In the mid-1930s, the Polish violinist Bronisław Huberman tried to persuade Eastern European and German orchestral musicians who had lost their jobs due to Nazi policies to emigrate to Palestine in order to create a new orchestra there. The Palestine Orchestra that was formed in this way gave its inaugural concert on 26 December 1936, under the direction of Arturo Toscanini; with Israeli independence in 1948, it was renamed the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Today the orchestra is the most important cultural ambassador of the State of Israel. A close collaboration linked it for nearly half a century with Leonard Bernstein, who from the mid-1940s until his death in October 1990 conducted numerous concerts and, starting in 1988, held the title of Honorary
Conductor. Zubin Mehta, who made his debut with the orchestra in 1961, was appointed Principal Conductor in 1977. He was succeeded in 2020 by Lahav Shani, who performs a broad repertoire with the orchestra, ranging from Haydn to contemporary music. Renowned conductors regularly appear as guest artists with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, such as Kirill Petrenko, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Susanna Mälkki, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, and Sir András Schiff in the 2022-23 season. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra gives subscription concerts in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa and performs at major music festivals around the world. Through its education and outreach program, the orchestra shows its commitment to engaging with young audiences, as well as to inclusion and social justice projects.

Lucerne Festival (IMF) debut on 2 September 1971 in a concert of works by Ami Ma’Ayani, Felix Mendelssohn, and Béla Bartók, with Zubin Mehta conducting.

July 2023