Lebrecht to Israel Phil: Reject government funding

Lebrecht to Israel Phil: Reject government funding


norman lebrecht

August 25, 2017

Haaretz has published a summary of a lecture I gave in Jerusalem a couple of months back, assessing the future of arts funding.

Among other points, I urged the Israel Philharmonic and Israel Opera to cut the apron strings of public funding and reclaim their artistic freedom. The arts in Israel are under pressure from the culture minister Miri Regev to show ‘national loyalty’ in exchange for state cash, which many find unacceptable.

The Israeli film industry has boomed by using other resources. The music institutions, however, have been too timid to break free from the nanny state. ‘Government support is choking the Philharmonic,’ I argued. There are plenty of alternative options. With a change of management at both the Philharmonic and the Opera, this is a good time to declare independence.

You can access the Haaretz article here (in  Hebrew).


  • Alvaro Gallegos says:

    And they should play more Israeli composers

  • ivan says:

    Yeah, because film and music industries works the same way… *facepalm*

  • DESR says:

    Why have you started referring to yourself in the third person, on your own blog?

  • Steve P says:

    Government getting out of the arts funding business is a great start anywhere, anytime.

    • Anon says:

      Haha, since the authorities have been funding the arts anywhere at any time. Hahahaha.
      Just don’t do it anymore. It only has worked like that for thousands of years. But Steve got a brainwashing that says government should stay out of anything. Bahahaha.

  • Doug says:

    The Pharisee has spoken! Obey!

  • Alexander Radziewski says:

    Norman, you should know it better that orchestras and especially opera organisations can’t survive without subsidies and even me as an insider can’t recognize a political influence neither towards the program of both organizations nor who will be hired. Do you know more which would explain your position?

  • fred says:

    Miri has a point

    • Leo says:

      Miri Regev enrages so many simply by making obvious what has actually always been the case, yet was mostly covert, in governmental arts funding:

      “He who has his thumb on the purse has the power.” (Otto von Bismarck)

  • Shimon Crown says:

    The culture ministry has decided to stop funding political statements masquerading as art. The scope for such political statements is severely limited in the case of classical music such that the Philharmonic is largely unaffected. Were the Opera to decide to stage a pro terrorist work such as the “Death of Klinghoffer” then there might well be a scandal.