of Sunday’s opening reception there will be welcomes from Yoel Abadi, Chairman of the IPO Management and IPO Secretary General Avi Shoshani, and overviews of the KeyNote programs from Rub and Dr. Dochy Lichtensztajn, KeyNote’s Pedagogical Director.

The first day will conclude with a talk by Prof. Tomer Lev, the head of Tel-Aviv University’s Buchmann-Mehta School of Music on “Music and Music Education in Israel in an Era of Social and Cultural Schism” and a performance by the IPO Brass Quintet.

Among the many renowned figures in music education who will speak at the conference (See full schedule here) are three from the United States: Dr. André de Quadros, Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music Education at Boston University, will present “Identity, Belonging and Struggle: Building Community through Music”; Carnegie Hall Executive and Artistic Director Sir Clive Gillinson will explore “purpose and values and the centrality of education to the arts”; and Dr. Patricia Shehan Campbell, a leading ethnomusicologist and Professor of Music at University of Washington, will speak on “Traditions and Transformations of Music in Schools and Communities.”

“André de Quadros is a real social activist known around the world for social projects in which he goes to places where people have nothing to do with music and makes them sing,” said Rub. “On the last day he will hold one of his singing workshops to demonstrate his work. And Dr. Campbell is known around the world from her many publications. People from the field of ethnomusicology are really impressed that she’s coming.”

With speakers from Canada, South Korea, Singapore, France, Germany, Holland, Finland, England and the United States, there will be simultaneous translations from Hebrew to English and English to Hebrew throughout the conference.

“Our main goal is letting people from abroad know how much the orchestra is involved in education,” she said. “The other thing is that I hope we foster a fuller understanding of Israel in the eyes of people around the world. And also, I want music educators and teachers in Israel to have the chance to meet colleagues and to speak with these interesting researchers.”

May 2017