Playtime with the Israel Philharmonic: A Glimpse of Keynote

Danielle Ames Spivak, West Coast Director


L’dor V’dor – Danielle and her mother Tracy and daughter Alexandra standing outside the Charles Bronfman Auditorium.

It’s not hard to guess that my favorite destination in Tel Aviv is the Charles Bronfman Auditorium. I recently returned from Israel and I wanted to share with you the highlight of my meaningful trip. The last time I had been to Israel was in 2011 to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the IPO. Back then I was pregnant with our oldest daughter Alexandra. I have vivid memories of Alex kicking in the womb throughout every IPO concert I attended, literally dancing to the music. Fast forward six years – you can imagine my eagerness to return to Israel with Alex who now is old enough to comprehend the magnitude of the State of Israel and the beauty of the land and people.

We were invited to visit the newly created Zucker Hall by Irit Rub, the passionate and visionary Director of the Keynote Program for Music Education and Outreach. It was our lucky day; not only did we get to experience an IPO concert for kids firsthand, but the children participating were all kindergarteners. Alex got the opportunity to join children her age for their final concert of the year, the culmination of a year of in-classroom music instruction provided by Keynote to over 3000 kindergarteners from diverse neighborhoods throughout Tel Aviv.  The final offering of the Kindergarten program includes complimentary transportation by bus for students and teachers for a child-centric classical music concert performed by ten musicians of the IPO.

During the 35 minute program, the young children sat mesmerized by the musicians. Kids moved their arms pretending to be conductors, singing along to the Hebrew lyrics that accompanied the music. The sounds now familiar to them after months of instruction in their own classrooms. Their smiles stretched from ear to ear. I was told by Irit that for four days in May the same children’s concert was being repeated dozens of times to accommodate all 3000 kids who participate in the program. According to Irit, normal life can be very tense for these little children and these concerts are real therapy for them. I can attest that the joy and relaxation felt in Zucker Hall that day was uplifting.

If you are planning to visit Israel and would like to experience a Keynote Program too, please be in touch – and even if you aren’t visiting Israel soon but would like more information on Keynote, please contact Danielle at