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(photo credit: Courtesy photo)
For Israel Philharmonic Orchestra musical director Zubin Mehta, getting the world's great conductors on the podium with the IPO isn't enough.
"We have to bring up the next generation," he said at a press gathering last week about the IPO's next season, "and it's important to us that the orchestra loves the conductor."
Orchestras love Gustavo Dudamel, and the good news is that the celebrated Venezuelan conductor, who's all of 26, will be back in December to conduct three programs featuring music by Mahler, Mozart, Beethoven and Stravinsky. Another youngster, this one making his IPO debut, will be Finland's 28-year old Mikko Franck, who'll conduct two programs next April.
Other conductors on the IPO roster for next season include BBC Philharmonic conductor Gianandrea Noseda, the American Steven Sloane and Italian conductor Roberto Abbado, who's performed with the Philadelphia, San Francisco and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras. As he usually does, Mehta himself will conduct the opening and closing concerts of the season, as well as a concert version of two Verdi operas, Don Carlo (next January) and Aida (February).
The IPO will perform four Israeli works over the course of the 2007-2008 season, including Yosef Tal's Symphony No. 5 at the season opener October 8. The others are Jan Friedlin's "Poem of Contrasts," Dov Selzer's "Evening of Life" and a Benjamin Yusupov concerto commissioned for the cellist Mischa Maisky, who will premiere the piece next March.
Next May will be the country's 60th birthday, which the IPO will celebrate with luminaries such as Valery Gergiev and Kurt Masur on the podium. Israel's own Itzhak Perlman will be back during the coming season as well, as conductor this time, overseeing Danish violinist Nikolaj Znaider playing Mendelssohn. Concert programs will feature lots of Mahler, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Bach and Schubert, of course. Some 20th century music is in there as well, including Schnittke's Viola Concerto, Shostakovich's monumental Leningrad Symphony and William Walton's Cello Concerto.
Soloists include clarinetist Sharon Kam, violinist Gil Shoham, pianist and conductor Andras Schiff and, making her IPO debut, 28-year-old American violinist Hilary Hahn.
Aside from its regular classical series, chamber music concerts and the popular IPO in Jeans, the orchestra will also present a new five-concert series featuring music from periods including the Baroque and the Romantic.
The current season, the IPO's celebratory 70th, ends this month with a semi-staged version of Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio with Mehta conducting, and then two gala concerts July 26 and 28 that will feature Yosef Bardanashvili's Flute Concerto and Mahler's Second Symphony, "The Resurrection."
The end of its season at home doesn't mean inactivity for the IPO: musicians will then be off on a grueling European tour involving 23 concerts in 32 days, including an invitation to Stuttgart's Mahler Festival in late August.
Next summer should bring more of the same, with the IPO already slated to perform at the 2008 World's Fair in Spain and three concerts at the Sydney Opera House.