Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

By Lynda Millner   |   November 16, 2017
Sponsors for UCSB Arts & Lectures Bill and Jill Shanbrom

This was a long-awaited occasion when the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) appeared on the Arlington Theatre stage. The orchestra was so large, there was barely room to get the conductor Zubin Mehta on stage and onto his platform. The theatre was filled as well. UCSB Miller McCune executive director Celesta M. Billeci had many sponsors to thank for the IPO appearance including Sara Miller McCune, the Shanbrom Family Foundation, Anne Towbes in honor of her late husband, Michael, Julianna Friedman, Cindy and Steve Lyons, and Merryl Snow Zegar and Charles Zegar. The concert was also presented in association with CAMA, Congregation B’nai B’rith, and the Taubman Foundation Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB.

The IPO orchestra was founded in 1936 by Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman. His dream was “to unite the desire of the country for an orchestra with the desire of the Jewish musicians for a country.” He had to persuade countless first-chair musicians of Eastern European and German orchestras who had lost their jobs because of Nazism, to immigrate to Palestine. Huberman had an orchestra of soloists. Years later, under the direction of Zubin Mehta, they continued to absorb musicians from around the world.

Zubin was also born in 1936 in Bombay, receiving his first musical education from his father, who was an esteemed concert violinist and founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra. He eventually went to Vienna in 1954, entering a conducting program. He won a competition in 1958. By 1961, he had already conducted the Vienna, Berlin, and Israel Philharmonic orchestras. He has celebrated 50 years of collaboration with all three ensembles and has conducted more than 3,000 concerts with the IPO.

The program featured Amit Poznansky, Mozart, and Schubert, that garnered a standing ovation and an encore. The Producer’s Circle gathered in the courtyard after for wine and canapés, and to meet Mehta and some of the cast. Natalie Myerson (97 years young) told Mehta that she knew his mom and dad, to which he quipped, “My parents had lovely friends.” That made her day!

This was just one of the many programs UCSB Arts & Lectures puts on throughout the year. There’s something for everyone. Check out

Producer’s Circle members Jana Young, Hillary Hauser, and Sam Carey after the IPO concert
Natalie Myerson (age 97) telling conductor Zubin Mehta that she knew his mom and dad; he quickly responded, “My parents had lovely friends”

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