IPO and Yuja Wang at Carnegie Hall

                On October 25th, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra gave a sold out concert at Carnegie Hall, performing under the baton of Maestro Zubin Mehta, a program of some of Judaism’s most spiritual works, demonstrating their undyingly righteous, cultural eminence.

Despite a small group of Anti-Israel protesters that had accumulated across the 57th Street entrance, rallied by

Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel through various press releases, spirits were high inside the hall as the orchestra opened with the Star-Spangled Banner, followed by Hatikva.

 

The Benefit event, organized by the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will support the orchestra’s touring and educational programming, as well as the renovation of its home at Tel Aviv’s Heichal Ha’Tarbut, to be inaugurated in May of 2013.

 

The program of Arnold Schoenberg’s Kol Nidre and Noam Sheriff’s Mechaye Hametim (Revival of the Dead) had already gained broad recognition at the 2012 Salzburger Festspiele, especially with baritone Thomas Hampson’s leading presence, which had been described by New York Times’ James R.Oestreich, as: “virtually embodying an Old Testament Prophet.”Out of the two works, Kol Nidre is the better known one, yet Sheriff’s symphonic work(NY premiere), commissioned in  remembrance of the Holocaust and at the same time a tribute to Jewish culture and national pride proved to be a very organic structure. It incorporated and built upon many different musical motives.  Joining Hampson and the Collegiate Chorale were the Manhattan Girls Chorus and Israeli tenor Carl Hieger, all of whom performed in the Hebrew and Yiddish production, with the composer present.

The original program had been adjusted to include these pieces for the New York event due to their great acclaim in Salzburg and partially because the Collegiate Chorale, founded by Robert Shaw in 1941 and currently directed by James Bagwell, was already present.

In the midst of both Judaic spiritual works, the 25 year old Yuja Wang poured her stupendous virtuosity into Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No.1 in G minor, op.25. Trumping her first Encore, Rossini-Ginsburg Figaros Aria with an even wilder, magnificently Horowitz- inspired Carmen; she had a gasping audience in her hands.   Dressed in red, the audience was able to marvel at her whirlwind arm-and finger movements, emanating from her lean and muscular back. As with the choreography of an Olympian swimmer her moves were small, controlled and superfast.

Though always charming, Zubin Mehta, who has guided the greatest of performers during his now more than 50 years as conductor (he is music director for life with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra), seemed genuinely impressed with his phenomenally skilled, season’s star debutante.

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