Alec Baldwin Gives $1 Million To The New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic Board Member and Radio Host Alec Baldwin has given a $1 million gift to the New York Philharmonic in honor of departing President and Executive Director Zarin Mehta, who is concluding his 12-year tenure at the end of the 2011–12 season. Mr. Baldwin's gift is a donation of proceeds he received from an advertising campaign for Capital One.
Music Director Alan Gilbert is dedicating the Philharmonic's concert on June 20, 2012 - the first of the final subscription concerts of the 2011–12 season, featuring Mozart's Mass in C minor and Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22 with Emanuel Ax - to Zarin Mehta.
"I have loved classical music all of my life," said Mr. Baldwin, "but Zarin Mehta made my dream of becoming part of the world of classical music come true. I will miss working with him directly, but will always bear in mind his passion, commitment, and insight as I continue my work with the New York Philharmonic. Zarin has my best wishes for the future, and I look forward to continuing our rich, musical friendship."
"Alec's remarkably generous gift is just the latest in his steadfast and inspiring support of the New York Philharmonic, and of classical music," said Zarin Mehta. "His role as our Radio Host has brought us many new listeners, as well as much appreciated attention, and his active roles as Board Member, Gala benefit Chairman, and high-profile and magnanimous donor have benefitted us and our field. This latest contribution, being given in my name, humbles me and inspires me to continue to contribute to the art form in any way I can."
"Alec Baldwin is a wonderful friend to the New York Philharmonic," said Executive Director Designate Matthew VanBesien, "and his active presence is one of Zarin Mehta's great legacies. All of us at the Philharmonic are grateful for this outstanding gift, as well as for everything Alec has already done for us. I personally look forward to working with him and welcoming him further in the fold of the New York Philharmonic."
"On behalf of the Board of Directors of the New York Philharmonic, I'd like to express our great appreciation not only for Alec's direct support," said Philharmonic Board Chairman Gary W. Parr, "but for his dedication to the institution, his obvious enthusiasm, and his advocacy, on a national basis, for classical music itself. With this gift, once again, Alec has set an example for all."
Screen and stage actor Alec Baldwin has hosted The New York Philharmonic This Week radio series since the 2009–10 season. For his starring role in the television series 30 Rock, he received the 2008 and 2009 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, the 2010 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Comedy, and the 2010 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series. Mr. Baldwin made his Philharmonic debut narrating the Inside the Music program on October 10, 2008, and he narrated an additional Inside the Music program on January 23, 2009. As part of The Russian Stravinsky: A Philharmonic Festival, he narrated L'Histoire du Soldat on May 2, 2010. Mr. Baldwin has hosted the Opening Night Concert and New Year's Eve Live From Lincoln Center telecasts on PBS stations since 2009.
Zarin Mehta, one of the world's leading arts administrators, was appointed Executive Director of the New York Philharmonic in September 2000, and he received the additional title of President in June 2004 in recognition of his outstanding leadership of the Orchestra. He has made the Orchestra a magnet for the world's great artists and has brought both rising and seasoned performers to its stage. Under his leadership the Philharmonic hired two of its Music Directors: Lorin Maazel (2002–09) and Alan Gilbert, who ascended to the podium in 2009.
Mr. Mehta has overseen major tours on four continents, helping to make the Philharmonic a worldwide cultural ambassador. An event that highlighted this role was the historic February 2008 concert in Pyongyang, DPRK, and the Orchestra's debut in Hanoi, Vietnam, in October 2009. Also under Mr. Mehta's aegis, the Philharmonic welcomed its first-ever Global Sponsor, Credit Suisse.
At home, Mr. Mehta has maintained the Philharmonic's preeminent position in New York City's cultural life through the New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, and the Free Annual Memorial Day Concerts at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. He has also fostered an active commissioning program; instituted innovative series of lectures and discussions; and expanded the Orchestra's extensive educational activities beyond the famed Young People's Concerts, including the introduction of the Very Young People's Concerts, for preschoolers. In addition, Mr. Mehta has championed important new initiatives to bring the Orchestra into the digital age, including by making live performances available as downloads, greatly enhancing its outreach and audience development efforts.
Born in Bombay in 1938, Zarin Mehta left India as a teenager to study accounting in England. In 1962 he moved to Canada to join the international accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. He was appointed managing director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in 1981, and then served as president and chief executive officer of the Ravinia Festival (1990–2000). Mr. Mehta's numerous honors include Member of the Order of Canada; honorary doctorates from Chicago's Roosevelt University and from the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York; and, in 2012, the Outstanding Achievement Award from The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He is married to Carmen Lasky, with whom he has two children, daughter Rohanna and son Rustom.