AFIPO Donors: The Gold Standard

At 95, it’s not her AFIPO titles that Ruth Gold holds dearest, but indelible memories of concerts and conductors.


Ruth Gold‘s support of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has been significant and long-term. She is a member of its board of directors, Honorary President of its West Coast Chairman’s Council, and one of only seven Life Members on the IPO’s International Board of Governors.

“Ruth has always been the grande dame of AFIPO on the West Coast,” said AFIPO Executive Director Danielle Ames Spivak. “An extremely generous patron as well as a stylish, elegant, and effervescent lady. I have always relied on Ruth for advice and humor and her longtime involvement means she has a sense of organizational history that is priceless.”

“I still support them because I feel so strongly about them,” Gold said in a telephone interview from her home in Beverly Hills last month. “It’s a wonderful organization and I know a lot of people in it and they’re all dedicated, as am I.”

At 95, however, it’s not the titles and honorary rankings she holds dearest, but indelible memories of concert experiences stretching back 60 years and more. Among her favorite recollections are landmark performances by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Israel, London, and Los Angeles. All of these were under the baton of Maestro Zubin Mehta, the world-famous IPO Music Director who retires later this year.

Gold’s most recent symphony outing was to Walt Disney Concert Hall in late 2018. It came a few weeks before Mehta began his new role as L.A. Philharmonic Conductor Emeritus by conducting the L.A. Philharmonic in a series of Brahms pieces. [Read related story.]

It all reminded her of the concert 56 years earlier that began the Maestro’s first era in Los Angeles.

I met him at the first concert,” she said. “He was 26 and had just assumed the position of conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1962. Mrs. Chandler had him there at the first concert and we were all introduced to him. He was young and very attractive, and it was very exciting.”

Gold and her late husband Charles, another emeritus member of the IPO’s International Board of Governors, had heard the IPO in Israel and also attended its historic 1999 concert at Buckingham Palace, an event Avi Shoshani, Secretary General of the IPO, recalls fondly in this AFIPO interview.

“The concert in England was the best thing that I’ve ever seen,” Gold said. “We were in Buckingham Palace and Zubin conducted. We were seated at a table with 100 people for a formal dinner. The Queen didn’t come in, but we met the Prince and it was starry-eyed. Those are the things you never forget: it was so unbelievable.”

Weeks ago, as Maestro Mehta was beginning his new era as Conductor Emeritus in Los Angeles, Ruth Gold was ending her decades of concert going.

“Although I love the music,” she said, “I decided I can’t go anymore. It’s become too much of a chore and so I gave my wonderful seats to my son, who now goes in my place.

“I’m not complaining, though. I’m lucky,” she said. “I’ve got all my marbles: I know who everybody is and I remember everything. And I’m pushing the love of music on. My son is very interested and my grandsons are both involved in music in their own way.

“I think life without it is nothing.”