On July 22, 2012, German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner will host a festive ceremony at his residence to bestow the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on maestro Zubin Mehta, in the presence of an eminent Indian audience.
Through this high Order, Germany acknowledges the outstanding contribution of Mr. Mehta in the field of classical music and promoting bilateral relations between India and Germany.
Ambassador Steiner says: “It is a great honour for me to award Zubin Mehta. Since decades, Zubin Mehta is not only one of the world’s leading music directors, but also an outstanding cultural bridge builder between India and Germany. He is a true world citizen; at the same time, he has remained a true Indian. Despite all his successes, he has never lost track of his commitment to social issues. Zubin Mehta is a living role model for initiative, creativity and vision.”
From 1998 to 2006, Zubin Mehta was the admired Music Director of the Bavarian State Orchestra in Munich. The Indian-born musical maestro’s German connection dates back to the early 1960s. At the age of 25, he was the youngest conductor directing the Berlin philharmonic orchestra in 1961 and has been associated with the ensemble for the past 50 years. The high Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany is awarded for an exceptional political, socio-economic or intellectual performance as well as for eminent social, charitable or humanitarian merits for Germany.
Mehta has also been instrumental in bringing the two countries closer through music. In 2005, the maestro brought the Bavarian State Orchestra to India. With Zubin Mehta as conductor, the Bavarian State Orchestra enthralled the Indian audiences with various classical masterpieces. Last year he directed a benefit concert in Berlin by the city’s reputed ‘Staatskapelle’ to support WWF’s sustainability projects in the Indian states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
Zubin Mehta has also been the recipient of many German awards and honours over the years. In April 2008, the State of Bavaria honoured him with the Order of Maxmilian for his outstanding achievements in the artistic field. On October 2, 2011 he received the Echo Klassik in Berlin, for his life's work. The Munich Philharmonic (in 2004) and the Berlin Philharmonic (in 2006) awarded him the title of ‘Honorary Conductor’.
To add to the evening’s aura, renowned Indian classical dancer Alarmél Valli will perform in honour of the maestro during the ceremony at the German Ambassador’s Residence.
Dancer and choreographer, Valli is known worldwide for her beautiful, perfectionist and, at the same time, enchanting Bharatnatyam performances. While having performed around the world, she has also been associated with Germany for several years. Valli has presented numerous shows in the country, including at the Millennium festival in Berlin, the Frankfurt Alte Oper, the Munich Opera Festival, the Hammoniale Festival in Hamburg, the Spring Festival at Darmstadt and at the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Pina Bausch’s Wuppertal Dance Theatre.
Immediately after Sunday evening’s ceremony in Delhi, maestro Zubin Mehta flies back to Europe to conduct Anton Bruckner at the Salzburg Festival.