About Us

Our Mission

American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (AFIPO) supports the world-class Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), enabling the IPO to enrich diverse audiences around the world in its role as Israel’s preeminent cultural ambassador.

Our Israel Philharmonic

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) is the leading orchestra in Israel and globally recognized as a world class symphonic ensemble. Founded in 1936 by famed Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, the IPO performs regularly in its home, the Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv, as well as across Israel, including Jerusalem and Haifa. Additionally, it tours internationally, from Europe to Asia to North and South America. Since its inception, the IPO has enjoyed long-lasting relationships with renowned soloists and conductors which have kept it at the forefront of the classical music world.

Marching to a New Drum: The IPO Origin Story

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1936 by Bronislaw Huberman to save the lives of Europe’s Jewish musicians from the Holocaust. From that moment, the IPO has stood for humanitarian principles, artistic freedom, and tireless pursuit of excellence. The Orchestra would go on to attract Arturo Toscanini to conduct its first concert, perform Hatikvah at the official ceremony of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, and grow alongside the State of Israel, with monumental performances led by Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Masur. Under the leadership of its Music Director Zubin Mehta, the Orchestra would foster generations of Israeli artists and lead the Orchestra on world tours, serving as the most significant cultural ambassador for the State of Israel. After Maestro Mehta’s extraordinary 50-year tenure, the brilliant Israeli conductor and pianist Lahav Shani will assume the position of Music Director in the Orchestra’s 2020-2021 season. Lahav will be the second Music Director in the history of the IPO, ushering in a new chapter for an iconic institution.

1934 bronislaw-huberman

In response to Hitler, violinist Bronislaw Huberman created the Orchestra, auditioning Jewish musicians across Europe. He chose only the very best, leading to what became known as an “orchestra of soloists.” Nearly 1,000 musicians and their families immigrated to Israel.

1936 Einstein-with-IPO-Violinist

Albert Einstein hosted the IPO’s first fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria New York.

1936 music-tel-aviv-history

On December 26th, the Orchestra played its first concert in Tel Aviv under the baton of Arturo Toscanini, who declared “I am doing this for humanity.” Crowds stood outside near the windows and climbed on rooftops to hear. The ovation at the end of the night lasted over 30 minutes.

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Our Board

The Board of American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is comprised of influential leaders in business, society, and the arts. The Board’s activities support the mission and vision of the IPO and AFIPO.

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Our Patrons

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