Just in: Israel Phil gets a new boss (and Gergiev)

Just in: Israel Phil gets a new boss (and Gergiev)


norman lebrecht

January 25, 2023

The protracted process of shuffling Avi Shoshani into the Mediterranean sunset ended finally today with the appointment of his successor.

The new CEO of the Israel Philharmonic will be Yair Mashiach, presently manager of the Haifa Symphony (where Yoel Levi is the conductor).

The choice of artistic administrator is rather more controversial.

Alisa Meves is on her way to Israel from St Petersburg where she has worked for three decades as personal assistant to Valery Gergiev. Is that a good call? She has all the experience in the world, but Gergeiv is an international pariah over his support for Putin’s wars. Alisa will keep him in the loop at the Israel Phil and possibly try to find him a way back in. This could be interesting.

She is seen in the picture below with Gergiev and the composer Rodion Shchedrin three days before Putin’s invastion of Ukraine.



  • Zvi says:

    For a long time Gergiev is a persona non grata at the IPO not because of his association with Putin but because of too many cancellations, the last of them was only few hours before a concert and after a private jet was sent to fetch him.

  • PS says:

    Is ChatGPT his new assistant?

  • Maria says:

    Ms.Meves left her job and St Petersburg many months ago.you really need to get your facts straight

  • Paul says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that photo was actually taken during the premiere of Shchedrin’s opera “Lolita” in Prague in October of 2019 (or shortly after then, maybe November, but definitely in 2019). In any case, the photo is definitely from the Estates theatre in Prague, and certainly not from a few days before the war broke out.

    • Peter Schünemann says:

      Paul, you are right. The picture was taken at Prague’s Estates Theatre, when Gergiev visited (not the first or second) a performance of Shchedrin’s Lolita in 2019.

  • Enquiring Mind says:

    What is the evidence that Gergiev supports the invasion of Ukraine?

  • Manu says:

    Come on. Alisa Meves is probably the most intelligent, gifted and experienced manager in music bussiness. Just a great hit for IPO.

  • Liad Whatstein says:

    As Israel is rapidly transitioning towards Hungarian-style ‘democracy’, it is perhaps no surprise that the new IPO artistic director is the personal assistant of Putin/Gergiev. Why not add someone from Donald Trump’s entourage to the IPO board to ensure diversity and inclusion?

  • Michel Lemieux says:

    Meves is a shrewd operator and geting Gergiev back is not part of her current agenda.


    Alisa Meves is wildly competent and a boon to any organisation she might choose. It’s been my honour to work along side her in NYC, St. Petersburg and points in between.

    The IPO is very fortunate to have Alisa’s expertise and energy. They’ve chose wisely. Mazel Tov and Chazak!

  • Helen Kamioner says:

    I hope these choices will be good for the Jews.

  • Ari says:

    I thougt that IPO was a professional Orchestra…it seems not.

  • Michael says:

    On many levels, Meves is an embarassing appointment for the Israel Phil.

  • Guest says:

    Alisa is an outstanding person and a hugely gifted manager of organisations and people. Just being PA (woeful understatement) for someone whose life is as insanely busy as Gergiev’s was, while running an enormous public organisation with thousands of employees and 7 (?) venues spread over 1000s of kilometres, run to all intents and purposes as a dictatorship (there is no decision, however small, that does not go through Gergiev’s office) should qualify her for almost any job in an arts organisation. And she actually left her job in St Petersburg many months ago. If you want to over-interpret anything, I would be tempted to wonder why she would choose to leave Russia now (hardly the actions of a rabid pro-Kremlinist…) Certainly she should not be tarred with the same dirty brush as her ex-boss.

  • Alfred Wachs says:

    A picture speaks a 1000 words. That’s all I have to say on the subject.

  • Uzi Shalev says:

    The Israel Philharmonic is warmly and proudly welcoming the new Ceo, Yair Mashiah and the new Artistic Administrator, Alisa Meves. Both are acclaimed professionals, who were chosen by their profound proven skills in the buisness. Any attempt to link them to political issues, is foreign to the art of music.

    • Richard Strauss says:

      Sorry, but any attempt not to link the PA of the Putin protegee to political issues (actually not to political issues – to moral values) is entirely artificial and ‘foreign’ yo reality. This nomination is a clear statement by the IPO and not a welcome one.

  • Guest3 says:

    Funny that some people hide behing the word ”politics” while we talk about the massacre of the Ukrainian people by a cruel dictator called Putin, godfather of Gergiev’s child…. I thought that of all who have suffered from totalitarism, the people of Israel should remember better than that!