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Zubin Mehta, Conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic 2015 New Year's Concert, Hopes to Bring Peace Through Music

By Jaime Prisco j.prisco@classicalite.com on Dec 31, 2014 07:27 PM EST

Zubin Mehta, the Indian Maestro who was chosen as the conductor for the illustrious Vienna New Year’s Concert, hopes that this year's concert music will bring harmony into the world.

"All over the world there are people who hate each other,” Mehta told the Austrian daily Die Presse. “This music can at least bring people together for two and a half hours.”

The New Year’s concert with the Vienna Philharmonic is one of Vienna’s proudest traditions. It is one of the most-watched classical music events, televised to 50 million people in about 90 countries. Every year, the Philharmonic chooses a high-profile guest conductor to lead the traditional New Year's celebration. This will be the fifth time that the 78-year-old Maestro Mehta has ascended the podium. He previously conducted in 1990, 1995, 1998 and 2007. Mehta is well-known for his humanitarian efforts, including his work with the Israel Philharmonic to promote peace in the region.

The Vienna Philharmonic’s annual Neujahrskonzert, which rings in the new year from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein, is devoted largely to the kings of 19th-century waltz, the Strauss family. However, each year, a little variety is added to the mix and this time there will also be music marking the 650th anniversary of University of Vienna, the 200th birthday of the Austrian capital’s Technical University, and the 150th anniversary of Vienna’s Ringstrasse boulevard. The event began on Dec. 31, 1939, under the Nazis, but from these dark beginnings it gradually became a much-loved, regular event in the classical-music calendar.

“I can think of no greater [honour],” he said. “When I walk from the Imperial [hotel] towards the Konzerthaus of the Musikverein, it’s like I was in my living room. I feel so at home here.”

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TagsZubin Mehta, Vienna Philharmonic, New Year's Concert

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