Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
There is perhaps no other musical ensemble more consistently and closely associated with
the history and tradition of European classical music than the Vienna Philharmonic
Orchestra (VPO). In the course of its 172-year history, the musicians of this most
prominent orchestra of the capital city of music have been an integral part of a musical
epoch that-thanks to an abundance of uniquely gifted composers and interpreters-must
certainly be regarded as unique. Additionally, the orchestra's extensive touring schedule,
prolific recordings, and global television broadcasts allow its artistry to be experienced
around the world.
The orchestra's close association with this rich musical history is best illustrated by
the statements of countless preeminent musical personalities of the past. Richard Wagner
described the orchestra as being one of the most outstanding in the world; Anton Bruckner
called it "the most superior musical association"; Johannes Brahms counted himself a
"friend and admirer"; Gustav Mahler claimed to be joined together through "the bonds of
musical art"; and Richard Strauss summarized these sentiments by saying, "All praise of the
Vienna Philharmonic reveals itself as understatement."
The Vienna State Opera Orchestra holds a special relationship with the private association
known as the Vienna Philharmonic. In accordance with Philharmonic statutes, only a member
of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra can become a member of the Vienna Philharmonic. The
engagement in the Vienna State Opera Orchestra provides the musicians a financial stability
that would be impossible to attain without relinquishing their autonomy to private or
corporate sponsors. Over the course of more than a century and a half, this chosen path of
democratic self-administration has experienced slight modifications, but has never been
substantially altered. The foremost ruling body of the organization is the orchestra
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's mission is to communicate the humanitarian message of
music into the daily lives and consciousness of its listeners. For more than a decade, the
VPO has given benefit concerts in support of humanitarian causes around the world, and
since 1999, it makes an annual donation of 100,000 Euros from its New Year's Concert to a
variety of international charitable organizations. In 2005, the orchestra was named
Goodwill Ambassador for the World Health Organization, and has served as an official
Goodwill Ambassador for IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) since
2012. Since 2008, Rolex has been the Exclusive Sponsor of the Vienna Philharmonic
Orchestra. The musicians endeavor to implement the motto with which Ludwig van Beethoven,
whose symphonic works served as a catalyst for the creation of the orchestra, prefaced his
Missa solemnis: "From the heart, to the heart."
Zubin Mehta was born in 1936 in Bombay and received his
first musical education under the guidance of his father, Mehli Mehta, who was a noted
concert violinist and founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra. After a short period of
pre-medical studies in Bombay, Mr. Mehta left for Vienna in 1954 and eventually entered the
conducting program under Hans Swarowsky at the Akademie für Musik. By 1961, he had already
conducted the Vienna, Berlin, and Israel philharmonic orchestras, and he has recently
celebrated 50 years of musical collaboration with all three ensembles.
Mr. Mehta was music director of Orchestre symphonique de Montréal from 1961 to 1967 and
also assumed the music directorship of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1962, a post he held
until 1978. In 1969, he was appointed music advisor to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
and was made music director in 1977. In 1981, the orchestra awarded him the title of music
director for life. In 1978, he took the post as music director of the New York Philharmonic
and commenced a tenure that lasted 13 years-the longest in the orchestra's history. Since
1985, he has been chief conductor of the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
Mr. Mehta made his debut as an opera conductor with Tosca in Montreal in 1963.
Since then, he has conducted at the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Milan's Teatro
alla Scala, the opera houses of Chicago and Florence, and the Royal Opera House, Covent
Garden, as well as at the Salzburg Festival. Between 1998 and 2006, he was music director
of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. In October 2006, he opened the Palau de les Arts
Reina Sofia in Valencia, and since then, he has held the position of president of that
city's annual Festival del Mediterrani, where he conducted a celebrated Ring
cycle. He has also led Ring cycles in Chicago and Munich.
Mr. Mehta continues to support the discovery and furtherance of musical talents all
over the world. Together with his brother Zarin, he is co-chairman of Bombay's Mehli Mehta
Music Foundation, where more than 200 children are educated in Western classical music. The
Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv develops young talent in Israel and is closely
related to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, as is a new project of teaching young Arab
Israelis in the cities of Shfaram and Nazareth.