Zubin Mehta awarded the Praemium Imperiale


September 17, 2008

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Individuals | Music

Indian conductor Zubin Mehta was named Tuesday a recipient of Japan’s Praemium Imperiale, one of art’s richest awards, for his lifetime work with orchestras around the world.

Mehta, 72, one of the leading Asians in Western classical music, has led philharmonic orchestras in Berlin, New York, Tel Aviv and Vienna.

As executive director and president of the New York Philharmonic, Mehta led a landmark performance of the 106-member orchestra in Pyongyang in February.

Japan each year awards the Praemium Imperiale, which is backed by the imperial family, for accomplishments in painting, sculpture, music, architecture and theatre or film.

The others awarded this year are British pop artist Richard Hamilton, Russian conceptual sculptors Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and Japanese “kabuki” theatre actor Tojuro Sakata.

Each winner receives 15 million yen (143,000 dollars), making it one of the world’s most lucrative art prizes. They will receive the prize at a ceremony on October 15.

Past winners include Jasper Johns, Leonard Bernstein, Jean-Luc Godard, Akira Kurosawa and, last year, Daniel Barenboim.