(Yossi Zelgier/Flash90)
Zubin Mehta leads the Israel Philharmonic orchestra (Yossi Zelgier/Flash90)

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is starting a two-week North American tour at New York’s Carnegie Hall. So much for cultural boycotts on Israel.

Conductor Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra are starting a two-week North American tour at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

The October 25 opening-night concert will feature an all-Mozart program including the overture to “The Marriage of Figaro.”

The orchestra will visit Toronto, California and Florida before returning to Carnegie Hall on November 7 through November 9.

The tour will celebrate the legacy of the 81-year-old Mehta.

Mehta has announced that he will retire from the Israel Philharmonic in 2019 after almost 50 years with the ensemble. He has advised the Israel Philharmonic since 1969, directed it since 1977, and led as “musical director for life” since 1981.

The Indian-born Mehta also led the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.

Benefit galas honoring Mehta will be held in New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has previously been the target of anti-Israel activists.

In 2011, a performance in London by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was disrupted repeatedly by BDS activists.

In 2012, author Alice Walker and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, both prominent anti-Israel mouthpieces, were among 50 artists and writers who signed a letter demanding that Carnegie Hall cancel the orchestra’s appearance.

Despite threats of boycotts and disruptions, the night’s sold-out performance went off without a hitch.

When a Tablet Magazine writer asked Mehta if he would have joined the boycotters had he not been conducting, he replied, “No!” That’s neither his style nor his way. “I believe in music,” the conductor explained.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff