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Israel Philharmonic Stops At Arsht Center

Zubin Mehta Bows Out Because Of Health


Michelle F. Solomon

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The famous maestro Zubin Mehta was to have conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on a U.S. tour that was to be his final in the States. It was announced that he would be unable to fulfill that role because of a problem with his health. But tour organizers have replaced Mehta on the six-city tour, which includes the Adrienne Arsht Center on Wednesday, Feb. 6. Filling in for Mehta on the six-city tour is Yoel Levi, one of the world’s leading conductors, known for his "vast repertoire, masterly interpretations and electrifying performances," according to the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

The 2019 U.S. Tour was to mark Maestro Mehta’s final U.S. tour before he retires as Music Director of the IPO in 2019.

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“The unexpected news of Zubin’s cancellation is an unfortunate turn of events, but we are grateful to Yoel for stepping in to conduct what we know will be a very exciting and uplifting U.S. Tour for the IPO,” said David Hirsch, President of the Board of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Hirsch continued, “We had been looking forward to celebrating and honoring Zubin’s immeasurable contributions to the Israel Philharmonic, during what would have been his final U.S. tour as Music Director. All concerts on this tour conducted by Yoel will still be performed in recognition of Zubin.”

Levi has had a long-standing relationship with the IPO, notably as the first Israeli to serve as Principal Guest Conductor of the Israel Philharmonic. Levi is Chief Conductor of the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, a position he has held since 2014. Having conducted some of the most prestigious orchestras throughout the world and appearing with esteemed soloists, Levi has led orchestras in North America that include the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Boston, Chicago and San Francisco Symphonies, and the New York Philharmonic, to name a very few.

The tour kicked off on Feb. 2 at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Brookville, N.Y., On Feb. 3, the orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, then on Feb. 5, at the Kravis Center in Palm Beach. For the Wednesday, Feb. 6 performance at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, where the program will feature Schubert’s “Symphony No. 3” and Bruckner’s “Symphony No. 7.”

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) was founded in 1936 by famed Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, and its inaugural concert that year was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Two years earlier, in an effort to help fellow Jewish musicians escape Nazi persecution, Huberman set out to create an all Jewish orchestra in Palestine. Overcoming huge obstacles, Huberman recruited and arranged for 70 leading musicians, and their families, to immigrate to Palestine to form the Palestine Symphony Orchestra. Huberman’s extraordinary efforts ultimately saved hundreds of Jewish lives. In 1948, when the State of Israel was born, the Orchestra changed its name to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, playing “Hatikvah” at the official ceremony of the Declaration of Independence.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is the second concert in the Arsht Center's 2018-19 Knight Masterworks Classical Music Series" in the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 at 8 p.m..Tickets range from $50-$170 and can be purchased by calling at (305) 949-6722, online at www.arshtcenter.org at the Adrienne Arsht Center Box Office, located at 1300 Biscayne Blvd.

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