Protest planned for Israel Philharmonic concert at Disney Hall

Conductor Zubin Mehta leads the Israel Philharmonic in 2011 at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Wherever the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra goes, protests seem to follow. Concert-goers planning to attend Tuesday’s performance by the orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall can expect to see a colorful outdoor demonstration of activists who say they oppose Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.

A group of protesters is planning to congregate on the sidewalk outside Disney Hall starting around 7 p.m. Organizers said they are expecting 35 to 50 people who will engage in various forms of demonstration and street-theater protest.

Tuesday’s concert, which begins at 8 p.m., will feature the Israel Philharmonic, led by Zubin Mehta, in performances of pieces by Schubert, Chopin and Brahms. Pianist Yuja Wang will join the orchestra as a soloist. Mehta is the Israel Philharmonic’s music director for life and is former music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic who served from 1962 to 1978.


A similar protest took place last year during the Israeli orchestra’s last visit to L.A. The orchestra regularly attracts demonstrators when it tours abroad. Last week, protesters reportedly demonstrated outside New York’s Carnegie Hall, where the orchestra also performed with Wang.

Tuesday’s planned protest in L.A. is being spearheaded by local groups. Representatives are demanding that the city of L.A. cease hosting cultural groups from Israel. Marsha Steinberg, one of the organizers, said in an interview that she regards Israel as “an apartheid nation” because of its policies toward Palestinians in the region.

The L.A. Philharmonic is hosting the Israeli orchestra as part of its regular season. A spokeswoman for the L.A. Philharmonic did not respond to a request for comment.


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