Film builds anticipation for Israel Philharmonic Performance

by | Apr 7, 2014 | Other News

Roger, Naomei and Marion Lidman.

Roger, Naomei and Marion Lidman.

More than 200 community members attended the Tuesday, Feb. 25 screening of the documentary Orchestra of Exiles at the Simon Family JCC.

The film, which explores the story behind the founding of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, helped build excitement for the Philharmonic’s scheduled appearance on April 2 at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach. The Philharmonic’s performance was collaboratively sponsored by the Virginia Arts Festival and the Simon Family JCC, and a featured part of the JCC’s Celebrate Israel series.

The Community Relations Council and the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, with the Simon Family JCC, presented the free Orchestra of Exiles screening. The evening’s program was elevated by a pre-film performance by Virginia Symphony Orchestra violinist Pavel Ilyashov and a post-film discussion with Academy Award nominated Orchestra director and writer, Josh Aronson.

Aronson discovered the little-known history of the Israel Philharmonic less than 10 years ago, and, as a filmmaker, felt the story deserved to be shared with as many people as possible.

In the film, Aronson reveals—through reenactments, archival footage and present- day interviews—the story of Bronislaw Huberman, a Polish violinist who conv i n c e d Jewish musicians to flee from Europe during the Holocaust. Huberman took the Jews to Palestine, where he founded the Palestine Symphony Orchestra , today known as the Israel Philharmonic.

“I liked both the historical parts of the movie and the music,” says Naomei Lidman. “Some parts of the film were brutal, because it took place during the Holocaust, but I really liked Huberman— he was such a great leader and he helped a lot of people.”

Naomei, a 12-year-old Blair Middle school student who attended the screening with her parents Marion and Roger, discovered she had a special link to Huberman and to some of the greatest violinists performing today. Naomei’s violin teacher is violinist Ilyashov, who says some of his own greatest teachers were students of Bronislaw Huberman.

For a line-up of the Celebrate Israel series, visit

by Laine M. Rutherford