The Ravinia Festival: A talk with Zarin Mehta

8. Spare Time

FRANK J. OTERI: With all the stuff that you’re doing, and I know you have a very busy schedule, what do you do in your spare time? What music do you listen to? Do you have time to do that?

ZARIN MEHTA: Well, it’s not a question of having time. I have to make the time because I have to listen to so many things, tapes and records of young individuals from our Rising Stars concerts, other things that, you know, I get. I just bought the complete recordings of Martha Argerich. You know, I want to listen to that.

FRANK J. OTERI: Right.

ZARIN MEHTA: I don’t listen to pop.

FRANK J. OTERI: Do you listen to jazz?

ZARIN MEHTA: I listen to less jazz than I used to because of the time. So my listening now is coming more on the basis of things I need to listen to, for purposes of either auditioning the individual, or some, a piece that I wanted to program and I want to rehear it to see how it is, you know, that sort of thing.

FRANK J. OTERI: Any new music that you’ve listened to in the past year that…?

ZARIN MEHTA: A man called Dashow sent me a couple of records of electronic music and I don’t know quite where to put it.

FRANK J. OTERI: James Dashow?

ZARIN MEHTA: You know, that sort of thing. But it’s kind of fun to listen to those things. But you know, new music, it’s not really new music so much as often, I will listen to something of Messiaen …Trois Petite Liturgies for instance, okay? We’ve performed it in Montreal, I’ve heard it, but you know, it’s not something that I know as I would know a, say, Beethoven or Brahms Symphony. So I would listen to it again to see how it would work in the atmosphere that I’m talking about. So I would listen to things on that basis.

FRANK J. OTERI: Any chance of James Dashow’s electronic music or the Messiaen turning up at Ravinia in the next couple of years?

ZARIN MEHTA: I don’t know. That’s why I say I have to find the right way of doing it. The right programmatic mix and so on. And the people to do it.

FRANK J. OTERI: Right. Well, it was a tremendous pleasure to meet with you here at this hotel, and thank you for your time, and I hope to get to Ravinia again soon.

ZARIN MEHTA: A pleasure. You’re welcome any time.

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