Philadelphia Orchestra: focus of Israel tour will be music, not politics

Posted on: May 21, 2018

“Never in recent memory has the Philadelphia Orchestra embarked on its spring tour with such a seemingly fraught final destination—a week of concerts and ancillary activities in Israel, amid renewed hostilities with Gaza,” writes David Patrick Stearns in Friday’s (5/18) Philadelphia Inquirer. “The May 24-June 5 tour of Europe and Israel has the usual ports of call, from Luxembourg to Vienna, before a long-planned June 3-5 leg in Israel…. There is, of course, the matter of security. At the moment, orchestra members plan a school visit less than 10 miles from Gaza—though tour coordinators say everything is up for revision pending security concerns…. Last week [there were] at least 60 Palestinian deaths … and the controversial opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Even before that, pro-Palestinian activists had been protesting outside nearly all of the orchestra’s Kimmel Center concerts for the last several weeks…. Orchestra officials are resolute that the tour is not political…. In an official statement, the orchestra said, ‘We understand and acknowledge the sensitive nature of certain current events. Through the universal language of music, we hope that we can speak out against violence and bigotry and express our hope for unity and tranquility in the region.’  ”

Posted May 21, 2018