Helgard Field has been an AFIPO board member and dedicated supporter of the Israel Philharmonic for eight years. On November 10, 2015 she announced to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra a $3 million donation that will support guest conductors in Israel. Mrs. Field recently spoke with us about this generous donation and reflected on the orchestra’s recent visit to Los Angeles.
What were your impressions of the Los Angeles concert and gala?
Every gala is something fabulous and different. But this year we partnered with the Wallis Annenberg Center and closed down a street in Beverly Hills for over a week to put up an elaborate and gorgeous tent – it was extraordinary, simply world class. Everyone really seemed to have a great time.
Also, I think that whenever the Israel Philharmonic performs it is a unique experience. It is a miracle that they have this orchestra in Israel considering the difficult neighborhood Israel lives in…It is an amazing orchestra, we should all be very proud and supportive of it. And the fact that the orchestra is so diverse and led by an Indian Maestro – it makes you think of the line in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Alle Menschen werden Brüder, All men become brothers – Israel is doing that through this orchestra.
Tell me about the generous gift you have given to the IPO
All the gifts I make are in memory of my late husband, Hermann Lion, from Kreuzlingen, Switzerland who was a big supporter of Israel since he was 17. He passed away when my children were 10, 11, and 12 and when I met Irwin and got married he had been part of the Jewish Agency for many years. So I support the musical and the artistic side of Israel and he supports their business and technology. I think the arts in Israel give a positive impression of the country to the rest of the world.
How will this gift be used?
My intention is to enable the orchestra to seek and invite the best conductors to lead the orchestra in Israel and at the same time learn more about the country.