Israel Philharmonic Orchestra marks Zubin Mehta's 40th year as music director

Its 74th season promises a Brahms celebration, family-friendly performances and the continuation of IPO in Jeans.

Mehta Bronfman 88 248 (photo credit: Elana Estrin)
Mehta Bronfman 88 248
(photo credit: Elana Estrin)
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) announced on Wednesday its plans for its 74th season, which marks Maestro Zubin Mehta's 40th year as music director. "I've enjoyed every moment. I wouldn't exchange it with any other conductor. I think I learned more from these musicians than they learned from me. We've grown up together, and achieved everything together," Mehta said at a press conference on Wednesday. Mehta says the upcoming season is going to be a "strong season," featuring a mix of veteran and up-and-coming performers. The season opens on October 17 with a Brahms celebration. Mehta will conduct the IPO in Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1 with pianist Rudolf Buchbinder, and A German Requiem with soprano Chen Reiss. Other season highlights include a piano celebration, featuring such leading pianists as Lang Lang, Hélène Grimaud and Emanuel Ax. For those looking for a relaxing concert atmosphere, the IPO in Jeans series offers music - plus free beer - four Thursdays throughout the season at 10 p.m. For younger audiences, the IPO will offer a Family Series, including a performance of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf narrated by Itzhak Perlman. During the year, the IPO will go on tour to South America, Europe and the United States. To celebrate Mehta's nearly 3,000 appearances with the orchestra, IPO released a 12-CD box set this month under its new label, Helicon Classics. The box set features live performances with Mehta leading the IPO and world-renowned soloists, including Itzhak Perlman, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yefim Bronfman and Yehudi Menuhin. "I'm grateful that this is documented. It's a little drop in the ocean, a sample from these concerts," Mehta said. This season, in collaboration with the Mehta-Buchmann School of Music and the IPO, Mehta is working to introduce young Arab music students to classical music. "I'm very proud that it's finally taking off. These Arab students are so talented. One day, we'll have one of those kids sitting in our orchestra," Mehta said. Mehta was born in Bombay and held conducting posts in Vienna, Montreal and Los Angeles before joining the Israel Philharmonic in 1969. "My first evening in Tel Aviv, I went for a walk with the Barenboim family. I finally felt at home," Mehta said. For tickets, call 1-700-70-30-30.