Q & A with Gala Co-Chair Stacey Bronfman

Q and A with Stacey BronfmanWhy do you support AFIPO?
I don’t play an instrument, but I love music and appreciate it. I feel tremendous joy knowing that supporting AFIPO means that young musicians in Israel will flourish. There’s such a concentration of talent in Israel – and with support, it can all reach its potential.

What’s your favorite, recent IPO memory?
I was in Israel last June, and I went straight from the airport to an IPO “Concert in Denim” performance. It was 10pm and the place was packed. That’s 2400 seats full – I don’t think the NY Phil would have that many people attending at that hour! And as the event title implies, everyone was in jeans, even the musicians and conductors. It was so relaxed and fun, yet classy and cultured. There’s such a deep appetite and desire for music in Israel. It’s really incredible.

You have a similar passion for all art forms. Why is art so important?
I do, you’re right. I think arts are one of the biggest contributions to the world. It uplifts us. I was recently elected Vice Chairman of the International Council of the Israel Museum, and I see its impact in so many ways. Did you know that in Israel, every member of the IDF is required to visit the Israel Museum? They need to understand their heritage. Arts are intrinsically connected to the fabric of Israeli society. It’s thrilling that Israel is only 70 years old, yet already has an international reputation as a center for the arts.

In terms of the musical arts, what do you see in AFIPO’s future?
Right now, we’re at a turning point. Zubin Mehta is an incredible conductor, and now he’s passing the baton to our Music Director Designate, Lahav Shani, a young, talented and charismatic wunderkind. I’m really focused on contributing in this area: youthful energy and younger audiences.

That’s why we’re bringing in Ester Rada for the NY Gala—we’re at the crossroads of modern culture and classical music. Ester sings jazz and feels very contemporary, but she’ll be backed by nine members of the IPO. At the Gala, we’re showing that mixing the two can create incredible music.

Sounds intriguing. What else can do you tell us about the Gala?
Well, I’m very excited that we’re honoring my good friends David Broza and Nili Lotan, a true power couple who embody Israeli creativity – David as a guitarist and humanitarian, Nili as a successful fashion designer and icon of female empowerment. They’ll receive the Creative Spirit Award, and that’s the message we want to send: All forms of art are connected. Younger people will relate with even realizing it.

I just want to do these cross-over programs more and more. The next musician I want to bring to play with the IPO is Sting!