Renovations at Tel Aviv's Heichal Hatarbut (the Mann Auditorium) will not be finished in time for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to open its next season in its old home.
Construction delays are the result of coordination glitches among the four contractors working on the NIS 140 million project, according to Yehoshua Pasternak, IPO chairman.
"We hope that we can return to playing at Heichal Hatarbut by the middle of next season," Pasternak said, adding the orchestra would return as soon as permits are issued to operate the main hall and the portico, even if other parts of the building, including the musicians' and soloists' rooms backstage, are not finished.
The IPO season runs from October through July.
The Tel Aviv municipality denied there has been any delay. "No firm timetable for the project could be set because excavations had to be finished before that could be determined," the municipality said. "The expected date for returning the Philharmonic Orchestra to Heichal Hatarbut is March 2013."
This past year the IPO has been performing in Tel Aviv University's Smolarz Auditorium and at Hangar 11 in the Tel Aviv Port. The concerts in the early months of the coming season will only be at Smolarz Auditorium.
The renovations at the Mann Auditorium began in August 2011 after a long public battle. The purpose of the renovations is to change the acoustics in the hall, in order to improve the audience's experience and ease the pressure on the musicians. There will be only 2,400 seats in the renovated hall, compared to 2,700 seats previously.