Mutual Benefit

The IPO and the Verbier Festival join fundraising forces on June 4

Beyond its art, one thing that sets an arts organization apart is an ability to turn annual fundraising into an international sensation.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation accomplished it three years ago when it first teamed with Switzerland’s Verbier Festival to create a one-of-a-kind joint benefit event including an intimate recital by a world renowned soloist, an auction with live online and call-in bidding, and a lavish dinner.

Violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Yuja Wang were the first two featured artists, and on June 4 of this year Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili will perform for 120 guests from around the world. The event will again be held on the rooftop of the Meyer Family’s breathtaking residence overlooking Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean Sea.

With their complementary programming and overlapping artist communities, the IPO Foundation and Verbier successfully combine forces, divide costs, and come up with up to ten donated items apiece. In the first two years, guests bid on fine art and unique musical experiences that mix travel, concert tickets, vacation retreats, five-star restaurants and, best of all, the personal connection with orchestra members and other famous artists.

“We’ve had dinners with Kevin Spacey and private events with Sir András Schiff and Yuja Wang,” said the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation’s International Relations Manager Stephanie Merdler. “We work very hard not to be like the any other charity auction. It’s really a meeting of friends from all over the world who circulate in both institutions or who have a closeness to either one.”

Following Buniatishvili’s 40-minute concert, bidding will begin on this year’s donated items, which will be announced in the ten days prior to the event. AFIPO members who cannot be there in person can take part via telephone bidding. For details on how you can participate, contact the IPO Foundation by emailing or calling +972 3 629 6266.




Among the most popular items in the first two auctions were the exclusive packaged experiences Merdler calls “non-buyables.” These included an IPO ensemble performing at the winning bidder’s residence and another in which a trio of IPO musicians travelled to London to perform in a private home.

“Last year Adrienne and Peter Biberstein won a lunch for themselves and ten friends cooked by IPO principal flutist Guy Eshed, who is also a vegetarian master chef,” said Merdler, who helped Eshed with the preparations. “After lunch Guy played Mozart’s Flute Quartet with other members of the orchestra. It was so thrilling and such a unique experience. We stayed there the whole day and everyone felt connected to the IPO in a very special way.”

Other highlights from the first years include the supper with Spacey, which followed his final performance at London’s Old Vic while serving as its Artistic Director. There were prime seats at prestigious sporting events including Wimbledon, a Miami Heat game, the Ascot Races and a semi-final match at the Allianz Arena in Munich, and red carpet access at film premieres in Hollywood and London. One of the Verbier contributions was admission to an opera performance of the donor’s choice at the Opéra des Nations in Geneva, that also included two nights at the nearby Beau-Rivage 5* Hotel, and something only an IPO auction could ever boast: a weekend for four at Maestro Mehta’s holiday retreat in the hills outside Florence.

Merdler did hint that, in keeping with last year’s popular Pucci Fashion show tickets, this year’s items will include seats at the upcoming Chanel Show.




“The IPO and Verbier are well suited for this partnership,” Merdler said. “The Verbier Academy has helped establish many artists who have performed with the IPO. Two of these are Joshua Bell and Yuja Wang, the guest performers for our first two joint benefit events.

This year’s Verbier Festival, which takes place July 21-August 6, is the annual public concert series associated with the Verbier Academy, whose stated mission is to identify, encourage and nurture tomorrow’s exceptional soloists, chamber musicians and singers.

“This event is a total win-win situation for both institutions,” Merdler concluded. “As different as we are, we both care for our musicians and we both care for new artistic challenges. But we also believe in long-term artistic cooperation. And this event again shows that many kinds of artistic cooperation are not only possible, they are very rewarding.”

May 2017