Vienna remembers founder of Israel Philharmonic

Vienna remembers founder of Israel Philharmonic


norman lebrecht

May 09, 2022

The city of Vienna has honoured the violinist Bronislaw Huberman, the soloist who in the 1930s rescued as many as 100 Jewish musicians from Europe and formed them into the Israel Philharmonic.

Vienna’s Mayor Michael Ludwig inaugurated a commemorative plaque in the courtyard of Hetzendorf Castle in Meidling at a ceremony on Friday. Among those present was the present conductor of the IPO, Lahav Shani.

Ludwig called Huberman ‘a great humanist and European’.


  • Pedro says:

    Burghauser convinced Toscanini to travel to the Middle East where he conducted the first concerts of the then Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra. He had played with him in Vienna, Salzburg and Budapest.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      Googling on Hugo Burghauser reveals that he was a bassoonist and president of the Vienna Philharmonic from 1933 to 1938, emigrating to the U.S. in 1941.

      Good on Vienna for recognizing Huberman’s greatness, even if the recognition is long overdue.

    • Malcolm Jay Kottler says:

      In his biography of Toscanini, Harvey Sachs credits John F. Royal, an executive with the National Broadcasting Company in New York, with suggesting to Bronislaw Huberman that he approach Toscanini about conducting the initial concerts of the Palestine Orchestra. Huberman wrote to Toscanini and then met with him. Sachs writes “Toscanini immediately declared his enthusiasm for the project, and when Huberman mentioned the word ‘fee’, Toscanini said he would accept no payment and would travel to Palestine at his own expense. Huberman made the news public on 22 February 1936…” (Harvey Sachs, Toscanini, Musician of Conscience, p. 631).

      I am unaware of any role played by Hugo Burghauser in Toscanini’s conducting the Palestine Orchestra.

  • David K. Nelson says:

    It is very important to keep the name of Bronislaw Huberman green and fresh. It was he who clarified all the issues when Furtwängler had pulled all sorts of strings – actually amazing when you think of it – and got the Nazis to agree to permit having Huberman as soloist. Huberman refused and wrote a remarkable letter: “The question of a more or less inspired interpretation of a violin concerto is only one of many aspects which obscures the essential problem. The issues are the most basic preconditions of our European culture ….” I am sure the Nazis really bristled at that “our European culture” phrase, which in turn is likely exactly why Huberman chose to use it.

    Nonetheless it does seem to me that with all the very proper emphasis on Huberman as a great man, what he accomplished as a violinist tends to get more and more forgotten. How many today have heard what he could do with the “Kreutzer” Sonata for example?