Zubin Mehta

Zubin Mehta was born in 1936 in Bombay and received his first musical education under the tutelage of his father Mehli Mehta, the founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra. After a short period of pre-medical studies, he left for Vienna in 1954, where he entered the conducting programme under Hans Swarowsky at the Akademie für Musik. Zubin Mehta won the Liverpool International Conducting Competition in 1958 and was also a prize-winner of the 1961 summer academy at Tanglewood. By that time, he had already conducted the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras, with which he has maintained close cooperation ever since. Mehta was Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (1961–1967), the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (1961–1978) and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (since 1978, and was awarded the title of Music Director for life in 1981), with which he has conducted over 2000 concerts across five continents. In 1978, he took over the post as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, commencing a tenure lasting 13 years, and since 1985, he has been Chief Conductor of the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence. Zubin Mehta made his debut as an opera conductor in Montreal in 1963. Since then, he has conducted at the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, La Scala Milano and the opera houses of Chicago and Florence, as well as at the Salzburg Festival. Between 1998 and 2006, he was Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera and, in the period 2006–2014, he was the President of the annual Festival del Mediterrani in Valencia. Mehta is the recipient of the “Nikisch-Ring”, bequeathed to him by Karl Böhm, as well as an honorary citizen of both Florence and Tel Aviv. He was made an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera and the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien. The title of “Honorary Conductor” was bestowed to him by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Mehta was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honours, and was honoured by the Japanese Imperial Family with the “Praemium Imperiale”. Support to young talents is Zubin Mehta’s primary interest. He is a co-chairman of the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation in Bombay, where more than 300 children are educated in Western Classical Music. The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv develops young talent in Israel and is closely related to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, as is a new project of teaching young Arab Israelis in the cities of Shwaram and Nazareth with local teachers and members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Zubin Mehta also teaches at the Queen Sofia College of Music in Madrid.