29 July, 2021

Bombay Sonata

The maestro waves his wand. His trust will promote western classical music in India.

Apoorva Guptay
Bombay Sonata
"So Mr Zubin Mehta, can you please tell me, do you belong everywhere or do you belong nowhere?"

I'm sitting with the maestro in the gleaming lobby of the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai, home for a week to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the greatest in the world, with which Mehta has shared a long and special relationship. A few kilometres away, at Cuffe Parade, is his childhood home, where as a five-year-old boy he used to conduct imaginary orchestras, standing on an old vegetable crate.

The people milling around the hotel lobby seem visibly starstruck, but Mehta, tired after an intense week of rehearsals, performances, black-tie affairs and private get-togethers with his close friends Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman and Placido Domingo, is not making eye contact, conserving his energy for the evening ahead.

It's almost 4.30 pm. In a few hours he will be on stage at the cricket stadium, in final rehearsals for the sold-out mega...

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