Countdown to Retirement: Gala 80th Festival

by Peter Marck

Gala 80th Festival for the IPO Foundation

First violinist Sharon Cohen

Two nights ago, I participated in the Gala dinner held at the Hilton Hotel for the IPO Foundation. I’ve done lots of these events; one time I found myself having a drink with Yitzhak Rabin until the guests showed up. Another time, we made friends with Lilly Elstein and another time we made a bunch of wine friends from England. Well this time I was invited by the younger generation to play in an ensemble presenting 4 songs by Leonard Cohen. Rona Kenan and Etai Pearl were the soloists and we were the backup band with accompaniments by Yuval Shapiro. Sharon Cohen and I did the introduction to the songs:


Sharon: “We are the generation gap of the Israel Philharmonic.”


Peter: “I am the 24-year-old of October 1976 who came to Israel as a tourist, played an audition and stayed for the 80th anniversary.”


Sharon: “…and I am the kid who didn’t know if she was more American or more Israeli but after creating my own orchestra in Boston, I packed up my violin and decided to come home to the Philharmonic in 2012. I’ll celebrate my last festival in 2056…maybe even ‘66!”


Peter: “When I came to the IPO…” the bottom of the ladder” didn’t begin to describe my place; all my colleagues were old…even Zubin Mehta was pushing 40!”


Sharon: “My Israel Philharmonic is the youngest orchestra on the international scene: we had to take Peter for this evenings’ ensemble so that you would recognize that we’re all IPO players!”


Peter: “Me and my old-timer friends sit back stage and laugh at all the “types” we’ve known over the years: Itche, Mense, Steinberg, Schiffer, Rovinsky and we know that in a few years the youngsters are going to be laughing about us…. But we have all those unforgettable moments with Bernstein, Kubelick, Paray, Szeryng, Milstein, Perlman, Zukerman, Barenboim and Mehta”


Sharon: “OK, a few of the big ones got away, but we’ve gotten a taste of the greatness: Muti, Mehta, Masur, Pinki, Yitzah and now the stars of our generation are beginning to shine…and we have all those incredible moments still ahead of us.


Peter: “This evening; a tribute to a Jewish, Canadian poet, novelist and songwriter and musician who cut across all the generations: Leonard Cohen.”


Sharon: “On the stage are IPO members Nitzan Keneti, Yonathan Hadas, Peter Marck, Sharon Cohen and our musical director and arranger, second generation IPO; Yuval Shapiro. Ladies and gentlemen, Etai Pearl and Rona Keinan.”


Even though it was my first “gig” in about 35 years, the songs by Leonard Cohen were great, and we also wore hats like he did in his appearances. Well, for my 15 minutes on stage, I received more compliments than for all the concerts of the festival! From Pinki and Amanda to Zubin; they all loved it…and they said I looked like Leonard Cohen in the hat! You see, you don’t need a great bass or bow…only a great hat!


March 2019 will mark a huge change in the life of Peter Marck. Join us on an intimate and personal quest through the tides with a passionate musician and IPO icon, and a dear friend.

For the first time and exclusively to IPO colleagues and followers, a musician of our Orchestra will share insights into the challenging but also liberating process he goes through – towards his final performance with the IPO.