Crossposted from Haaretz
Quietly, almost imperceptibly, a new Israeli symphony orchestra is emerging. Given the minuscule government budget allocated to local musical ensembles, there will surely be some people who will be unhappy about this: Many advocate the “divide and conquer” ideology that seeks to close down orchestras or at least combine a few together, so that the meager funding available does not have to be spread among too many. Who needs another orchestra here, they say, when the existing ones are starving to death? On the other hand, some people are skeptical about the assumption that reduction of the number of entities will actually increase the share allocated to the remaining bodies — because who can guarantee that the budget will remain at its original level should the number of institutions it supports drops?
In Ramat Gan, it turns out, there has been no such speculation. Indeed, the mayor, Zvi Bar, together with the director of the city’s education department, Moshe Bodega, have set about to establish a symphony orchestra with full funding from the municipality. This is how the Ramat Gan Symphony Orchestra came into being, first as a youth ensemble, then an amateur orchestra, and now a budding professional orchestra.