The IPO’s 83rd

The Israel Philharmonic’s 2018-19 Season brims with musical highlights and historical significance


Even before its first note is played on Thursday, October 4 in Tel Aviv, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s 83rd Season is destined to be among its most historic.

Maestro Zubin Mehta has planned a panoramic 2018-2019 Season of the world’s greatest music and invited many of the world’s most sought-after guest conductors and soloists to join him for what will be his triumphant final season as the orchestra’s Music Director.

Among the guest directors will be one of particular interest for IPO audiences and supporters. In May 2019, the brilliant young Lahav Shani will conduct several concerts in his final season as a guest conductor. With the 2019-2020 Season, Shani becomes the Israel Philharmonic’s Music Director Designate and Principal Conductor. He will conduct Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5,” Berlioz’ “Symphonie fantastique,” and two Shostakovich concertos: the “Violin Concerto” featuring Leonidas Kavakos and “Piano Concerto No. 2,” with Shani as pianist.

One hundred individual concerts comprise the 83rd IPO Season, which continues through July 11, 2019. While predominantly performed in Tel Aviv’s Charles R. Bronfman Auditorium, concerts are organized into numerous mini-season programs that include three series for audiences in Haifa and Jerusalem. There is an additional Chamber Series that will be performed in the new 400-seat Zucker Chamber Music Hall inside the Bronfman, named for Uzi Zucker and Rivka Saker, and a tour to the United States in February that we will preview next month.



Pianist Martha Argerich

Giving the season an appropriately grand opening and conclusion, Maestro Mehta will conduct the glorious Mozart “Coronation Mass” and Schumann’s “Piano Concerto” to get things started, and the majestic Verdi Requiem to bring them to a close. Pianist Martha Argerich will be featured on the Schumann Concerto. Other pieces to be conducted by Zubin Mehta are Beethoven’s “Piano Concerto No. 3” with Denis Matsuev as guest soloist, Haydn’s “Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major” featuring cellist Gal Nyska, and Mozart’s “Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor” with pianist Khatia Buniatishvili.

Concertos, in fact, will highlight the entire season, providing showcases for additional stellar guest artists:

  • Szymon Nehring will perform Chopin’s “Piano Concerto No.1,” with Pablo Heras-Casado conducting
  • Lisa Batiashvili will perform Prokofiev’s “Violin Concerto No. 2,” with Alan Gilbert conducting. Gilbert will also conduct a program of the Dvorak “Symphony No. 9, ‘New World'” and Rachmaninov’s “Piano Concerto No. 2” with pianist Inon Barnatan.
  • IPO Concert Master David Radzynski will be featured on Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s 1960 “Violin Concerto in G minor,” on a program conducted by Manfred Honeck that also includes Brahms’ “Ein Deutsches Requiem.”
  • Joshua Bell will return for the Dvorak “Violin Concerto,” conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, who will also conduct Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3, ‘Eroica'” that evening.
  • Beethoven’s cherished “Piano Concerto. No 5, ‘Emperor,'” will feature Daniil Trifonov. It shares the bill with Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade.” Sascha Goetzel will conduct both pieces.

Next month, as part of the Leonard Bernstein at 100 Celebration, Ilan Volkov will conduct Bernstein’s “Symphony No. 3, ‘Kaddish'” and excerpts from the films The Gift of Music and The Love of Three Orchestras. This special program will feature soprano Chen Reiss and the Gary Bertini Israeli Choir.

Other highlights are Christoph Eschenbach conducting Mahler’s magnificent “Symphony No. 9,” Vasily Petrenko at the podium for Prokofiev’s “Symphony No. 5,” and a grateful nod to America and the AFIPO with Aaron Copland’s “Old American Songs,” featuring baritone Thomas Hampson.

If your travels take you to Israel during the next nine months, be sure to plan on attending a concert. The complete schedule is available on this page.  You can also watch a Video Overview of the season’s highlights.