In December 1996, a plethora of virtuoso violinists came together to celebrate the 60th birthday of the prestigious Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. From towering figures like Isaac Stern (a regular collaborator of the ensemble's for half a century!), Pinchas Zukerman, and Itzhak Perlman, to then-rising talents like Maxim Vengerov (here just in his 20s!), Shlomo Mintz, and Gil Shaham, the soloists took the stage to perform some of the greatest works composed for multiple soloists. At the podium? Daniel Barenboim and Zubin Mehta, the orchestra's music director for 50 years.
The evening begins with Weber’s Oberon Overture, a nod to the orchestra’s very first concert performed in 1936 under Toscanini’s baton. Isaac Stern then takes the stage alongside the young Gil Shaham for Bach’s Double Violin Concerto. Shlomo Mintz, Gil Shaham, the very young Maxim Vengerov, and Menahem Breuer follow up with Vivaldi’s unforgettable Concerto for Four Violins. Pinchas Zukerman and Ariel Shamai continue the evening with Mozart’s Serenade No. 6, “Serenata Notturna”, and the legendary duo of Itzhak Perlman and Zukerman offer their interpretation of the Handel/Halvorsen Passacaille for violin and viola. Finally, Brahms’s Second Symphony crowns this bejeweled musical evening heavy with historic symbolism.
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