Zubin Mehta receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Zubin Mehta received the 2,434th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today, coinciding with his 50th anniversary as a conductor.

zubin mehta hollywood 2Actor Kirk Douglas joined Mehta at the ceremony near the northeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

"What would the world do without music?" Douglas said. "Zubin has entertained millions of people all over the world."

Douglas said he considered Mehta a "mensch" because he and his wife came to visit the actor after he suffered a stroke.

The ceremony coincides with Mehta conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall tonight. Haydn’s Symphony No. 96 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 are on the bill.

Mehta is best remembered by Southern Californians for his 1962-1978 stint as the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

At today’s ceremony, members of the Los Angeles, Israel and Vienna philharmonics performed in a tribute to Mehta.

"I have to say, what a wonderful surprise to have three orchestras I have worked with perform for all of us today," he said. "I am grateful to this country which has taken care of me for so many years."

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Mehta was born April 29, 1936, in Bombay (now Mumbai) India. His father Mehli was the founding conductor of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra.

When he was 16 years old, his father allowed him to conduct a Bombay Symphony rehearsal.

"The moment he got onto the podium, he instantly took command, gave us our correct cues and put us under his spell," Bombay cellist George Lester told Time in a 1968 interview for a cover story on Mehta.

Mehta left for Vienna in 1954 where he eventually entered the conducting program at the Akademie fur Musik. He won the Liverpool international conducting competition in 1958 and was also a prize winner of the summer academy at Tanglewood.

zubin mehta hollywood 1Mehta was the music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1961-67 and held the same post with the New York Philharmonic from 1978-1991, holding the post longer than anyone else.

Mehta was named music adviser to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1969, its music director in 1977 and as its music director for life in 1981.

Original article and image copyrights Mercury News