Bronislaw Huberman and the formation of the Israeli Philharmonic
Posted by HLPAPG
The legendary violinist and peace activist Bronislaw Huberman was born in Poland December 19, 1882 of Jewish parents. His prodigious talent was manifest at a very early age and it soon became evident that he needed the best teacher in Europe. In 1892 his parents took him to Berlin to study with the pre-eminent and irascible violin teacher Joseph Joachim. Even though the ten-year-old child dazzled Joachim, the teacher and student didn’t get along. When Huberman turned fourteen he left his teacher to begin touring as a virtuoso, never returning to study.
Huberman’s extraordinary career took him all over Europe including in Palestine in 1929. The land mesmerized him and his hope was to establish culture and classical music there. As the dark days of the Nazi party loomed in the 1930’s Huberman presaged the horrific fate of the Jewish people. Hitler’s agenda made itself more and more evident between 1933 -1936. Huberman made extreme efforts to save Jewish musicians and get them out of Europe. He declined invitations to perform in Germany with the prominent conductor Wilhelm Furwängler and he dared speak out to the German intelligentsia in an open letter pleading for adherence to the essential values of empathy and humanity.
Foreseeing the immense tragedy unfolding before his eyes, Huberman attempted to raise funds and awareness for an orchestra in Palestine.
Huberman performed countless concerts all over the world and in October of 1934, he traveled to America to play an amazing forty-two concerts in sixty days. He performed with the New York Philharmonic, Bruno Walter conducting and chamber music with famed pianist Arthur Schnabel. After recording, one day, Huberman met John Royal from NBC for lunch. Huberman waxed eloquent about his dream for the Palestine Orchestra. When he asked Royal who he thought should conduct the first performance of the orchestra Royal replied, “Why not ask Toscanini to conduct for you?” Huberman had not expected an enthusiastic response from the great maestro. But Toscanini was a pre-eminent figure in the anti-fascist movement. Due to his firm beliefs he had refused to conduct at the Wagner festival in Bayreuth in 1933. Toscanini thought that the performance of an “orchestra of émigrés” would be a powerful anti-Nazi statement.
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Posted on February 5, 2013, in Classical & Opera and tagged Arthur Schnabel, Bronislaw Huberman, Bruno Walter, Europe, Germany, Hal Leonard Books, interlude, israeli philharmonic, janet horvath, Jewish, John Royal, Joseph Joachim, Nazi, NBC, New York Philharmonic, Palestine, Palestine Orchestra, playing less hurt, Poland, Wagner, Wilhelm Furwängler. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.