Supporters of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra from the UK and abroad enjoyed an evening of music and conversation at The Savoy in central London to honour Zubin Mehta, who has announced that he will retire as IPO musical director in 2019 after 50 years with the orchestra.
Violinist Julian Rachlin and pianist Khatia Buniatishvili performed some of Mr Mehta’s favourite pieces at the celebration, organised by the British Friends of the IPO, which raised more than £275,000.
Interviewed by actor Henry Goodman, Mr Mehta described the orchestra as a “democratised organisation that financially has nothing to do with the state. We look after ourselves. Thank God we have friends.”
Marsha Lee, chair of the British Friends, said that “as a world-leading orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic has power. With power comes responsibility. In this case, it is the power to bring change — change within Israel and around the world.”
Among lots bid for at the auction, conducted by Sotheby’s Europe chair Helen Newman, were a weekend at Mr Mehta’s home in the hills of Florence and a private concert by IPO musicians at a London or Tel Aviv residence.