Jewish-Canadian billionaire Charles Bronfman will donate $10 million for the renovation of Tel Aviv’s Heichal Hatarbut (the Mann Auditorium), a sum meant to finance the iconic hall's ongoing renovations.
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The donation will allow the resumption of currently undertaken renovation work, geared at renovating the building, constructing a new concert hall and a library of sheet music.
According to the deal reached between Bronfman and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, following months of secret negotiations, the hefty donation will also entail an eventual name change, with the Mann Auditorium – named after Frederic Mann – to be rechristened as the Bronfman Auditorium.
The Mann family agreed to the change after being assured that Fredric Mann would be memorialized within the renovated building.
Bronfman told Haaretz that “the decision to donate to Tel Aviv’s auditorium stems from my view that we, here in America, should assist in realizing a full life in Israel, which also includes culture."
"To me, the Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the Israeli institutions which are known internationally, just as The Weizmann Institute for Science, the Technion in Haifa and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. These institutions give Israel a good name,” he added.
The Philharmonic Orchestra’s fund succeeded in raising $25 million from different contributors. The Tel Aviv municipally promised $20 million dollar for the project. The renovations began a few months ago and are scheduled to end in March, 2013.
The Mann Auditorium was built in 1957, primarally as a home for the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. The hall, considered by many as a Tel Aviv icon, was a joint project by architectures Dov Carmi, Zeev Rechter and Ya’acov Rechter.
The renovations at the auditorium began after a long public battle over its extent. 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.
Bronfman is one of the biggest contributors to Israeli institutions. Bronfman is one of the founders of the educational Zionist project Birthright along with Michael Steinhardt, and he also donated $10 million for the renovation of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
On 2006, Israeli bussinessman Sammy Ofer decided to retract a $20 million donation proposal to the Tel Aviv museum of Art for the construction of a new building, and in return the Museum will be named after Ofer and his wife, Aviva. The decision was made due to a public campaign against the decision to change the museum’s name.