David Bohnett Speeches

Remarks on the 50th Anniversary of Zubin Mehta being named Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic

Good evening, I’m David Bohnett, Chairman of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association Board of Directors. Joining me here on stage this evening are County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and Los Angeles City Council Member Tom LaBonge.

Zev has been a great friend to the LA Philharmonic in his role as Supervisor, and he grew up around music and LA Phil concerts. You often see Zev in this concert hall or at the Hollywood Bowl.

The Hollywood Bowl sits in City Councilman LaBonge’s district. You know Tom as the most enthusiastic champion of all things LA, and he is here tonight to present the Maestro with a very special honor on behalf of the City.

On behalf of the Philharmonic family, it is our special privilege to be on stage with Maestro Mehta on this historic occasion, as tonight represents the Maestro’s 50th Anniversary of becoming Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

It is difficult to sum up a half-century of an artistic partnership. Zubin put the Los Angeles Philharmonic on the map. He conducted concerts all around Los Angeles, in churches as well as in concert halls. He led the orchestra on 14 tours around the world.

The concert program he offers us tonight is the same as the first program he conducted as music director, at the age of 26, in 1962.

There are many here in the audience tonight who were there in December of 1962. And as a matter of fact, there are 18 members of the orchestra tonight who played under Zubin’s baton as Music Director, and one musician, our beloved clarinetist, Michele Zukovsky, who was there they day Zubin started, 50 year ago. (1)

Maestro Mehta has conducted the LA Phil is all of its major homes: starting in the Philharmonic Auditorium on 5th & Grand. Zubin conducted the opening Philharmonic concert in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 1964 and he has of course conducted the Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl, and, in Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Zubin is a witness and participant in the extraordinary growth of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and tonight we pay tribute to his major contributions to the world of classical music.

(1) Added subsequent to the delivery of my remarks.