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Zubin Mehta enthralls Polish audience

The Mumbai-born orchestra conductor stunned thousands of Poles while paying his musical tribute to the memory of millions of Jews.
IANS | By Surender Bhutani, Warsaw,
UPDATED ON APR 17, 2008 03:40 PM IST

Zubin Mehta, who was born in Mumbai, enthralled thousands of Poles when he paid his musical tribute to the memory of millions of Jews who were killed by the Nazis during World War II.

The Polish government had specially invited Zubin Mehta, who is also the conductor of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Warsaw ghetto uprising. It was on April 15, 1943 that the remaining Jews of Warsaw came out from their ghetto to fight against Hitler's army with their Polish brethren.

Zubin Mehta specially selected the fifth symphony of Nazis Tuesday to display his genius. People were left spellbound not only in the , but in many Polish homes as the programme was telecast live on the national TV channel.

The main guest of the evening was Israeli President Shimon Peres, who himself is a Polish born Jew.

"It is remarkable that Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra is being conducted by a non-Jew and that too an India born. It seems music has no religion and it has no spatial territory. The appeal of music is universal," said Anna Sancewicz, a musicologist and an English language lecturer at a private Warsaw university.

"The Polish people feel very close to Zubin's interpretation of classical masters, whether it is Polish born Fredrick Chopin, Amedous Mozart or Beethoven. Of course, their first preference goes to their own compatriot Krzyszt of Pederwski, a great composer and conductor and Zubin is the second best," said Janusz Krzyzowski, president of India-Polish Cultural Committee.

Speaking to IANS after his programme, Mehta said: "I always enjoy giving programmes in Poland as the people here are very knowledgeable and appreciative of classical music. I feel music is in their blood."

Speaking about India, Mehta said: "Motherland always creates a nostalgia in me. No wonder I miss my Mumbai where I grew up and where my formative music training started."

(Surender Bhutani can be contacted at

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