General News

Conductor Zubin Mehta performs Kashmir concert

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Sep 08, 2013 | 5:18pm EDT

Renowned Indian conductor Zubin Mehta led the Bavarian State Orchestra as part of a historical and controversial concert in Kashmir on Saturday (07Sep13). Almost 2,000 guests attended the classical event, which was hosted by the German embassy amid high security in the Shalimar Gardens in Srinagar. The concert took place during conflict between India's officials and separatists, who threatened to stage an attack on the city as a protest to Mehta's presence, claiming the event was an attempt to legitimise Indian rule in the disputed region. But the Dal Lake concert was not marred by any kind of violence and there were no insurgent attacks, as had been feared. After the concert, Mehta announced he was keen to return and play a stadium show for Kashmiri people, but members of the orchestra were upset about the embassy gig with general manager Nikolaus Bachler telling Reuters he was "misled" by German embassy officials over the event. He said, "The musicians, all the 80, waived the fees for Kashmiri people and not for an elite event. We didn't waive the fees for an embassy concert. Be sure this will be an issue in Germany... We will raise this issue with the German government that art can't be exploited by anyone, be it governments or by embassies or any political groups."

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