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New Symphony Debuts in Israel; All Its Members Are Soviet Olim

July 11, 1990
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A new symphony orchestra made up entirely of emigre musicians from the Soviet Union drew a sell-out crowd of 1,000 to its concert debut at the Tel Aviv Museum on Monday night.

Some 600 music lovers packed the auditorium, among them Tel Aviv Mayor Shlomo Lahat and Simcha Dinitz, chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executive. Another 400 listened and watched on closed-circuit television in a nearby hall.

Vladimir Pavlov, deputy head of the Soviet Consular Mission in Tel Aviv, greeted the new immigrant players in fluent Hebrew.

The 65 musicians arrived in Israel within the past six months, some only a few weeks ago. All are professionals, having been members of symphony orchestras in Moscow, Leningrad, Odessa, Riga and other cities.

The ensemble’s founder and conductor, Georgi Gotchridje, came to Israel six months ago after managing and conducting the Odessa Symphony Orchestra for 10 years.

The first concert was sponsored by the Tel Aviv Development Foundation, which provided the musicians with instruments and clothing to replace what was left behind in the Soviet Union.

Although it is being helped financially by the foundation, Gotchridje admitted the future of the new orchestra is not clear.

He said he hoped to transform it into a light classical ensemble that would tour development towns and kibbutzim and not compete with Israel’s established orchestras.

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