Ahead of the Gala concert with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra marking the orchestra’s celebration of its centennial anniversary, the legendary maestro Zubin Mehta is set to grace the stage on June 20, 2023 at the esteemed Kolarac Concert Hall. The Belgrade performance serves as the opening of Mehta and the Belgrade Philharmonic’s regional tour, which will continue in Tirana and Skopje, as part of the Open Balkan initiative.
Just before his arrival, the renowned maestro Mehta shared: I am truly delighted to reunite with the Belgrade Philharmonic, an orchestra with whom I share many memories. I vividly recall our first collaboration back in 1958, and with each subsequent concert, I witnessed the ensemble’s continuous growth and refinement. Two years ago, during our last joint performance, I was amazed by the orchestra’s exceptional caliber, deserving every possible support. My heartfelt congratulations to the beloved Belgrade Philharmonic on this jubilee, and I am proud to celebrate it together with them on June 20th at Kolarac Hall. While we all hold a deep affection for this hall, the Belgrade Philharmonic has long dreamed of its new Concert Hall, a well-deserved space where it can reach its new artistic heights in the next century. I am thrilled to learn that the detailed plans for the new building are in their final stages, and I look forward to opening the new Concert Hall with the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra as soon as possible. This concert, commemorating the Philharmonic’s centennial, will be my 11th performance with the orchestra, and it feels unusual not to have my dear friend Ivan Tasovac around.
The program for all three concerts will feature Mehta conducting the orchestra in Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. Following the Gala concert at Kolarac on June 20, the tour will continue with performances at the National Opera House in Tirana on June 22 and the Macedonian Philharmonic in Skopje on June 24.
I have long desired to embark on a tour with the Belgrade Philharmonic throughout the region, ever since our memorable collaboration in Dubrovnik in 2011. During my recent visit to Belgrade in 2021, I proposed the idea to President Vučić to venture into the southern part of the region, and he immediately supported the idea. I consider the Open Balkan initiative to be of great importance, and with the power of the universal language of music, we should always strive to build bridges between cultures. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to this through the upcoming concerts with the Belgrade Philharmonic in Tirana, a city I have never been before, and to return to Skopje, where I conducted immediately after the earthquake in 1963, Mehta explained.
As one of today’s greatest conductors and the Belgrade Philharmonic’s most cherished friend, Mehta is an authority in bridging different cultures. With his unparalleled energy and vision, he has broken down many barriers harnessing the power of music. Mehta has provided invaluable assistance to the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra on many occasions, from acquiring instruments to supporting their first American tour, always praising the orchestra’s progress and quality.