Zubin Mehta © Peter Fischli/LUCERNE FESTIVAL
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Zubin Mehta © Peter Fischli/LUCERNE FESTIVAL
Symphony Concert 15
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra | Zubin Mehta
In the Symphonie fantastique, Hector Berlioz came to terms with his own unhappy love for the Irish actress Harriet Smithson – and in the process conjured up the Higher Powers that the mind cannot control, in the form of dreams and delusions, unrestrained passion and opium fever. Berlioz translates these powers of the subconscious into a feverish, debauched, and intoxicating music that drastically reflects his mad passion – and indeed shows all the traits of the “fantastic.” Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will contrast this nocturnal piece of Romanticism with Franz Schubert’s sunny Third Symphony: a youthful work by the 18-year-old that contains much brio and Italianità and, in the finale, culminates in a tarantella, an unbridled Neapolitan dance. The evening opens with music by the Hungarian-Israeli composer and Kodály student Ödön Pártos, who died in 1977 and began his career in 1925 as concertmaster of the Lucerne City Orchestra. His Concertino is a lullaby for the folk music of his Hungarian homeland.
With the friendly support of the René und Susanne Braginsky Stiftung
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra © embassies.gov.il
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra can look back over a history of nearly 80 years. In the mid-1930s the Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman tried to persuade Eastern European and German orchestral musicians who had lost their jobs due to Nazi policy to emigrate to Palestine so as to found a new orchestra there. The result was the Palestine Orchestra, which gave its inaugural concert on 26 December 1936 under Arturo Toscanini; with Israel’s independence in 1948 they changed their name to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO). Today the IPO is the most important cultural ambassador for the State of Israel. For nearly a half-century the musicians enjoyed a close relationship with Leonard Bernstein, who conducted numerous concerts from the mid-1940s until his death in 1990, including the world premiere of his Kaddish Symphony in 1963; since 1988 he held the title of Laureate Conductor. Zubin Mehta, who made his debut with the IPO in 1961, was named Music Advisor in 1969 and Music Director in 1977; this position was confirmed for life in 1981. Kurt Masur has held the title Honorary Guest Conductor since 1992; since the 2011-12 season Gianandrea Noseda has held the position of Principal Guest Conductor and has led the IPO on such projects as a tour of the U.S. in 2014. In addition to concerts with Mehta and Noseda, in the 2014-15 season the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has partnered with Lionel Bringuier, Christoph von Dohnányi, Valery Gergiev, Yoel Levi, Murray Perahia, Vasily Petrenko, and Nikolaj Znaider and has toured to the Baltic countries, to Eastern Europe, and to five Asian countries.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 2 September 1971 in a concert of works by Ami Ma’Ayani, Felix Mendelssohn, and Béla Bartók, with Zubin Mehta conducting.
Zubin Mehta © MarcoBrescia/LaScala
Zubin Mehta, the son of violinist and conductor Mehli Mehta, was born in 1936 in Bombay. He completed his studies in Vienna, where he concentrated on conducting (with Hans Swarowsky), double bass, percussion, and composition. In 1958 he won the Liverpool International Conducting Competition, and in 1962 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held until 1978. Mehta’s partnership with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which began in 1961 and led to his appointment as Principal Conductor in 1977, is especially legendary, and he retains the position of Music Director for Life with the IPO. Mehta has also held leadership positions with the New York Philharmonic (1978–91), the Maggio Musicale in Florence (since 1985), and the Bavarian Staatsoper in Munich (1998–2006), among others. As an opera conductor he has also performed at the Salzburg Festival, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala in Milan, the Vienna Staatsoper, and the Royal Opera in London. Mehta has been awarded the Nikisch Ring and is an honorary member of Vienna’s Society of Friends of Music and of the Vienna Philharmonic, whose New Year’s concerts he has conducted five times (most recently in 2015). He is in addition Honorary Conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Bavarian State Orchestra, and the Staatskapelle Berlin. Along with his musical work Mehta is committed to efforts in the political-humanitarian sphere, such as the first joint concert by the New York Philharmonic and the Soviet State Symphony Orchestra in 1988 and a similar project between the Berlin Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1990. Zubin Mehta is an honorary citizen of Florence and Tel Aviv; in October 2008 he received Japan’s Praemium Imperiale. In 2006 he published his autobiography, The Score of My Life.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 4 September 1964 with the Vienna Philharmonic with a program of works including works by Gottfried von Einem, Franz Liszt, and Johannes Brahms.