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New York Philharmonic Executive To Resign

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Zarin Mehta, the president and executive director of the New York Philharmonic, has announced he will step down when his contract expires at the end of the 2011-12 season.

Mehta turns 72 on October 28, and will have spent twelve of those years at the Philharmonic.

"My decision is that I have a contract that expires in two years," he told WQXR's Annie Bergen. "I'll be nearly 74 at the time and it's time to do something less intense."

Among Mehta's accomplishments with the Philharmonic was the hiring of the relatively youthful Alan Gilbert as the orchestra's music director in September 2009. Mehta has overseen an expanded touring schedule that included an historic trip to North Korea in 2008 and its first concerts in Vietnam. He also managed gains in corporate sponsorship and a series of digital-only recordings for iTunes.

His tenure has also been characterized by abortive efforts to visit Cuba and the Republic of Georgia and a failed merger with Carnegie Hall.

Asked if he had any regrets about his tenure, Mehta told Bergen: "I wished I'd raised more money and that we have a larger endowment fund and the economy had been such that we could have redone the hall. Don't forget that in the last ten years we had two major economic downturns in the New York. But we've survived."

Before joining the New York Philharmonic, Mehta was president and chief executive officer of the summertime Ravinia Festival in Chicago and worked as managing director of the Montreal Symphony from 1981 to 1990.

Mehta, who was born in Bombay, is the son of violinist and conductor Mehli Mehta.

Gary W. Parr, the chairman of the Philharmonic's board of directors, will oversee the search for Mehta's successor.