Zubin Mehta Quotes

  1. I love the creativity of New York, but I don’t enjoy the city – I don’t like living here.
  2. You might say that Richard Wagner was the Queen Victoria of Europe. He had musical children everywhere!
  3. New York for a long time was a kind of conductor’s graveyard.
  4. New York is really the place to be; to go to New York, you’re going to the center of the world, the lion’s den.
  5. I sometimes feel it is to my disadvantage that I have not conducted the Cleveland Orchestra or the Boston or Chicago symphonies, but then I have had to sacrifice something in order to have enough time with my orchestras.
  6. It seems always to have been difficult to have been a New York Philharmonic conductor because of the nature of New York. We are in direct competition with the great orchestras in the world who come to play in our hall or in Carnegie, and we are constantly compared. I think that ‘s a good thing.
  7. I’ve never said, ‘I live for art.’
  8. I miss the standard of the New York Philharmonic’s playing very much. It has certainly been a high point in my life.
  9. One shouldn’t know the future.
  10. Rock music is predictable, unless there’s great talent involved.
  11. Open rehearsals reach people who might not otherwise hear the Philharmonic – people on fixed incomes, people who can’t move easily at night, students.
  12. I think conductors do spend too little time with their orchestras.
  13. I am not only a Parsi, I am a Kashmiri too.
  14. I have a few homes, and Los Angeles is certainly one of them.
  15. I love to conduct opera.
  16. My parents had chosen the medical profession for me. I even studied a few semesters at St Xavier’s College, but at the back of my mind, I always wanted to be a musician like my father.
  17. There is a school in Israel called Hand in Hand which I support. There Arab and Jewish students study together on a daily basis.
  18. I believe in music.
  19. An American orchestra doesn’t want to play more than it has to. I respectfully disagree with that attitude.
  20. As long as they keep building settlements, the world will be anti-Israeli.
  21. We are so indebted to our ancestors, musically speaking, that they have left us 400 years of music.
  22. I’m very much tied to the state of Israel, but I am against their policy of settlements in Palestine.
  23. As soon as, say, Saddam Hussein started bombing Israel with Scuds, everyone was like, ‘Poor Israel.’ But when Israel retaliates – and most of the time they then win – people turn against them.
  24. One learns how to change gears within a concert repertoire.
  25. It’s hard to find an emblem of cultural, national pride that burns as bright as Israel’s success in classical music.
  26. I always look at the work of fashion designers as if they were art.
  27. Critics do their job, and I take their criticism seriously.
  28. Let’s try to count the number of Nobel prize-winners that have emerged from scientific centres of excellence like the Weizmann Institute and Haifa’s technical university, the Technion. There has to be at least 25.
  29. My father was a trained accountant, a BCom from Sydenham College and a self-taught violinist. In the 1920s, when he was in his teens, he heard a great violinist, Jascha Heifetz, and he was so inspired listening to him that he bought himself a violin, and with a little help from an Italian teacher, he learned to play it.
  30. Go to the young conductors who are not making it, and you will hear how we shouldn’t push ourselves or sell ourselves, how they don’t have the right connections and the right opportunities. Well, you can be sure they’ve had the opportunities.
  31. Though there is such a rich tradition of culture and arts, I have never been invited to perform at a concert in South India.
  32. Israel gives the West Bank water twice a week! One way of promoting good would be not to ration water.
  33. Why does Israel always have to suffer for others to feel bad for it?
  34. Most Arab Israelis speak Hebrew, but not the other way around. It’s about time that changed.
  35. Wagner’s philosophy had absolutely nothing to do with Bruckner. Bruckner hadn’t written a single word against Jews. Wagner’s book on the Jews was one of the most infamous books of the 19th century.
  36. I’m really not a party person. I’m in the business of working with 100 people every day, so I don’t revel in meeting a roomful of people in my leisure time.
  37. I am jealous of all those people who live on the shore of Dal Lake.
  38. I feel growing up in Mumbai is an advantage, as we grow up speaking so many languages that when we go abroad, it becomes easier to learn new languages.
