MAESTRO ZUBIN MEHTA CELEBRATED 50TH ANNIVERSARY WITH
STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME
2,434th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the Category of Recording
at 1600 Vine Street near the famous corner of Hollywood & Vine (NE)
on Tuesday, March 1, 2011
In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of his conducting debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the 75th anniversary of the IPO, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored international orchestral and operatic conductor, Zubin Mehta with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today, March 1, 2011. Mehta’s tour with the I.P.O. began in Florida on February 19th, 2011. For the first time in the history of the Philharmonic, members of the Los Angeles, Israel and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras performed together in a special tribute to Mehta at his ceremony.
Kirk Douglas was the first speaker. He said: “What would the world do without music? Zubin has entertained millions of people all over the world. We have been waiting for you to get your star for many years Zubin. This man is always traveling the world. This time we got you!” “Zubin is more than a conductor, he is a mensch and he speaks Yiddish very well. Zubin is a mensch because when I had my stroke, I was very depressed and feeling sorry for myself. Before a flight to England , he and his wife Nancy came to visit me to cheer me up. That is why he is a mensch.”
Zubin Mehta went on to say: “I don’t know how many classical musicians there are on this historic row, but may accept this in your names and may many more stand here alongside the stars. I have to say, what a wonderful surprise it was to have three orchestras I have worked with perform for all of us today.” “ I am grateful to this country which has taken care of me for so many years.”
Mehta was born in Bombay, India and received his early musical education under his father Mehli Mehta, who was a noted concert violinist and the founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra. After a short period of pre-medical studies, he left for Vienna in 1954 where he eventually entered the conducting program at the Akademie für Musik. Mehta won the Liverpool International Conducting Competition in 1958 and was also a prize-winner of the summer academy at Tanglewood. By 1961 he had already conducted the Vienna, Berlin and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras and will be celebrating 50 years of musical collaboration with all three ensembles.
Mehta was Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1961 to 1967 and also assumed the Music Directorship of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in 1962, a post he retained until 1978. In 1969 he was appointed Music Adviser to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and was made Music Director of that orchestra in 1977. In 1981 the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra awarded him the title of Music Director for Life. He has conducted more than 3,000 concerts with this extraordinary ensemble including tours spanning five continents. In 1978 he took over the post of Music Director of the New York Philharmonic commencing a tenure lasting 13 years, the longest in the orchestra's history. Since 1985, he has been chief conductor of the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence.
Mehta made his debut as an opera conductor with Tosca in Montreal in 1963. Since then he has conducted at the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala Milan, and the opera houses of Chicago and Florence as well as at the Salzburg Festival. Between 1998 and 2006 he was Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. In October, 2006, he opened the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia and is since then the President of the annual Festival del Mediterrani in Valencia.
Mehta's list of awards and honors is extensive and includes the "Nikisch-Ring" bequeathed to him by Karl Böhm. He is an honorary citizen of both Florence and Tel Aviv and was made an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera in 1997, of the Bavarian State Opera in 2006 and of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien in 2007. The title of “Honorary Conductor” was bestowed to him by the following orchestras: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (2001), Munich Philharmonic Orchestra (2004), Los Angeles Philharmonic (2006), Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (2006), Bavarian State Orchestra (2006). In October, 2008, Zubin Mehta was honored by the Japanese Imperial Family with the “Praemium Imperiale”. In 2006 he joined a most prestigious group of esteemed artists as a Kennedy Center Honoree.
Mehta continues to support the discovery and furtherance of musical talents all over the world. Together with his brother Zarin, he is a co-chairman of the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation in Bombay where more than 200 children are educated in Western Classical Music. The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv develops young talent in Israel and is closely related to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, as is a new project of teaching young Arab Israelis in the cities of Shwaram and Nazareth with local teachers and members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
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