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The Lively Arts: Literature and Music in Tel Aviv
Practically from its inception, residents of Tel Aviv were able to partake of a rich cultural life. Some of the leading lights of modern Hebrew literature settled there, among them the philosopher Asher Ginzberg (1856-1927) – better known by his pen name, Ahad Ha‛am – and the national poet Hayyim Nahman Bialik (1873-1934). Amateur and professional theater and dance troupes performed before enthusiastic audiences as well. A thriving classical music scene also emerged in Tel Aviv, offering chamber music recitals, stagings of operas, and symphony concerts. The city’s preeminent musical organization was the Palestine Orchestra (later the Israel Philharmonic), founded in 1936 by the Polish violinist Bronisław Huberman. Its first concert, on December 26, 1936, was led by the famous conductor Arturo Toscanini. Many of Tel Aviv’s musicians were refugees from Nazi Germany; one whose name appeared frequently in concert programs was Max (Menahem) Pressler, the Magdeburg-born pianist who later co-founded the renowned Beaux Arts Trio. The Tel Aviv Museum, located in an International Style house erected by the city’s mayor, Meir Dizengoff, was a regular concert venue.
The house of the “national poet” Hayyim Nahman Bialik (1873-1934), located on Bialik Street in Tel Aviv. A native of Ukraine and long-time resident of the port city of Odessa, Bialik settled in Tel Aviv in 1924. (Source: Avraham Soskin, Tel Aviv, 1926.)
Promotional flyer for the Palestine Orchestra Association’s inaugural season, 1936-1937. Founded by the Polish-Jewish violinist Bronisław Huberman, its first concert was conducted by Arturo Toscanini, in December 1936. Now it is known as the Israel Philharmonic.