Superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel is reconsidering future engagements in Israel after being interrogated by security services upon arriving in and leaving from Ben Gurion airport.
Dudamel, 32, who is music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, was in Israel to conduct the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra for a week-long series of eight concerts in January. According to Haaretz he may have been singled out at the airport because he is a citizen of Venezuela and he is now considering not returning to Israel until relations have improved between the two countries.
In a statement to Haaretz, the Philharmonic claimed that Dudamel should have been carrying his letter of invitation from the orchestra. In a February 13 blog post, however, music journalist Norman Lebrecht wrote that “We are assured that he was carrying the letter.” What’s more, Lebrecht wrote, “a representative of the orchestra was with him from the moment he left the plane.”
It used to be that being boycotted wasn’t any fun. Having protesters wave placards outside your shop was a mark of shame that could be quite effective in forcing a change in policy.
But Palestinian Solidarity activists’ interruption of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s September 1 performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall seems to have seriously boomeranged. British media outlets such as the BBC — which broadcasted the event on radio until cutting the feed due repeated disruptions — described a frustrated audience of classical music lovers who supported the musicians and objected to the forced politicization of their night out. UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, who was in the audience that evening, wrote on Twitter during the performance that, “Demonstrators seem to have turned entire audience pro-Israel.”
To get a first-hand impression of the evening, The Arty Semite caught up with Mitsunori Kambe, a Japanese percussionist playing in the IPO, who described the experience as “musical theater.”
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The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, but what does its future hold?
LABA, a Jewish house of study for culture-makers at New York’s 14th Street Y, has come out with the second edition of its journal on the never-boring theme of Eros. Contents include Forward-contributor Elissa Strauss on Lilith, the “world’s very first woman on top,” Ruby Nadar on Eve and the serpent, and Stephen Hazan Arnoff on what happens when you invite women into rock and roll’s boy’s club.