The IPO Foundation UK



In 1936, Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman stepped back from his successful career as one of the world’s finest soloists in order to create a symphony orchestra in the desert outpost of Palestine, with an inaugural concert conducted by Arturo Toscanini, on 26 December 1936.

With the help of the British Government who granted Huberman certificates of entry into the British Mandate of Palestine, this musical genius with a rare vision took to assembling 75 of the finest Jewish musicians from across Europe – ultimately saving almost 1,000 Jews from the Nazi Holocaust and marking the birth of what we know today as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO).

The orchestra’s first visit to the UK came in 1955, performing at the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall, with conductors Paul Klecki and Paul Paray, alongside violin soloist, Isaac Stern.


This led to the genesis of the British Friends of the IPO and many more welcome visits of the orchestra to the UK, performing with the musical giants of the time, including Zubin Mehta; Arthur Rubinstein; Jacqueline du Pré; Daniel Barenboim; Itzhak Perlman; Leonard Bernstein; Shlomo Mintz; Antonio Pappano; Murray Perahia; Kurt Masur; Nikolaij Znaider and Gil Shaham.

The last major visit of the IPO to the UK was in 2011 for the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta with soloist Gil Shaham.

It is our hope to bring the orchestra back to London for their inaugural visit with Maestro Lahav Shani, IPO Music Director Designate.






The IPO Foundation UK (IPOF-UK) today, represents a growing number of British Friends who champion the IPO as a leading world-class orchestra and Israel’s foremost cultural ambassador promoting peace and open dialogue through the power of music.

“In our troubled times the IPO is a reminder of some of our most basic human values. Through music and art we must try to bring peace, understanding and love to the people of this world. We have to build bridges, not walls.” – Sir András Schiff

The IPOF-UK exists to raise funds and awareness for the IPO and in particular:

  • IPO initiatives to maintain the Orchestra’s standard of musical excellence for concerts in Israel and abroad as well as cultivate emerging talent;
  • IPO education programmes that use music to effect social change and inspire the next generation;
  • IPO multi-faith programmes that bridge cultural divides, promoting tolerance and mutual respect amongst Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel, and worldwide

In London, the IPOF-UK hosts an annual private concert and dinner with special guests in aid of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as an increasing number of special events and musical occasions – in concert halls; private homes; art galleries; select venues – bringing our community of supporters together across the year.






This year marks a pivotal moment in the history of the IPO, as Maestro Zubin Mehta hands the baton to Maestro Lahav Shani after an unprecedented 50 years as Music Director.

 Shani shares in the artistic vision, musical excellence and humanitarian values of the musical giants before him – Huberman; Toscanini; Bernstein and Mehta – the qualities that now embody the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

The IPO Foundation UK wishes to support this momentous new era to help sustain the artistic legacy bequeathed by Mehta and the exciting future that lies ahead, under Shani.

“Shani now has the chance to bring about an evolution at the Israel Philharmonic… an opportunity to connect with a new generation of music lovers.” – New York Times

Through special occasions and concerts in London plus travel abroad, we create unforgettable experiences that bring our friends together in support of the next generation of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.




Join us


Join our family of supporters in the UK and share in incredible moments while enabling our activity to flourish and grow in support of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the power of music in bridging cultural divides.






To join as a British Friend and receive email notification of concerts and events in London, IPO news and season announcements, please click here  




Founding Members


Our Founding Members of a special new scheme, created in 2019, enjoy a variety of shared experiences and private events, while playing an integral role in supporting our work to shine a light on this great orchestra and the social values that are of vital importance today.


“As Founding Members, we hold the baton and conduct the orchestra’s future. Now is the time to stand with the Israel Philharmonic and build bridges between nations and religions, through music” – Marsha Lee, chair IPOF-UK





To Donate


Donations of ANY amount will help our work in raising funds and awareness for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as a leading world-class orchestra, bridging cultural divides through music.

All profit is in aid of the Israel Philharmonic .

Restricted donations to support a particular IPO project or campaign can also be made via the UK.

To make a donation to the IPO Foundation UK, please contact

Watch Now



2019 – The IPO Foundation UK Annual Concert and Dinner at Lambeth Palace, home to the Archbishop of Canterbury, in honour of Lilian Hochhauser CBE FRCM and Victor Hochhauser CBE with special guest musician Sir András Schiff.



2017 – The IPO Foundation UK Annual Concert and Dinner at the Savoy, in honour of Maestro Zubin Mehta with special guest musicians Julian Rachlin and Khatia Buniatishvili.





The IPO Foundation UK Board of Directors


David Cohen

Michael Crystal, Vice-Chairman

Dame Vivien Duffield

Denise EsfandI, Co-Chair

Oded Gera

Tali Gottlieb

Marsha Nuriya Lee, Chair

John Porter


To see our current list of British Friends, please click here




Contact Information



To request further information about the IPO Foundation UK or for a copy of our privacy policy, please contact:

Ruth Fisher:

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