Zubin: The Mayor of New York never came to my concerts

Zubin: The Mayor of New York never came to my concerts


norman lebrecht

April 11, 2021

Maestro Mehta, in an 85th birthday interview in Florence:

I love this city, I am now part of the furniture. IntendentPereira knows all the singers in the world and luckily [the mayor, Dario] Nardella is in close contact with the theatre, not like Ed Koch in New York who in 11 years in office never came to one of my concerts with the New York Philharmonic. I told him, what kind of Jew are you that doesn’t like music?

More here.




  • Freddynyc says:

    Well maybe he wasn’t a fan of mediocrity and empty showmanship……

    • NYCer says:


    • Lothario Hunter says:

      The picture is a sweet vindication for those among us who always maintained that Muti was never the sexiest conductor of the XX century 😉

      (I know that Riccardo believes to be the sexiest in the XXI century, but the follies of octogenarians are OK as long as they don’t hurt the community at large. 🙂

  • Anon says:

    Didn’t Mayor Koch give the Guarneri Quartet a special award?

  • Larry says:

    Don’t take it personally, Maestro Mehta. The last New York City mayor who went to concerts was Fiorello La Guardia!

    • Petros Linardos says:

      I am more interested to see which ex-mayors or ex-high level officials in general attend.
      I remember spotting Henry Kissinger in a 1984 Vienna State Opera Aida with Pavarotti. Hans Dietrich Genscher was a Bayreuth regular long after stepping down as Germany’s Foreign Minister.

    • Tom Phillips says:

      I believe Bloomberg at least attended several performances at the Met (as of course was also the case with the quasi-Nazi deranged lunatic who preceded him). Not sure about symphonic or other classical, however.

      • Petros Linardos says:

        Has Boomberg’s predecessor shown up at the MET after leaving office?

        • John Kelly says:

          He’d better not…………

        • Tiredofitall says:

          After Volpe, the comps dried up…

        • Paul Hornung says:

          Yes he has. Rudy, love him or hate him, is a genuine opera and classical music lover who during his tenure as mayor did more for arts education than just about anyone. He changed over time though.

          • Tom Phillips says:

            His “knowledge” of opera was limited to the standard Italian repertoire, primarily old chesnuts like “La Boheme”. Not aware of anything he ever did for “arts education” but certainly recall his threats to remove all city funding for the Brooklyn Museum for daring to display controversial art.

        • Tom Phillips says:

          Hopefully he’d now be about as welcome as Alberto Vilar.

    • John Carter says:

      David Dinkins was quite a music lover and in fact, stepped in at one point to save the Goldman Band.

      • PaulD says:

        He might have loved music, but Jews, not so much. He stood by and watched Crown Heights burn.

        • Simon Rosen says:

          That he stood by is arguable. (As we can see today, it is not so easy to stop a riot. Ask me how I know.) That he defended Jews against Farrakhan and then had his life threatened as a result, is not, but rather a matter of fact.

  • Chiara says:

    Zubin sexier than Riccardo?? Ho-hum, don’t think so

  • Minimus says:

    Why use the word ‘maestro’? The conductors I’ve worked with have rarely been the most talented person in the room. Why perpetuate this myth?

    • Alexander T says:

      Names, please….

    • BRUCEB says:

      “The conductors I’ve worked with have rarely been the most talented person in the room.”

      I love that comment.

      I put up with the widespread use of the word though, as a figure of speech. Anymore, it just means “conductor,” much the same way that “awesome” has come to mean “better than terrible” and not “awe-inspiring.”

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    Koch, as below, was a big fan of Copland


  • S. VanStuben says:

    There’s always Di Blasio and Cuomo who’ve gone to and provided FUNDING for……how many operas?

    Ok, so Cuomo’s been busy running up on at least 10 young, WHITE ONLY feminist skirts and killing our nursing home seniors but Di Blasio!!….errr screwed up UES safety big time with his defund the police BS. Both Dems are trash. They need to be tossed into the East River.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Happy 85th birthday, Maestro Mehta!

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    COnsidering all the years he spent in LA, this is interesting
    “I refused to conduct for the cinema except for Manhattan where the music was by Gershwin.”

    JUst think of that frightful Music from Hitchcock films recording which Salonen made 🙁

    • J Barcelo says:

      Mehta did record film music, too. He made a terrific recording of John Williams’ music from Close Encounters and Star Wars .

  • Sharon says:

    Koch was more into movies. After he left the mayoralty for a while he wrote a column of movie reviews for New York City neighborhood papers called “Koch at the Movies”. Actually it was pretty good.

    I must say that in general Koch was less interested in promoting the arts, at least classical arts, than Bloomberg

  • lillian says:

    as always, yet more bleeding heart, self-seeking, emptiness from this vacuous peacock-of-the-podium time-beater

  • henry williams says:

    some people do not like music. classical
    jazz rock. any music.

  • CRWang says:

    Zubin M is a nice guy, but honestly, he overstayed his welcome in LA, NY, and Israel. What a pity Solti couldn’t come to LA because a vulgar rich department store heiress donor preferred a flashy boy to a more experienced conductor with more depth.

    • yujafan says:

      It makes me shudder that anyone could think Solti had ‘depth’ of any kind – but *maybe* when placed alongside Mehta, he did. Awful thought.

      • J Barcelo says:

        You can’t be serious. Maybe you just didn’t get to hear him in concert? The Strauss and Wager operas he recorded are evidence enough you’re wrong. He may not have been to all tastes, but damn he was great. His Mahler!

    • Alexander T says:

      Nice guy?
      Carlos Kleiber referred to him as a benighted thug.

  • John Kelly says:

    Hey – he was from Da Bronx Zubin!!!

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Oh, honey, you must not have lived through the Giuliani years. Most were thrilled to see him go. Only 9/11 saved his reputation, and even that he squandered, in a MAJOR way.

    As far as your insult to deBlasio, I doubt if any New Yorker would compare the success of his marriage to the execrable treatment by Guiliani of his former wives. There should be a photo of Rudy in the dictionary for the entry for “misogynist”.

  • Bryan Hoyt says:

    The Mehta era with the NYP was off from the start. The orchestra dearly wanted Bernstein back after Boulez but management went ahead and hired Mehta. The recordings of the era are nothing special, save a great Mahler 5 right at the very end of Mehta’s tenure

    • BRUCEB says:

      I really like their Brahms cycle (with the exception of Isaac Stern as the soloist for the violin concerto).

  • Alexander T says:

    As I understand it CBS decided not to renew its contract with the NYP during Mehta’s tenure.
    Maybe Koch just didn’t have time for the second rate.

  • David Spence says:

    Might have been because many of the concerts really sucked. The Sacre du printemps on display with this post practically eclipses the Karajan as one of the worst recordings of the piece at the time. There have been others since (though Mehta/LA Phil on Decca was almost passable).