  39. I endeavor that all orchestras I conduct sound Central European.
  40. American musicians are very giving – they have the highest standard in the world – but they are also very demanding in their conditions.
  41. I knew at university that medicine was just not for me. I saved many lives by not being a doctor!
  42. I have had bullets flying at concerts, but I don’t want to talk about that.
  43. Music is the message of peace, and music only brings peace.
  44. I am often critical of Israel’s policies when in the country, but then feel defensive of them when overseas.
  45. Citizens of India, Pakistan, and Kashmir need to come together and make music.
  46. In truth, I became a conductor because deep down I wanted to conduct Brahms’s four symphonies and Richard Strauss’s tone poems.
  47. The New York Philharmonic is a tremendous opportunity, a great orchestra.
  48. I’m hopeful that Israelis can go to Ramallah whenever they want and see how the people are living.
  49. If you can sing together, you can live together.
  50. There are people who think I am Israeli. That’s rubbish.
  51. There was an opinion expressed in the newspapers that, after 20 years, maybe the Israel Philharmonic should consider asking me to leave. I thought they might have a point, so I asked my orchestra. They told me overwhelmingly that they wanted me to stay.
  52. I would convert to Judaism if the operation didn’t hurt so much.
  53. In Bombay, we have a fine concert hall. I think it is high time we built venues in Delhi and Calcutta, not only for western music, but also Indian music. It doesn’t matter which party is in power; don’t you think the capital of India should have a concert hall?
  54. Israel is a piece of real estate that neither Jew or Arab will let go of; neither will leave these shores. And so they will have to learn to live together.
  55. Some musical directors have more chutzpah. They pick up the phone and talk people into giving. I prefer to call and say ‘thank you’ after the money has been contributed.
  56. I just want to play for Hindus and Muslims that sit together. That’s all I want to do.
  57. In Chicago, they die for their teams.
  58. After conducting Wagner, Beethoven’s triple concerto is like taking an Alka Seltzer.
  59. I feel that the critic and music director should have such a good relationship they can pick up the phone and call each other any time.
  60. My life is so full of sacrifices.
  61. I respect the Indian government for the fact that there are no settlements in Kashmir.
  62. Just imagine, the thousands and thousands of concerts that take place every single day, all over the world. And the positive effect that they would have on the people listening. Now imagine a world without this. This void… it is unthinkable.
  63. All these people who scream about Kashmir being an armed camp are in fact responsible for keeping it that way.
  64. I have been to Kashmir many times, especially with my family, in the ’70s.
  65. I’m a Persian Jew, and we don’t speak Hebrew.
  66. If North American musicians would only know how uncomfortable life is for European musicians.
  67. My family and relatives alone could fill Shanmukhananda Hall in Bombay.
  68. My temples are only in India. When I am in India, I go to the religious ceremonies.
  69. I wish that only three residents of Tel Aviv could see what conditions on the West Bank are like. Living in such proximity, most Israelis have no idea about the adversity on the West Bank.
  70. Indian hotels are doing well globally because they understand hospitality.
  71. I’m a pucca Indian. Bombay is my home.
  72. The amount of culture going on in a small country like Israel is amazing.
  73. My tastes are Viennese.
  74. Bruckner’s Eighth is a colossus.
  75. Even in music concerts in Mumbai and different parts of the world, seats are reserved for sponsors.
  76. The private sector is growing so incredibly in India, in every city you have industries for whom building a concert hall would be nothing financially. But they just don’t do it.
  77. I am always hearing from Israelis, ‘Oh, CNN is anti-Israel,’ or ‘BBC is against us.’ But no, they are reporting facts.
  78. There are three orchestras in Munich, all world-quality, in a city of one million. Yet every hall is full.
  79. The ‘New York Times’ reviews of my work have been evenly divided – favourable and unfavourable.
  80. I love India.
  81. I am an Indian, so I do yoga.
  82. I love rap because it talks about pain that comes authentically from the ghetto. It moves me.
  83. There are certainly talented instrumentalists coming from India. I see them performing all over the world.
  84. I’ve known Pinchas Zukerman since he was a teenager.

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