JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Zubin Mehta said he will retire in October 2019.
Mehta, who has been the musical director of the Israel Philharmonic for nearly half a century, made the announcement on Monday, Ynet reported.
The India-born Mehta, 80, became the Israel Philharmonic’s music director in 1977 and was named its music director for life in 1981.
In 2012, he was awarded a Presidential Medal of Distinction by then-Israeli President Shimon Peres.
In accepting the award, Mehta said, “What Israel has given me in the last 50 years I can only give back by having my musicians night after night play their hearts out all over the world.”
Mehta directed the New York Philharmonic for 13 years. Prior to that he led the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra for nearly two decades and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for six years. He remains a visiting conductor for orchestras around the world.
He is the son of Mehki Mehta, the founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra.
Zubin Mehta is an honorary citizen of Tel Aviv and Florence, as well as an honorary member of the State Opera of Vienna, the Bavarian State Opera and the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna.