The Philharmonic leaves, then returns to, the Bronfman Auditorium, August 2011 – May 2013

The Charles Bronfman Auditorium, which opened in 1957 in Tel Aviv, is the home of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) and is also the city’s main concert venue. In 2005, it was decided to carry out a major renovation of the concert hall, to improve its acoustics and modernize its look.

The decision sparked a huge multiyear legal battle involving intellectuals, architects and engineers who opposed any significant change to the landmark building. In 2011, the auditorium was closed as renovation work finally began, with restrictions in place regarding the structure’s preservation.

The challenge: To prevent subscribers from drifting away and maintain the allure of concert-going during the long renovation process, when all of the Philharmonic’s Tel Aviv concerts were held in alternative venues. To complicate matters, new obstacles kept cropping up, including construction delays and persistent criticism of the entire project.

Our strategy: To publicize the benefits of the renovation and generate a high level of anticipation regarding the audience experience in the upgraded venue, well before the work was complete. 

Throughout that period, we held interviews with the architect, an expert on acoustics, and kept the media well-informed about the project’s progress. As the building’s reopening approached, we created an intensive media drive that included detailed monitoring of the renovation’s final stages and inviting the media to the dress rehearsal held on the morning of the inaugural concert (more for the sake of reporting on the sound quality than on the renovation itself). Charles Bronfman, Zubin Mehta, Yitzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zuckerman gave rare interviews, and Mehta held a press conference with the international media. Reports on the renovation appeared in the New York Times, Bloomberg, the Huffington Post, the Jewish Chronicle and many more.

To celebrate the orchestra’s long-awaited return to its old/new home, the IPO held a unique series of events, with special offerings for all ages and tastes: a gala concert conducted by Mehta, a concert for the younger set called “Itamar Meets a Rabbit” based on a favorite Israeli children's book and an evening in memory of beloved songwriter and cultural icon Ehud Manor. A lineup of festive, free-of-charge outdoor events drew enthusiastic crowds to the venue’s spacious new plaza.

The result: lots of favorable media coverage (with some exceptions) and an excellent response from subscribers, which helped the Philharmonic to meet its sales targets for the new season.

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