Conductor Zubin Mehta, 87, flicks his legendary baton with an Indian orchestra for the first time
Hindustan Times|August 20, 2023
Members of the Symphony Orchestra of India are holding final rehearsals inside the grand Tata Theatre at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), ironing out the kinks before they kick off their 17th season on Saturday.
Bhanuj Kappal
Conductor Zubin Mehta, 87, flicks his legendary baton with an Indian orchestra for the first time

Outside, there is a rush of workers, caught in a sudden downpour, ensuring everything is in perfect order. The seasoned ushers, usually blasé about celebrities, are swept up in sudden excitement as a gleaming blue Mercedes-Benz drives up to the back-stage entrance, and an 87-year-old self-styled "Bombay boy" steps out.

Zubin Mehta, immaculate in his tuxedo, is in Mumbai headlining two sold-out shows conducting the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI). After the first show on Saturday night, Mehta's baton was auctioned to raise funds for the education of underprivileged children. Other than the NCPA -headed by his friend and India's foremost Western classical music aficionado Khushroo Suntook the event is organised in association with the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation, named after Mehta's father and his first guru. This is the first time Mehta is conducting an Indian orchestra, a milestone that he's rather excited about.

"Khushroo, my friend of 80 years, has been asking me to do this for a long time and I am finally here." He has been rehearsing with the SOI all week, fine-tuning their renditions of classics including Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, Franz Schubert's Eighth Symphony and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1 (Titan). "I didn't expect the quality that I have experienced at the rehearsals. It is a really very fine orchestra that can be compared with a lot of good ensembles all over the world."

This story is from the August 20, 2023 edition of Hindustan Times.

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This story is from the August 20, 2023 edition of Hindustan Times.

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