Zubin Mehta and the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra received a standing ovation after their spectacular performance at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall in Skopje on June 24th. The event, which will be remembered for a long time, marked the grand finale of their first-ever tour as part of the Open Balkan initiative, celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in the region.
There was tremendous anticipation for Zubin Mehta and the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra’s concert in Skopje. The extraordinary excitement was palpable, and the joy on the faces of the enthusiastic musicians was evident. The audience enthusiastically greeted the masterful performances of two symphonic masterpieces, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Berlioz’ Fantastic Symphony, not allowing Maestro Mehta and the orchestra to leave the stage.
With this concert, the first regional tour of Maestro Mehta and the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra has come to a close, marking a new historic chapter through the Open Balkan initiative. This musical mission brought together Belgrade, Tirana, and Skopje, fostering exceptional artistic experiences and building new bridges.
Speaking to Macedonian media, Maestro Mehta praised the Open Balkan initiative and the unification of the Balkan region through culture, saying:
Never underestimate the power of music and art. Throughout my life, I have witnessed how music can bring people together and connect different cultures. The first time I visited Skopje was just after the devastating earthquake in 1963. Despite the city’s devastation, people forgot about their tragedy for those two hours during the concert.
For Zubin Mehta, this performance at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall marked his fourth visit to Skopje in his illustrious 65-year career, while the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra returned to this city after nearly fifty years. Throughout its centennial history, the orchestra had previously performed in Skopje on two occasions, back in 1976 and 1940.
The concert was attended by Bisera Kostadinovska-Kocevska, the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia, as well as the delegation from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia, members of the Macedonian government, and representatives of the diplomatic corps.
Through the celebration of their centennial anniversary, the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, together with Zubin Mehta, brought the region together as a unique cultural entity. It was a great privilege for the orchestra to spend an unforgettable week with the maestro, from the Gala concert at the Kolarac Hall in Belgrade to their historic debut in Tirana and the magnificent performance at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall in Skopje. After the final rehearsal, Mehta expressed his gratitude to the musicians for their wonderful week of collaboration and congratulated them on an exceptionally successful tour. He expressed his wish for the orchestra to have their own new concert hall in Belgrade soon, as their Macedonian colleagues do, with the hope that the main hall would be named after late Ivan Tasovac.