Con­duc­tor Zu­bin Me­hta takes fi­nal bow with Is­raeli or­ches­tra

The Korea Times - - PEOPLE -

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Star con­duc­tor Zu­bin Me­hta took the stage in Tel Aviv on Sun­day for an emo­tional fi­nal per­for­mance as mu­sic di­rec­tor of the Is­rael Phil­har­monic, re­tir­ing af­ter 50 years with the or­ches­tra.

The 83-year-old, who un­der­went treat­ment for a can­cer­ous tu­mor last year and walked with a cane, earned a long stand­ing ova­tion from the packed house as he said “good­bye to my fam­ily,” as he put it in an in­ter­view be­fore­hand.

The fi­nal per­for­mance in­cluded Liszt’s Piano Con­certo No. 2 and Mahler’s Sym­phony No. 2, known as Res­ur­rec­tion, at the Mediter­ranean city’s Charles Bronf­man Au­di­to­rium.

In­dian-born Me­hta was joined by pi­anist Ye­fim Bronf­man, so­prano Chen Reiss and mezzo-so­prano Okka von der Dam­erau.

“From my heart, what this or­ches­tra has given me .. not only this one but all the gen­er­a­tions be­fore them. I can­not be­gin to even de­scribe what I have learned with these mu­si­cians,” he told the au­di­ence dur­ing the in­ter­mis­sion.

At the end of the per­for­mance, flower gar­lands were placed around the necks of Me­hta and his wife, who watched from the au­di­ence. Me­hta, who will be suc­ceeded by 30-year-old La­hav Shani, was also named the or­ches­tra’s mu­si­cal di­rec­tor emer­i­tus.

The charis­matic mae­stro has fa­mously con­ducted in poignant set­tings, in­clud­ing when he led a group of Is­raeli and Ger­man mu­si­cians near the site of the Nazis’ Buchen­wald con­cen­tra­tion camp in 1999, where he also con­ducted Mahler’s Res­ur­rec­tion Sym­phony.

He also fa­mously rushed to Is­rael to per­form in sup­port of the coun­try dur­ing the 1967 Six-Day War, though he would later say he op­posed the set­tle­ment build­ing that fol­lowed in the oc­cu­pied West Bank.

Zu­bin Me­hta

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