How the Australian World Orchestra snared the great Zubin Mehta for this year’s concerts.

On Friday, August 26, 2011, in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House, 99 Australian musicians, all at the top of their game and representing over 46 world-class orchestras around the world, came together to perform the inaugural concert of the Australian World Orchestra. The audience experienced an orchestra of superb Australian musicians, most of whom they had either never seen or heard before. One of the main phrases that comes up when talking about the AWO is: “a first”. Obviously the 2011 season was a first in our history; but even before those first performances we were all thinking how we could take this to the next level.

The answer was simple: we needed to snare an “unobtainable” conductor. By “unobtainable”, I mean a conductor considered one of the Top Ten, or preferably the Top Five! One name kept recurring in our discussions – Zubin Mehta. But how to get him? This is where the AWO is special. We have so many Australian musicians playing with these conductors across the world, it becomes a matter of simply finding the right person to pop...

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