Ailing Zubin Mehta to skip farewell U.S. tour with Israel Philharmonic

January 18, 2019
By Sean Piccoli

Zubin Mehta, 82, will forgo his U.S. farewell tour with  the Israel Philharmonic, citing poor health.

Zubin Mehta, 82, will forgo his U.S. farewell tour with the Israel Philharmonic, citing poor health.

Conductor Zubin Mehta will not join the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on a U.S. tour that was to be his last here as orchestra leader, a step attributed to Mehta’s health by tour organizers who announced a replacement conductor Friday.

The tour — six stops including concerts at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Feb. 3, West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center on Feb. 5 and Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center on Feb. 6 — will continue with Yoel Levi at the podium in Mehta’s place, the organization American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra said in a statement.

The Indian-born and much-traveled Mehta, 82, one of the most celebrated conductors of the 20th Century, had intended the tour as part of a series of farewell concerts around his retirement from the Israel Philharmonic, which named him music director for life in 1981.

Before then, Mehta led orchestras in Montreal, Los Angeles and New York. He counted music luminaries such as Luciano Pavarotti and Ravi Shankar as friends and collaborators, and performances with Mehta were often major events unto themselves. He conducted the first Three Tenors concert, in Rome in 1990, and an emotional performance in the ruins of Sarajevo with the city’s hometown orchestra at the end of the Yugoslav Wars in 1994.

Mehta first announced his retirement plans in 2016. “The unexpected news of Zubin’s cancellation is an unfortunate turn of events, but we are grateful to Yoel for stepping in to conduct what we know will be a very exciting and uplifting U.S. Tour for the IPO,” said David Hirsch, board president of the American Friends organization.

4 Responses to “Ailing Zubin Mehta to skip farewell U.S. tour with Israel Philharmonic”

  1. Posted Jan 20, 2019 at 9:26 am by Anoop & Niru Desai

    Mr. Mehta will be sadly missed. We were looking forward to his farewell performance in New York.
    But, we are more concerned with this great conductor’s health.

    We wish him a quick recovery.

  2. Posted Feb 26, 2019 at 4:41 am by Luisa Einav

    To the unforgettable Maestro Zubin Mehta, a great conductor and a great man, my utmost wishes for his recovery, from the bottom of my heart. Luisa Einav

  3. Posted Mar 03, 2019 at 1:53 pm by Patti Lieb (IPO harpist 1969-73)

    Dear Maestro,
    Sorry to hear you are not making the planned farewell tour leading the IPO this year. I will be at the Kravis Center thinking of you.
    My career was short but so divine thanks to your magnificent musicianship. My time sharing the stage as you conducted is what I refer to now as my golden years. The beauty of seeing you conducting and sharing your musical interpretations remain inspirational. I thank you for those memories! All the rest of those years I never missed the chance to watch you bringing your gift to the world. May your years continue to bring you as many blessings as you have for me.
    With great thanks, respect and admiration. Shalom.
    Patti Lieb

  4. Posted Mar 12, 2019 at 8:30 pm by Margie Mee

    Very sad to hear news of Zubhan Mehta’s illness! I was with Andrew Balio, principle trumpet, at his 60th birthday party in LA with the LA Symphony, and many admirers who appeared on stage, and then afterwards with a cake and champagne! It was magical and something I will never forget!