The Yolanda and David Katz Faculty of the Arts

The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music
In collaboration with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Honorary President: Zubin Mehta


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  The International Program

"In the Footsteps of Their Forefathers"

Haaretz, Wednesday, February 03, 2010 by Noam Ben Zeev

Tchaikovsky's music has not become obsolete. His works, like those of his contemporaries Chekhov and Dostoyevsky, have endured beyond the time and place of their creation, and every performance brings new revelations for the listener. With the entrance of the solo horn in the second movement of the Fifth Symphony, and as the movement develops with ever-increasing intensity and pathos towards the climax and then recedes, all the senses exclaim: here is a masterpiece! Especially in such a splendid performance as yesterday's, by the Symphony Orchestra of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music (the Tel Aviv Academy), whose members played like angels in this movement, and Mehta conducted them with perfection, making them into a real orchestra – and an excellent one, at that.

Despite this, throughout the concert, an all-Tchaikovsky program, including the Violin Concerto in a wonderful performance by the young Finnish soloist Petteri Iivonen, a strange feeling pervaded, as if this were a weird dream or theatre of the absurd. Tchaikovsky was not presented here from the perspective of musicians who know Stravinsky and Bartok, Takamichu and Penderecki, Louis Andriessen and Pierre Boulez and Bruno Maderna and Arvo Pärt. No. It was clear that this was these students' world, the aesthetic and spiritual world of the 19th century; as if the stylistic and tonal earthquake of the 20th century was shaken off as from a Teflon surface, without leaving a trace.

Good Lord, in a few years the members of this orchestra will be musicians born in the 21st century. Will they also skip back two centuries in time, under Mehta's conducting, and be stuck in Tchaikovsky? Or will they stomp their feet and demand to live in the present? Will their professors turn their backs to educational responsibility and raise them to be deaf and blind to their own period in order to play like their ancestors?

The event was impressive. Mehta spoke with his usual charm. Josef Buchmann, whose donation of millions redeemed the Academy and financed full tuition for all of the participants, granted scholarships. The Mann Auditorium was full, and the performance was wonderful. However, the aftertaste was bitter, as it always is when one partakes in an event lacking significance.

The Symphony Orchestra of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music.

Program: Tchaikovsky. Conductor: Zubin Mehta; Soloist: Petteri Iivonen, violin.

(Translation: Bilha Rubinstein)


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