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Peru’s half-Jewish president conducts Israel’s Philharmonic in Lima

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, whose father fled the Nazis, has studied music, played the flute

Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, whose father was a Jewish refugee after fleeing the Nazis in 1933, conducted Israel’s Philharmonic Orchestra during the playing of the Peruvian national anthem. (via JTA)
Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, whose father was a Jewish refugee after fleeing the Nazis in 1933, conducted Israel’s Philharmonic Orchestra during the playing of the Peruvian national anthem. (via JTA)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, whose father was a Jewish refugee, conducted Israel’s Philharmonic Orchestra during the playing of the Peruvian national anthem at a Lima concert earlier this month.

The Israeli orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta, performed August 15 at the National Grand Theater during celebrations of the 109th anniversary of the Lima Philharmonic Society, reported El Comercio newspaper.

“More than 1,400 people who attended the concert celebrated the pleasant surprise and revelation of our president as a conductor. Later, conductor Mehta did the same with the anthem of Israel,” read a note from the Lima Philharmonic Society.

Kuczynski, who has studied music and plays the flute, was elected president of the South American country in June. He was born in Lima to a French Protestant mother and a German Jewish father who fled the Nazis in 1933.

The society reported that tickets to the concert were sold out three weeks before the concert and that it “was undoubtedly one of the most important cultural events of the year” in Peru.

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