Zarin Mehta steps down from helm of the New York Philharmonic

September 29, 2010
By Michael Quinn

Zarin Mehta, president and executive director of the New York Philharmonic, is to leave the orchestra after 12 years when his current contract expires on August 31, 2012. He will leave shortly before his 74th birthday.

Mr. Mehta became executive director of the orchestra in September 2000, and was given the title of president in June 2004. He led the orchestra in the final two years of Kurt Masur’s tenure as music director and during the seven-year term of Lorin Maazel. He has described the appointment of Maazel’s successor, Alan Gilbert (who became the orchestra’s 25th music director in 2009) as “without hesitation, my proudest achievement.”

Born in Bombay, India in 1938, Zarin Mehta is the son of the violinist and founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra, Mehli Mehta, and brother of the conductor, Zubin Mehta. A chartered accountant, he managed the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1981-90, and was president and CEO of the Ravinia Festival from 1990-2000 before joining the New York Philharmonic.

Announcing his departure, Mr. Mehta said: “During these years of highly demanding schedules, complex issues, and extensive travel itineraries, there has been one paramount and constant joy that makes all the responsibility worthwhile: listening to the musicians of the New York Philharmonic – with their music directors, guest conductors, and guest artists – make beautiful music on the highest level.”

Orchestra chairman Gary W. Parr thanked Mr. Mehta “for his exemplary dedication,” and said he had “raised the profile of the New York Philharmonic, served as the consummate fundraiser, overseen artistic transition, increased attendance, and led the institution with dignity and grace – in short, his contribution has been absolutely extraordinary.”

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