Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) - arguably Israel's most cherished cultural possession - was founded in 1936 by the eminent violinist Bronislaw Huberman with the main aim of helping Jewish musicians who had been forced through Nazi oppression to leave their posts. The orchestra initially comprised 75 musicians from 14 different countries when it was formed under the name The Palestine Orchestra.

On December 26, 1936, Arturo Toscanini conducted the inaugural concert in Tel Aviv. The initial concert conducted by Toscanini featured the music of Richard Wagner. However, after the Kristallnacht pogroms in November 1938, the orchestra has maintained a de facto ban on Wagner's work, due to that composer's anti-Semitism and the association of his music with Nazi Germany. During WW-II the Orchestra played 140 concerts in front of allied soldiers, including one in Nov. 1944 in El-Alamein in front of soldiers from the Jewish Brigade. In 1946 the Orchestra’s name was changed to The Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra, and after Israel was established in 1948 the name was changed for the last time to The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Important in the musical life of the country and of the Orchestra was the opening in October 1957 of the Frederic R. Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv ("Hey'chal Ha'Tarbut") where, after 21 years of "wandering," the IPO at last has its own home and where the majority of its concerts take place.

Most celebrated conductors and soloists have appeared with the IPO over the years, while Israel artists and the works of Israel composers always find an honored place in the programs. Particularly associated with the orchestra are conductors Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Mehta. Bernstein maintained close ties with the orchestra from 1947, and in 1988, the IPO bestowed on him the title of Laureate Conductor, which he retained until his death in 1990. Mehta has served as the IPO's Music Advisor since 1968. In 1977 Mehta was appointed the IPO's first Music Director. Later his title was elevated to Music Director for Life. The German conductor Kurt Masur is the IPO's Honorary Guest Conductor, a title granted to him in 1992. Yoel Levi serves as Principal Guest Conductor. The IPO has hosted some of the best soloists in the world, including the Israelis Pinchas Zukerman and Itzhak Perlman.

Arguably the IPO's most moving concert ever took place just after the Six Day War ended, in the Amphitheatre on Mount Scopus (July 1967). Leonard Bernstein conducted Mahler's Resurrection, and Isaac Stern was the soloist.

The stamp was issued in 1961. Designers: M. & G. Shamir.