The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music was founded in 2005, as a merge of the Samuel Rubin Israel Academy of Music, Tel-Aviv University's Musicology Department and the orchestral training program of the Israel Philharmonic.
The Samuel Rubin Israel Academy of Music, the largest unit to form the new school, was founded as early as 1945, as the Israel Music Conservatory & Academy. Its founders were all immigrants from central Europe (mainly from Hungary), who fled Europe just prior to the outbreak of World War II, and were among the founding members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Among them were violist Oedoen Partos, composer Alexander Uria Boskovich, pianist Ilona Vincze, cellist Leslo Vincze, and violinists Lorend and Aliza Fenivash & the late Ilona Feher.
In its early days, the Academy was comprised of 80 students and 18 teachers and the educational activity took place in the shelter of “Shalva” high school in northern Tel-Aviv. The Academy`s first director was cellist Dr. Leslo Vincze. The number of students increased rapidly and by the early 1960’s there were more than 1000 students and 150 teachers at the Academy.
In 1951, composer Arnold Schoenberg was appointed the first Honorary President of the Academy; and composer and principal violist of the IPO, Oedoen Partos, becameI its director. That same year, the Academy moved to Southern Tel Aviv, where it shared a building with the “Tachkemoni” elementary school on Lilinblum Street. Following Schoenberg’s death, renowned composer, conductor and pianist Leonard Bernstein was appointed Second Honorary President of the Academy.
Joining the newly formed Tel-Aviv University in 1966, the Academy moved to its current building in Ramat-Aviv campus. Following the move, the Academy was separated from its conservatory division, that became an independent institute, "The Israeli Conservatory of Music", today located on Stricker street. In 1972, with the establishment of the Yolanda and David Katz Faculty of Arts, the Academy became an integral part of this new faculty.
Already at this stage, the Academy received national and international recognition as Israel's prime school of music and the country`s main source for music making. Many of its graduates held senior positions in leading orchestras, opera houses and educational institutions in Israel and abroad.
During the early 1970’s, the Academy’s orchestra developed significantly. In 1970, the orchestra went on concert tour to Sweden and in 1975 to South-Africa. Its 1978 tour to Germany and the U.S. earned much acclaim.
The Academy’s development continued with the establishment of the Oratorio Choir in 1974 by conductor Avner Itai, and the studio for Electroacoustic music by composer Yizhak Sadai.
In 1977 pianist Arie Vardi, a graduate of the Academy in its early years and a distinguished faculty member, was appointed as director, followed by composer Yehezkel Braun two years later. In 1981, composer Yizhak Sadai was appointed to direct the institution and established the composition department's study program which served as the educational programme for composition students for many years. In 1985 composer Joseph Dorfman was appointed Director of the Academy. During his term of office, the "Katcz piano competition" and the "Gertler" Quartet were founded.
In 1991, violinist Yair Kless was appointed director. These were the years of the massive "Aliyah" from the former USSR. Within a short period, the student population doubled and numerous new teachers, leading musicians that came to Israel at that time, joined the faculty of the School. During this period, the ground floor level of the school was built adding many new teaching and practicing rooms.
The following years saw numerous renowned composers visiting the Academy, including György Ligeti, Olivier Messiaen, Krzysztof Penderecki, Witold Lutoslawski, Maxwell Davies and Pierre Schaeffer. The Academy also hosted famous pianists during a series of donor concerts such as Radu Lupu, Bella Davidovich, Rudolf Buchbinder and Yefim Bronfman.
Appointed in 1994 as director, composer Ami Maayani initiated the establishment of the recording studio and the library listening room. In the same year, conducted by Noam Sheriff, the Symphony Orchestra and the Oratorio Choir performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Noga theater hall.
The Academy celebrated its 50th jubilee in the academic year of 1994-5 with many exciting on-campus concerts as well as concerts throughout the country.
The highlight event was the moving performance of Bizet’s “Carmen” in the Noga theater hall conducted by Ami Maayani and directed by Micha Hendel. The two cooperated again with yet another big operatic performance of the biblical opera "Saul and David" by Carl Nielson, in its first performance outside Scandinavia, within the framework of the celebrations marking the 50th jubilee of the state of Israel in 1998.
These years marked the completion of the Clairmont hall, the new concert hall of the Academy, designed by Ami Maayani in cooperation with architect Yoram Raz with the donation of Angela and Maurice Clairmont, one of the oldest and most dedicated friends of the Academy. That same year, the elegant Clairmont Concert Hall was inaugurated with pianist Andreas Schiff giving a master class and a special piano recital.
In 1998 composer and conductor Noam Sheriff was appointed director of the Academy. During his term of office, the Adrea and Victor Symphony orchestra was established and a new "Gertler record collection" of professional recordings produced at the new recording studio was added to the music library.
In 2000, Composer Ami Maayani was appointed director for a second term, during which the Concert Organ in the Clairmont Hall, built specially to suit the hall, was inaugurated. In 2003 the new subscription series was founded with pianist Tomer Lev as its artistic director. The six concert series and 2000 subscribers turned the Academy into one of Israel's most productive music centers and the Clairmont hall into one of the most sought out concert venues throughout the country.
Until today, the concert series are a vital part of music making at the school and serve as its showcase by providing a regular performance platform for the orchestra, choirs, chamber ensembles and outstanding soloists of the school and its guests.
With the appointment of pianist Prof. Tomer Lev as Director in 2004, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra signed an agreement with the Academy and in 2005; the new Buchman-Mehta School of Music was founded in cooperation with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. The founding of the school was made possible thanks to the generous donation of businessman Josef Buchmann. The new school's Honorary President is Maestro Zubin Mehta.
A special Gala Concert conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the new School’s Orchestra celebrated its establishment. Within the new framework, a new "excellence program" was inaugurated enabling 100 especially talented students to receive full study scholarships.