"Beirut-born conductor George Pehlivanian's first concert in Israelwas under particularly traumatic circumstances. The day of the premiere was also the day Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Center was hit by a devastating terrorist attack in 1996. In an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, Pehlivanian says he had to urge the distraught orchestra members to go on with the show.
Pehlivanian also insisted on performing in Israel during the Gulf War and the Second Lebanon War. He says that he felt that every time he visited Israel, something bad had happened and that it was the orchestra's job to change the somber atmosphere."