Zubin Mehta is retiring from the Israel Philharmonic, ending a lengthy relationship.
The announcement, according to The Jerusalem Post, was made Monday and confirmed that Mehta would end his nearly 50 years with the ensemble in October 2019. The 80-year-old Indian-born conductor made numerous recordings with the group throughout his tenure, including a legendary recording of a live performance of Verdi’s Requiem with Martina Arroyo, Shirley Verrett, Richard Tucker and Bonaldo Giaotti in 1968. There was also a recording of Verdi Arias with Andrea Bocelli and another with Leontyne Price as well as an album of operatic overtures and excerpts.
Mehta also championed Israel composers with the orchestra and conducted numerous symphonic works ranging from Beethoven and Mozart to Tchaikovsky and Sibelius.
The orchestra gave its first concert in 1936, the same year Mehta was born. He first conducted the group in 1961 and became its music director in 1977. The organization made him music director for life in 1981. Mehta has launched many peace initiatives and, according to Times of India, has dreamed of seeing a Palestinian place in the orchestra.
Mehta is also the main conductor for the Valencia Opera and the chief conductor for Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. His upcoming engagements in 2017 include performances of Verdi’s “Falstaff” in Milan, Strauss’ “Die Frau ohne Schatten” in Berlin, Verdi’s “Don Carlos” in Florence, Mozart’s “Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail” in Milan and Beethoven’s “Fidelio” in Napoli.