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Henry ‘Zvi’ Haftel (13th November 1911 – 28th September 1975) was a founding member of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra(IPO) and its guiding spirit for many years.

At the invitation of Bronislaw Huberman, founder of the IPO, he joined the orchestra in 1936.

The renowned and acclaimed conductor Arturo Toscanini recommended Henry Haftel’s appointment as concertmaster, a position he held until 1968.

Even during his lifetime, Haftel was considered a ‘legend’ of the IPO. As well as a leader and soloist, he was also chairman of the IPO musicians committee and a member of the board of directors.

“Quite a unique feat”, reported the New York Times, “ The only concertmaster who is at the same time the manager of the orchestra”.

Henry Haftel

Musical Career

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

When the state of Israel was born in 1948, the name of the orchestra was changed to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Haftel led the orchestra to perform Hatikvah at the official ceremony of Israel’s Declaration of Independence on 14th May 1948 at Tel Aviv Musuem. On 20th November 1948, a few days after Israel’s liberation, the Israel Philhamonic Orchestra performed a moving concert on the dunes of Beer Sheba.