In today’s Orange County Register online, I review Zubin Mehta’s 50th anniversary concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The concert repeats (today, in progress), Saturday and Sunday.
Click here to read my review or pick up a copy of tomorrow’s newspaper.
photo: Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging
“Only a handful of players are left in the orchestra from Mehta’s time…” That is not exactly true.
There is only one person still playing with the LA Phil these days who was already in the orchestra when Zubin Mehta became the Music Director in the fall of 1962: that distinction belongs to the clarinetist Michele Zukovsky who joined the band before the young Maestro’s arrival and a few years later was promoted by him to the Principal position. Not just “one of the old hands”, but in fact the longest-serving active member of the orchestra, she still plays like an angel (and/or a devil, if and when something diabolical is required by the music). There are also eleven musicians still in the orchestra right now who were hired by Zubin during his tenure as the MD (six violinists, four double-bassists, one trombonist). That makes it an even dozen “from Mehta’s time” – definitely more than two handfuls.
Thanks, MarK. Were you hired by Zubin or Carlo?
MarK, so Ms. Zukovsky hired by Maestro Solti when he was still MD-Designate?
No, to the best of my knowledge, Sir Georg never actually assumed the position and therefore did not hire anyone for this orchestra.
I know that Sir Georg never officially took over as Music Director, but I’m 99% he hired at least one musician (maybe as many as three) between the time he accepted the job and when he resigned the post. Given the untimely death of Maestro Van Beinum in 1959, I genuinely don’t know who would’ve had the responsibility to hire musicians if Maestro Solti didn’t do it — Mrs. Chandler perhaps . . .
According to Michele, she was hired by the auditioning committee of the LA Phil without participation of a music director, which is not surprising since the MD position was vacant for about two years or so after the untimely death of Eduard van Beinum. After becoming the “designate”, Georg Solti apparently did participate in hiring one or two new members before promptly exiting the scene, but Michele remains the only current one who joined the orchestra before Zubin’s arrival.
Ah. Thank you very much for the clarification.
So, she has been in for over 50 years? Amazing. I wonder if she’ll beat Stanley Drucker’s record in NY since she is still going strong. I can attest to Ms. Zukovsky still being at the top of her game…she had a huge solo in Salonen’s piece Nyx performed a couple of weeks ago and sounded fantastic.
That is correct, and she sounds that way with remarkable consistency too.
Ditto what Chris says. Ms. Z sounded absolutely terrific in Nyx, as she always does.
Also worth pointing out that for many years she played with her father Kalman Bloch in the clarinet section. He was hired by Klemperer and also played on the soundtrack to films like Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind.
They were then (and probably still are) the only father-daughter team to have played in the same section in a major orchestra.
The Music Director who hired me left the orchestra a few months later – apparently he regretted his decision so much that he could not stand seeing me on stage so often… But, who is Carlo? If you are talking about Zubin’s successor, neither you nor i could call him by his first name when speaking to him. He was Maestro Giulini. My rule for myself is this: when i write, i allow myself to call people by their first names, only if i can or could call them that way when speaking to them. It seems like a reasonable rule to me. Among people i ever knew, probably only three dared call the Maestro “Carlo”: his wife (Signora Giulini to me, of course – not simply Francesca), Ernest Fleischmann and Olive Behrendt.