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Zubin Mehta

May 28, 2013

Luciano Berio and I go back a long way when we met through our mutual friend Luigi Nono in Italy in the 1960ies.

Luciano is one of the very few contemporary composers whose presence at rehearsals of his music I found most helpful because he knew his own compositions in the greatest detail and was always most helpful and critical. We used to meet often in California when he visited the Los Angeles Philharmonic, for example for the world premiere of Quaderni III. There was an incident that happened during this very premiere that is too long to explain here, and Luciano was furious at me.
This stopped out relation for at least five years. We made up after a performance of Gustav Mahler's third symphony in Israel when he came to me, put his head on my shoulder and wept profoundly. Since then there has never been an ugly word between us and the previous performances, for example Sinfonia in New York, Florence and Vienna, have given me such pleasure, as did recently Solo for trombone and orchestra which was a huge success with our Florentine public.

Luciano has been one of the greatest influences in modern times on young composers because, apart from being a leader among his peers, he was also one of the few 20th century composers that knew the music of his predecessors be it Cherubini, Schubert or Mahler.

I miss him tremendously especially when I am performing his music and turn around in the rehearsals and I do not see him anymore.

I embrace Talia who is such a standard bearer for her husband's creativity and I long for the next time that I may perform one of Luciano's great works.

Zubin Mehta