The Israel Philharmonic arrived in Singapore to perform for the first time. In 1978, Singapore was just a stop-over on the way to Australia for the IPO, today it is an essential concert venue celebrating “Asian Tiger’s” thirst for culture and admiration for Zubin Mehta. The visit was under the patronage of the Sassoon Family – Victor and Michelle, in conjunction with the Israeli Embassy. Orchestra members were treated to a reception at the Sassoon home.
The morning of the concert we made a short tour of the city. Singapore island is only the size of Tel Aviv and its suburbs, but it concentrates an incredible economy based on trade, finance and shopping! The city-state pays 80% of medical costs, full tuition to university, it provides public housing for singles and young couples, the crime rate is 0 and income tax is tiny. Four languages are spoken and there is an atmosphere of absolute religious and ethnic tolerance. It was quite an eye-opener!