President of India Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi on 6 September 2013 conferred Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony, 2013 on Maestro Zubin Mehta. The award carries an amount of One Crore Rupees, a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/handloom item. Zubin Mehta is an Indian Parsi conductor of western classical music. The Government of India previously had honoured Zubin Mehta with the Padma Bhushan and with India's second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan.
The annual award was instituted by the Government of India during the commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or sex. The first Tagore Award was conferred on Pt. Ravi Shankar, the Indian Sitar Maestro in 2012.
A High-level Jury under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and comprising the Chief Justice of India, Justice Altamas Kabir, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Smt. Sushma Swaraj and Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi after detailed discussions on 4 July, 2013, unanimously decided to select Zubin Mehta to be the second recipient of the Tagore Award, 2013 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural harmony.
Zubin Mehta: A Fact-Sheet
• Zubin Mehta was born on 29 April 1936 in Bombay, India
• Zubin Mehta left Mumbai, India almost sixty years ago to study music in Europe, by the age of twenty-five
• He conducted three of the best-known symphony orchestras in the world: the Vienna, Berlin, and Israel Philharmonic
• A rapid succession of appointments then followed, as Music Director with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (1961–67), the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (1962–78), and the New York Philharmonic (1978–91)
• He was appointed Music Adviser of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (1969), then its Music Director (1977), and was finally titled its Music Director for Life (1981)
• Debuting as opera conductor in Montreal (1963), he has conducted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, La Scala in Milan, and the opera houses of Chicago and Florence
• He was the conductor of the historic production of Puccini’s Tosca in Rome (1992), enacted in the specific settings and time mentioned in the score of the opera
• He has conducted at the prestigious Salzburg Festival, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia among other venues
• He was Music Director of the Bavarian Opera (1998–2006), and is President of the annual Festival del Mediterrani in Valencia (2006–)
• To raise funds for war victims and in remembrance of those who perished in the Yugoslav wars, he played the Mozart Requiem at the ruins of Sarajevo’s National Library with the Sarajevo Symphony Orchestra and Choir (1994)
• A year after the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, he conducted the Bavarian State Orchestra in a memorial concert in Chennai (2005)
• In Israel, he gives free concerts in Arab-inhabited towns and leads the Mifneh (‘Change’) programme teaching Western classical music to young Arab Israelis
• In Tel Aviv, at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, and in his native Mumbai under the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation, named after his father, Zubin Mehta is closely involved in nurturing young talent in western classical music
• He is a bold experimenter at the frontiers of his art, recording with Ravi Shankar the latter’s Sitar Concerto No. 2 played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, on the one hand, and working with the Chinese film director Zhang Yimou on the stupendous production of Puccini’s opera Turandot (1997–98), on the other
Who: Pranab Mukherjee
Where: New Delhi
When: 6 September 2013