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Israel Defense Forces Orchestra

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Israel Defense Forces Orchestra
The Israel Defense Forces Orchestra logo
LocationAviv Camp, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv
Founded1948 (1948)
DirectorRom Shamir
Members20-400[citation needed]
WebsiteOrchestra website (Hebrew)

The Israel Defense Forces Orchestra (Hebrew: תזמורת צה"ל‎; Tizmoret Tzahal) is the main musical ensemble of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It comprises musicians and singers who have passed the auditions before enlistment into the IDF, mostly in compulsory service.[1] It performs at military ceremonies, official visits, and honor guards, as well as various non-official community events.[2]


The IDF Orchestra, forming a Star of David

The Israel Defense Forces Orchestra was established in 1948 as a part of the newly formed Israel Defense Forces. It was formed out of four orchestras: The Alexandria Division Band, The Brigade Band, The Artillery Corps Band and The Givati Brigade Band.[3] The orchestra's first conductor was Izhak Muse, a new immigrant from the Soviet Union who played wind instruments. Muse was a graduate of a prestigious military orchestra academy in Leningrad and immigrated to Israel in January 1949. On 4 May 1949, the band participated in the second annual IDF parade celebrating Independence Day, but the crowd that filled the streets blocked the parade route and forced the parade to stop. The event was later nicknamed "The March That Did Not March" and led to the creation of the first Israeli Commission of Inquiry. After several months, Shalom Ronli-Riklis, the former conductor of The Brigade Orchestra, took over as conductor of the orchestra. Ronli-Riklis greatly expanded the orchestra's repertoire from modern to classical music and light music during his tenure as conductor, a position he held until 1960.[4] From 1953 to 1955, renowned Israeli composer Noam Sheriff served as Ronli-Riklis's assistant. Izhak Graziani, a long-time arranger, composer, and trumpet player in the orchestra, became conductor in 1962. Three months before he died, in 2003, Graziani retired. He was replaced by Lt. Col. Michael Yaaran, who conducted the orchestra until his own retirement in 2013. Major Noam Inbar became the conductor On 29 July 2013[5] and was succeeded by Rom Shamir on 25 April 2018.[6] In 2018, the band received a honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan University.[7]

List of Israel Defense Forces Orchestra Directors of Music

Michael Yaaran in October 2011.
Number Name Start of term End of term
1 Izhak Muse 1948 1949
2 Shalom Ronli-Riklis 1949 1960
3 Izhak Graziani 1962 2003
4 Michael Yaaran 2003 2013
5 Noam Inbar [he] 2013 2018
6 Rom Shamir [he] 2018 Incumbent


The unit is made up of soldiers with musical experience that wish to serve in it. Its base is located in Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv. In addition to the main orchestra, the IDF has a rabbinical choir and other military bands. The difference between the IDF Orchestra and the other bands (including the choir) is that the other bands are only for entertainment and morale, while the orchestra is also a ceremonial unit. Additionally, while the other military bands belong to the Education and Youth Corps, the IDF Orchestra belongs to the Regime and Discipline Branch—both are under the Manpower Directorate, which is responsible for Israel's state[note 1] and military ceremonies.

Among the many functions of the orchestra, its main activities are performing at graduation courses in military training bases, official visits by heads of state and military personnel, and official ceremonies (such as the torch-lighting ceremony held each year on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem to celebrate Israel's Independence Day).[3][8]

The unit's symbol is a harp of David placed between two trumpets amalgamated with olive branches. When the orchestra is not performing, its musicians wear the standard uniform (olive green) with a musician's pin above the left pocket. The ceremonial uniform, worn in official ceremonies, is a standard uniform together with a red belt, a red string (worn over the right shoulder), a ceremonial cap stamped with the band's symbol over a red background, and a larger musician's pin. The IDF Orchestra is the only IDF unit that has two pins identical in design but different in size.



In parades, the orchestra musicians are always on their feet, and in most parades they march across the parade ground. In parades that are not part of state ceremonies, the orchestra is the first military force to enter the parade ground, immediately followed by the other forces. In such parades, most commonly featured in the conclusion of military courses, the band is led by a drum major whose job is to direct the orchestra during the march, signal the turns, and mark the beginning and end of the music.

In most state parades the band does not march, but rather stands with a military honor guard beside a red carpet to welcome the person of honor.

However, some extremely large state parades include marching (e.g. large receptions held at Israel's main international airport).

The instrumentation at such parades comprises: piccolo, oboe, clarinet, saxophone (alto and tenor), bassoon, french horn, trumpet, trombone, baritone horn, sousaphone (marching tuba), snare drum, bass drum, and cymbals.[citation needed]


The orchestra also performs in public, not only in Israel but sometimes abroad to perform for events like ceremonies, the arrival of world leaders, etc.[9] These performances include a rich repertoire, comprising classical music for concert bands, popular music, Israeli songs, and marches.[3] The band regularly performs with leading artists of Israeli music. Among others, the orchestra has performed with Yehoram Gaon, Ofra Haza, Ilanit, Yardena Arazi, Harel Skaat, David Broza, Kobi Aflalo, Rami Kleinstein.

Ever since the 2000s, the orchestra performs annually at the Rishon LeZion Festival on Sukkot has become a tradition.

See also


  1. ^ When the word "state" is used as an adjective in this article (as in "state ceremony"), it refers to formal, official, ceremonial events that are designated as important to the state and its people.


  1. ^ "תזמורת צה"ל - כל המידע על התפקיד" [IDF Orchestra - all about the position]. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  2. ^ Fox, Sandra Diamond (1 March 2018). "Israel Defense Forces Band Performing At JCC of Harrison". Daily Voice. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "הכירו את תזמורת צה"ל" [Get to know the IDF Orchestra]. The Israel Defense forces. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Ronly-Riklis, Shalom". The American–Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  5. ^ "מנצח חדש לתזמורת צה"ל - רב סרן נעם ענבר" [A new conductor for the IDF Orchestra - Major Noam Inbar]. Arutz Sheva. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Rom Shamir". Tel Aviv University. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  7. ^ "מקבלי תואר כבוד" [Honorary degree receivers]. Bar-Ilan University. 7 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Beaches, barbecues and Air Force flybys – Independence Day 2016". The Times of Israel. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  9. ^ Gal, Roni (7 September 2009). "Russia: IDF orchestra conquers Red Square". Ynet. Retrieved 14 May 2018.

External links