Culture is always one of the first victims of war. So it is in Israel and Gaza in the aftermath of a wave of rocket attacks that began in the early hours of 7 October, and incursions that saw over 900 Israelis (and a number of foreign nationals) murdered by Hamas militants. At least 260 people were killed at a music festival close to the Gaza border.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu declared the nation “at war” within hours. Israel has since pounded the Gaza enclave with airstrikes that have, to date, killed more than 700 Palestinians and displaced 137,000, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

Responding to guidelines issued by Israel’s Home Front Command, the Tel Aviv-based Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has announced the postponement of its upcoming season-opening concerts.

Music Director Lahav Shani released the following message:

Four days into the war and words still do not come out easily.

We are shocked and devastated. The brutality and total lack of humanity is unbearable. So many overwhelming tragedies, so many stories of bravery keep unfolding, each one is a world of its own.

I am praying for the missing and wounded and send my condolences to all the heartbroken families.

As we are collecting...