Daniel Barenboim and Zubin Mehta

MUMBAI: The Mehli Mehta Music Foundation will mark his birth anniversary by presenting five concerts from 7 to 12 October with maestro Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

The concerts will feature several other legendary artists like pianist Daniel Barenboim, tenor Placido Domingo, soprano Barbara Frittoli and violinist Pinchas Zukerman. Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will be playing for the third time in India.

It took two years of planning to organise the event. An emotional Zubin Mehta said at a media conference in Mumbai on Monday, "I can't imagine how my father would have felt, some of his favourites musicians are performing in the concert." The funds generated from the concert will be used for developing the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation. Soloists, including the entire backing musician troupe, are doing the concert at no cost.

Adds Mehta, "I thank all the musicians who have come to my support. The funds needed to organise such concerts are huge – close to 1,50,000 euros (for four concerts). India is a great attraction for all these musicians, I didn't have to force them at all – they were very eager to perform."

Pianist Daniel Barenboim said, "I am very close to Zubin's family, I learnt a lot from Zubin's prolific musician father Mehli Mehta, it's an honour to perform for a cause initiated by him."

Established in 1995, The Mehli Mehta Foundation has grown to 250 students over a decade – a testament to the small but enthusiastic group of volunteers that are determined to keep Mehli Mehta's dream alive. Says Mehta, "Our purpose is to build a music school of international standards, often young musicians from India go to west to learn music and never return. That should stop. Talent is rising in India and we want to nurture that – However, I know it's an uphill battle."

Mehli Mehta Foundation trustee Mehroo Jeejeebhoy said, "Presently, we conduct music classes in two small apartments, and are looking forward to shift to a bigger place and get renowned musicians from India and abroad to teach". Mehli Mehta's contribution to India's western classical music is huge. The surge of western classical music during the 1930s-1950s is undoubtedly credited to Mehli Mehta. An iconic musician of his time, conductor and a teacher he was instrumental in founding and leading the Bombay Symphony Orchestra, the

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