Bronislaw Huberman and the formation of the Israeli Philharmonic

Janet Horvath_019#2 4x5Guest Blogger: Janet Horvath is the author of Playing Less Hurt. Below is a blog post she did on her blog at Interlude.

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.

Keep reading this article on Interlude!

Playing Less Hurt

Making music at any level is a powerful gift. While musicians have endless resources for learning the basics of their instruments and the theory of music, few books have explored the other subtleties and complexities that musicians face in their quest to play with ease and skill. The demands of solitary practice, hectic rehearsal schedules, challenging repertoire, performance pressures, awkward postures, and other physical strains have left a trail of injured, hearing-impaired, and frustrated musicians who have had few resources to guide them.

Playing Less Hurt addresses this need with specific tools to avoid and alleviate injury. Impressively researched, the book is invaluable not only to musicians, but also to the coaches and medical professionals who work with them. Everyone from dentists to orthopedists, audiologists to neurologists, massage therapists and trainers will benefit from Janet Horvath’s coherent account of the physiology and psyche of a practicing musician. Writing with knowledge, sympathetic insight, humor, and aplomb, Horvath has created an essential resource for all musicians who want to play better and feel better.



Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on February 5, 2013, in Classical & Opera and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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