Zubin Mehta: The Score of My Life

Zubin Mehta: The Score of My Life

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Item Code: IDK825
Author: Renate Grafin Matuschka,Translated by: Anu Pande and, Forward by: Pandit Ravi Shankar
Publisher: Lotus Collection Roli Books
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788174366870
Pages: 220
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 7.8" X 9.3"
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From The Jacket

Zubin Mehta left the sheltered environs of his parental home in Bombay in 1954, as an eighteen year old, and moved to Vienna into the very unique culture of the music Academy where he studied under illustrious teachers like Hans Swarowsky. Just seven years late he conducted the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras and became the director of he Montreal Symphony Orchestra at the age of twenty-five. Further assignments included Los Angeles, New York, Florence, Tel Aviv, and eventually, Munich where he was working as general music director of the Bavarian State Opera from 1998 to 2006.

Zubin Mehta is one of the most celebrated conductors in the world. He has worked with all the top-class international orchestras and with excellent instrumentalists and opera stars of the past many decades. Musicians like Daniel Barenboim, Claudio Abbado, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman count among his intimate friends. Despite his tremendous success, this popular Indian with a zest for life still remains a restless spirit – a wandered between the worlds, worlds who is as famous for his commitment to Israel as for his musical openness to everything from open-air concerts to operas. His exciting life makes for a gripping autobiography.

Zubin Mehta was born in 1936 in Bombay. At the age of eighteen he abandoned the study of medicine to dedicate himself entirely to music. Today he is one of the most prominent musicians worldwide. Zubin Mehta was the general music director of the National Theatre in Munich for eight years. In addition he is the chief conductor of the Maggio Musicale in Florence and music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.



Chiselled features, dashing smile, handsome, dear Zubin Mehta, one of the greatest conductors of our times. As a fellow Indian, musician and friend, I have more reason to admire and love him. I first met Zubin in the early sixties when I went to Montreal to perform where he was the chief director of Montreal Symphony, but came to know him better an year or two later in Los Angeles when became the director of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra. This was after the Monterey Concert period and I was also living in Los Angeles at that. Both Zubin and I met often in parties and on different occasions. Along with the classical fans of ours, we also had such wonderful times with the vibrant young and loving hippy crowd!

Later we got together again when he was the director and conductor of the New York Symphony Orchestra. We decided to write my Concerto Number 2 for sitar and symphony performed by the NY Symphony conducted by Zubin. I cherish the memory of those few months in New York.

I was living in NY near Gramercy Park with Sue Jones and our daughter. Geetali (North) was a few months old. On Zubin's suggestion. I used to go to the Lincoln Center in the mornings where Zubin used to rehearse the pieces to be performed in the evenings. This, he said, would help me know the musicians and their proficiency with the instruments, which it really did and helped me bring different sound in the musical structure. This was a wonderful short period in my life and Zubin and I really had a great time.

Zubin loves spicy food and hot chillies. In fact he always carries a little metal box with him in his pocket, which contains some hot chillies. He asked me to write some hot chilli parts in the Concerto which I did – like the first movement in Raga Lalit which has minor second and seventh, both the fourths, and no fifth note. Also pieces in rhythmic cycles of five and a half and thirteen and half beats!

Zubin is a also a very caring and sensitive person. Recently he heard Anoushka perform in Switzerland. After the concert he phoned me immediately to say how well she did. It was a wonderful gesture from him and I was deeply touched.

Being eighty-eight and still performing, munch less though, I keep track of Zubin's glorious conducting tours all over the world and my love and admiration grows stronger for him and I feel so much closer to him. May God bless and protect him always.


Author's Note

Writing about my life, setting my own standards, so to say, is a venture into which I initially had to be persuaded. I hesitated for so long also because this is a task that requires intensive retrospection and it is certainly not one of my favourite occupations.

For the past fifty years I have been practicing what seems to me the most beautiful profession in the world. I am a conductor. I am surrounded by a world of masterpieces and beauty. Even so, I invariably have to look ahead before each musical project and concentrate on the current objective: the next opera production, an upcoming concert, a planned tour, a new soloist or the new work of a composer. Even what is apparently old in the field of music is new in the sense that music is transient even in the moment of its creation. The note just heard to the next one. The development of the entire work can never be captured instantly. And yet the hearer should be able to have an impression of the work at the end. This is why there is a constant need to rehearse and practice, to talk to one another and perhaps also to improve before each performance. For me as a conductor this implies a very detailed and thorough study of the score so that I can achieve a satisfactory result with the musicians, even though I have several decades of practice behind me and a very thorough Knowledge of the work. And this is precisely why I find it so difficult to deal with the past and to look back in time, instead of looking ahead into the future. Yet my musical career has given me so many remarkable experiences and fortuitous encounters that I would like to share these with others Perhaps I might even be able to convey some of my musical knowledge and encourage young musicians to do what they feed called upon to do with perseverance, namely to make music and to spend their lives with it.


Back of The Book
The Autobiography of a Great Conductor


From Bombay in the 1930s and 1940s to one of the most


Famous conductors in the world


Who is the real person behind the maestro?


What lies behind his musical convictions which bridge the gulf


between serious music and entertainment?


What is the real story behind his commitment to Israel?


The fascinating autobiography of Zubin Mehta, a world-class


Conductor and a mediator between different worlds.


  Author's Note ix
1. My Early Years In India 1
2. My Student Years In Vienna 11
3. The Vital Years 29
4. Montreal, Los Angeles And More 52
5. Nancy – A Love Story 75
6. Another Love Story – The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 82
7. Friends – In Music And Musical Encounters 115
8. New York, Florence – The Music of The Twentieth Century 140
9. Bringing Music To People 165
10. Conducting – A Labour of Love 170
11. The Move To Munich 186

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