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Zubin Mehta / Die Zeit

Since Israel was founded, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has more or less held the country together musically. In the past, the musicians performed before filthy soldiers and avoided Richard Wagner. Today they play Wagner again, do not always share the opinions of politicians and remain unique in the world. Principal conductor Zubin Mehta is originally from India but has come to share the political passion and involvement of his orchestra and as a result has earned great respect in Israel. He defends Israel whenever it is attacked and gives concerts like the one on the border with Lebanon in 1977. The orchestra performed for an Israeli and Lebanese audience - on both sides of the border - urging people to dance to Dvorák's 'Slavonic Dances'. The Arabs were so enthusiastic that they started hugging the musicians. Mehta is convinced of one thing: 'We have to accept history in its entirety, the chaos. We have to accept everything - only then will we have this special sound, this passion.' Photo essay for DIE ZEIT newspaper

Photos © Eddie Gerald

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