Meeting Mehta in L.A.

AFIPO members meet the Maestro, Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth during an exclusive rehearsal event at Disney Hall


Left to right – Moshe Barkat, Arnon and Camille Adar, Helgard Field-Lion, two other rehearsal visitors, Pinchas Zukerman and Irwin Field

On Saturday, January 5, hours before the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s evening performance in Walt Disney Concert Hall, the orchestra had a full rehearsal, filling the empty auditorium with the majestic sound of Brahms.

Not all the seats were empty, however. Out beyond the reach of the stage lights were ten major donors and board officers of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Thanks to the gracious LA Philharmonic staff, these Los Angeles-area AFIPO VIPs had been given exclusive access to a closed rehearsal in which they heard the Brahms program that would be played that evening and the following afternoon.

The event was of special importance to these IPO supporters because the conductor and one of the soloists were fellow members of the AFIPO Board of Directors.

On the podium was Israel Philharmonic Music Director Zubin Mehta, who will retire later this year from his decades-long post with the orchestra. Beside him for the first piece, Brahms’ “Double Concerto in A minor, for violin, cello and orchestra” (Op. 102), were cellist Amanda Forsyth and her husband, violinist Pinchas Zukerman. Mehta and Zukerman are co-chairs of the AFIPO Board of Directors, along with violinist Itzhak Perlman.

During the first half of the two-and-a-half-hour rehearsal, Forsyth, Zukerman and the orchestra worked on the “Double Concerto,” and then after a 20-minute break, Mehta was back to lead the LA Phil in the program’s second piece, Brahms’ “Symphony No. 4.”

Left to right – Helgard and Irwin Field (behind her), Moshe Barkat, Arnon and Camille Adar and Zubin Mehta

The AFIPO guests, who included Arnon and Camille Adar, Moshe Barkat, and Helgard and Irwin Field, spent part of the break backstage, where they were greeted warmly by the artists and enjoyed a short visit with Ms. Forsyth and Mr. Zukerman. Zukerman and Arnon Adar exchanged niceties both in Hebrew and in English, and Helgard and Irwin Field affectionately recalled that on a recent visit to Israel they had thoroughly enjoyed hearing Ms. Forsyth in concert with the Israel Philharmonic.

At the conclusion of the rehearsal, following the “Symphony No. 4,” the helpful members of the LA Phil staff again led the group backstage where they were able to visit with and congratulate the Maestro.

For Mehta, this was the fourth and final program of a Brahms series with the LA Phil that had begun in mid-December. Each program had featured, in chronological order, one of Brahms’ four symphonies. On January 3, prior to the performance of “Symphony No. 3,” it was announced the Maestro had been named the LA Phil’s Conductor Emeritus.

“The AFIPO is proud to facilitate extraordinary and intimate experiences that connect our patrons to world-class artists and provide a deeper perspective to the art form we know and love,” said West Coast Associate Director Justin Pressman. “This is the first time AFIPO has ever attended a rehearsal at the L.A. Philharmonic and we must thank the gracious staff for making this wonderful experience possible.”