Music: Mozart in the Desert

The 73 rugged men of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra had just played seven concerts in eight days, but when Conductor Leonard Bernstein called for volunteers, 35 stepped forward. Crowded into two dusty buses, they crossed the Negeb desert to give the battle-scarred Old Testament town of Beersheba the first symphony concert of its history.*

Gershwin at Half-Stance. The orchestra members took the jolts and hard wooden seats good-naturedly, joked as they steered clear of roadside minefields, gazed across 2½ miles of sand at Egypt's main base, Gaza.

In a vacant lot in Beersheba, the musicians...

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