Mehli Mehta centenary birth celebrations to begin tomorrow

MUMBAI: Western classical music lovers in the city are in for a treat as a week-long festivity, to mark the birth centenary of conductor Mehli Mehta, will commence on Tuesday with his son Zubin Mehta among the international artistes set to perform.
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and other noted artistes like tenor Placindo Domingo, soprano Barbara Frittoli, pianist Daniel Barenboim and violinist Pinchas Zukerman are all set to enthral the audience.

The performances will be held at the National Centre for Performing Arts in south Mumbai and will also feature one by Domingo and Frittoli at the Cricket Club of India stadium on October 11.

“The programme has finally ended up like a Western classical music festival which has not been seen in the city before,” Zubin Mehta said here today, adding the programmes will feature pieces of music which were favourite of his father.
“All the soloists and the orchestra have agreed to come to perform voluntarily for free and have given up a lot to be here for which I am thankful,” Mehta said, adding all of them had been enthusiastic to perform in India.

The money raised from the performances is to be used for the construction of a training school for the Mehli Mehta Foundation, which seeks to increase awareness and groom talent in Western classical music.”Inshallah we will build a school here in my father’s name. There is great potential here,” Mehta said.

The purpose of the school was to allow talented youngsters to learn Western classical music in India rather than travel abroad for their education and then staying there, the noted conductor, who himself had studied music in Vienna, said.

“We want them to be here, learn and set up orchestras here,” Mehta said.

Interest in Western classical music was on the rise as was the number of talented musicians and the school would hone their skills with teachers from India and abroad, he said.

Pianist Daniel Barenboim said it was a special occasion for him to come to India and perform with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in the memory of Mehli Mehta.

A special commemorative cover created by the postal department on the occasion of Mehli Mehta’s birth celebrations was released by Mehta and Chief Postmaster General M S Bali.

Mehta, who grew up in the city, said he was looking forward to the performance at the CCI since he had spent a lot of time there with his brother during childhood.
However, the city had changed radically since then, he said.

The use of political stickers on vehicles to polarise people was “shameful” and architecture had taken a turn for the worse over the years, Mehta said, adding however that he still loved the city.