Rochelle and David Hirsch
Arlene and Alan Alda
Florence and Dr. Philip Felig
Judy and Michael Steinhardt
with AFIPO executive director Suzanne K. Ponsot
AFIPO president David Hirsch,
board member Lynn Syms, and cellist Felix Nemirovsky
Tells How IPO Began
With A Single Dream Just Like The Nation
AVID A. HIRSCH
knows how to begin a speech. He quoted a great statesman who once
said, "I was asked to speak, and you are stuck in the audience.
Hopefully we will finish at the same time."
Mr. Hirsch, president of the
American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, presided over
the New York benefit for the IPO in October at Alice Tully Hall in
Lincoln Center. He introduced the conductor, the handsome Julian
Rachlin, as a special treat for half the audience: "Ladies, he
Rachlin, 39, a native of
Vilnius, Lithuania, has lived in Vienna since 1978. Also a solo
violinist, he has performed with the IPO numerous times.
The stage was set with 25
members of the string section. "Our orchestra," Hirsch said, "is
getting younger rather than older. This is unique in the classical
Hirsch then beamed up Dr.
Spock, I mean Leonard Nimoy, who talked about the origin of
the IPO. He said that the orchestra "not only brought the arts to
the Jewish people in the desert but it also saved over a thousand
Jews from the Holocaust."
It was due to the courage and
vision of one man, a Polish Jew named Bronislaw Huberman,
"the most famous violin player in the world." The Nazis purged
Jewish musicians from orchestras across the continent, but invited
Huberman to continue to work for them in Germany.
Starting in 1933 Huberman
performed around the world, raising enough money to bring a thousand
musicians, one by one, to the Holy Land. That was the beginning of
the orchestra. It gave its first performance on December 26, 1936,
under the legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini.
"A brilliant symphony starts
with a single note," Nimoy said. "A great nation starts with a
Alan Alda served as
narrator for the evening’s program of Antonio Vivaldi’s
The Four Seasons to the delight of 475 concertgoers including
Jane Stern Lebell, Judith B. Resnick, Emily and Eugene Grant,
Lauren and John Veronis, Claudio Pincus, Eugene Grant,
Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert, Michael Steinhardt,
Fanya Gottesfeld Heller, Dr. Philip and Florence Felig,
Rosalind Devon and Sanford Batkin, Rochelle and
Richard Hirsch, Rita and Charles Bronfman, Lynn Syms, and
Israel Bonds chairman Richard and Elaine Hirsch,
Allison and Leonard Stern, Bonnie and Steven Stern,
Elaine Wolfensohn, and Jean Shafiroff, Jo Carole and
Ronald Lauder, and Israeli Ambassador to UN Ron Prosor.