The Philadelphia sound in the Israel Philharmonic

The Philadelphia sound in the Israel Philharmonic


norman lebrecht

September 25, 2021

Principal viola Miriam Hartman Beazley has been a larger-than-life personality in the Israel Philharmonic for 36 years, trusted by leading conductors and engaged to the max in every concert.

Here, for the first time, Miriam talks about her viola trail from Liberty Bell to Lev Tel Aviv.

Skip the four minutes of intros. Miriam cuts to the chase.



  • Janet says:

    thank you Norman for sharing this captivating video interview.

  • sam says:

    One thing always intrigued me, why the IPO, given its history, its mission, its prominence and the ideology of its members, chose as music director, and for so long, Zubin Mehta, when if there is no shortage of in this world that would be top flight Jewish conductors?

    Were Barendoim, Bernstein, Solti, Kemperer, Walter, etc, just not interested?

    • Ari Bocian says:

      Barenboim, Bernstein, and Solti guest conducted at the IPO a number of times during their respective careers. But I imagine the main reason they weren’t considered for, or interested in, a full-time music director post was because of their commitments elsewhere. Barenboim had the English Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestre de Paris, Bernstein had the NY and Vienna Philharmonics, and Solti had the Chicago Symphony and Covent Garden. As for Klemperer and Walter, well, Walter died in 1962 (around the time Mehta started conducting in Israel), and Klemperer was already in his 80’s and almost incapacitated from the various falls and injuries he accumulated over the years. Plus, he was busy revitalizing his career (and establishing his legacy) with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

      My final point: while I blow hot and cold with Mehta’s conducting, I do believe he deserves enormous credit for helping to make the Israel Philharmonic into a first-class orchestra. His dedication to that endeavor is quite praiseworthy, regardless of whether or not the results were always pleasurable or consistent.

    • Amos says:

      Late in his life Walter was a practicing Rosicrucian. As for Klemperer, I recall a story in which he asked about conducting the IPO and was told that most Jewish conductors invited to guest conduct donated their fees. He supposedly replied that he was a practicing agnostic but still too Jewish to comply with the tradition.

  • Oded says:

    Miriam is a great player and a great person!!!

  • Dodi Klimoff says:

    Gratz College was honored to work with Miriam in producing this program. It offers a fascinating perspective to the history of the State of Israel and to the power of music to bring people together.

    • Ben G. says:

      Yes Dodi, Gratz College certainly did their best to allow Miriam to passionately speak as the “voice” of the IPO.

      She contributes a wealth of information about the past, present, and future of this exceptional ensemble, which has undergone many difficulties during its lifetime in becoming recognized throughout the world.

      BTW, it was wonderful meeting you last month on Prospect Ave!

  • Michel Lemieux says:

    A great violist. She constantly clashed with Mehta who told her she was playing “too loud.” She is much happier under Shani.

  • Martinu says:

    Thanks for sharing the video – wonderful!
    Re. the question below, about why Zubin and not others – of the names mentioned – Walter and Klemperer were never invited because they converted to Christianity (“Meshumadim”) – unbelievable but true.
    Klemperer once asked to conduct the IPO, but was refused, because he converted to Christianity. And what about Kousevitzky, he asked – he is a Meshumed too – the answer was that Kousevitzky conducted the IPO for free. Klemperer’s reply was – I’m still Jewish enough not to do it..