Article - The Philarmonic Orchestra
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which has been called "Israel's most cherished cultural possession," celebrated its 25th anniversary in December, 1961. It was founded in 1936 by the eminent violinist Bronislaw Huberman with the main aim of salvaging Jewish musicians who had been forced through Nazi oppression to leave their posts. Comprising 72 musicians from 14 different countries when the Orchestra was formed, it numbered 104 in 1961.
On December 26, 1936, Arturo Toscanini conducted the inaugural concert in Tel Aviv, returning the following year, and since that time the most celebrated conductors and soloists have appeared with the Orchestra while Israel artists and the works of Israel composers always find an honored place in the programs.
The international stature of the Orchestra has been confirmed by its several foreign tours. In 1951 the group toured the United States of America and Canada; in 1955 it toured nine countries in Europe while in 1959 it appeared at the Athens Music Festival and at the beginning of 1960 it made a tour of the neighboring island of Cyprus. In the autumn and winter of 1960 the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra undertook its most ambitious project, making a tour around the world which took it from France to the USA, through Canada and Mexico and then through Japan and India, being everywhere acclaimed as an outstanding cultural accomplishment of the State of Israel.
The place that the Orchestra holds in the life of Israel itself is shown by the fact that all the subscription concerts in the three main cities of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa are sold out at the beginning of each season and that the Orchestra can count no less than 25,000 subscribers throughout the country.
Important in the musical life of the country and of the Orchestra was the opening in October 1957 of the Frederic R. Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv where, after 21 years of "wandering," the Orchestra at last has its own home and where the majority of its concerts take place.
The stamp is a symbolic composition made up of orchestral instruments. The tab inscription is: "25eme Anniversaire de L'Orchestre Philharmonique Israelien" in Hebrew and French.