A “global gala” fundraiser, produced by the IPO Foundation in collaboration with the American Friends of the IPO and hosted by Academy Award-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren, launched the current concert season this week.
The video presentation, which had to overcome a cyber attack, launched on June 28 and is presently streaming on the IPO’s website and YouTube through the end of July.
Throughout the concert, musicians of the IPO spoke about the importance of support provided by the IPO Friends organization.
Dame Helen introduced both the program and the IPO’s newly inaugurated music director, Maestro Lahav Shani, who has replaced the legendary Zubin Mehta -- the IPO’s first and longest serving (since 1968) music director.
Later, during a brief intermission from the music, Mirren recited a poem by the Persian poet Rumi.
The concert itself kicked off with a contemporary piece that is hardly a staple of the classical music repertoire - the song "Ladies in Lavender," played by Israeli pianist Pinhas Zuckerman and his wife, cellist Amanda Forsyth, accompanied by piano.
Composed by Nigel Hess, the melody is actually the soundtrack of the 2004 movie by the same name.
Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman, who did not perform, spoke to the audience briefly in Hebrew. Like Zuckerman, he indicated that he would be coming to Israel when travel restrictions are eased.
Perlman was followed by pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, who performed the familiar Clair de Lune by Debussy, and pianist Yefim Bronfman playing a nocturne by Chopin.
Violinists Gil Shaham and Adèle Anthony then performed a meditation from the opera Thais, by Jules Massennet.
The concert resumed after Mirren’s poetic declamation with Maestro Shani at the piano, accompanied by a string quartet, playing a piano quintet by Dvorak.
Another quartet, the Austrian String Quartet, then joined israeli soprano Chen Reiss in the song “Life is Beautiful.”
This was followed by pianist Sir Andras Schiff performing a rondo by Mozart, clarinetist Martin Fröst with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra playing a klezmer piece, and pianist Evgeny Kissin playing preludes for the piano by Gershwin.
The concert concluded with a tribute from Maestro Zubin Mehta and the entire IPO, under the baton of Maestro Shani, performing a movement from Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 and a final, rousing rendition of HaTikvah, Israel's national anthem.