Born in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India, Zubin Mehta grew up
in a musical environment. His father, Mehli Mehta, founded the Bombay
Symphony and is currently Music Director of the American Youth Symphony
in Los Angeles. Despite this musical influence, Zubin Mehta's initial
field of study was medicine. At the age of eighteen, Zubin abandoned
his medical studies in order to attend the Academy of Music in Vienna.
Seven years later, he conducted both the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics.
From 1961 to 1967 he served as Music Director of the Montreal Symphony.
He was appointed Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1962,
a post he retained until 1978.
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra appointed Mo. Mehta Music Advisor in 1969;
Music Director in 1977, and Music Director for Life in 1981. Combining
concerts, recordings and tours, Zubin Mehta has conducted over 1,600
performances on five continents with this extraordinary orchestra. Since
1985, he has also acted as Chief Conductor of the Florence Opera House/Maggio
marked the year Mo. Mehta was named Music Director of the New York Philharmonic
Orchestra. During his thirteen years in New York, Zubin Mehta conducted
over 1,000 concerts, thus holding the position longer than any Music
Director in the Orchestra's modern history. One of the many highlights
for the Maestro took place in 1988, when the orchestra embarked on a
ten-day tour of the Soviet Union culminating in a historic joint-concert,
with the State Symphony Orchestra of the Soviet Ministry of Culture,
in Moscow's Gorky Park. In May of 1991, Mo. Mehta concluded his tenure
in New York with three performances celebrating the 100th anniversary
of Carnegie Hall, followed by a series of performances of Schoenberg's
"Gurrelieder". Twice in 1992 Zubin Mehta returned to guest conduct the
New York Philharmonic: First for the world premiere of Olivier Messiaen's
last orchestral work "Eclairs sur l'Eau Dela", and later "A Philharmonic
Celebration: 150th Anniversary Concert".
June of 1994 Mo. Mehta and members of the Sarajevo Symphony Orchestra
and Chorus performed Mozart's Requiem amid the ruins of Sarajevo's National
Library. It was broadcast to twenty-six countries worldwide with the
aim of raising money for the UN Refugee Fund. Mo. Mehta also conducted
the now legendary "Three Tenors Concerts" in Rome and Los Angeles.
Mehta realized a long-held ambition in November of 1994, when he brought
the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra to his birthplace, India. By conducting
in Bombay and New Delhi, he helped bridge a political gap that had prevented
them from performing there for three decades. His affection for an orchestra
so close to his heart, combined with love of his native country, made
this tour one of the most memorable events of his life.
March 1996 he completed a four-year commitment to conduct Wagner's Ring
Cycle with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. April 29th of that year marked
Zubin Mehta's 60th birthday. Celebrations included a coast-to-coast
United States tour with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. The grand
finale concert took place in Los Angeles on his birthday. Both the Los
Angeles and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestras performed together. Special
guests were Pinchas Zuckerman, Itzhak Perlman and Daniel Barenboim.
Mehta continues to tour extensively with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,
the Florence Opera, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. He has often
collaborated with the latter on January 1 for the annual Strauss Family
New Year's Concert - as he did again on January 1, 1998.
the years, Maestro Mehta has been awarded numerous honors. Among them
are the Nikisch Ring-the Vienna Philharmonic Ring of Honor-and Padma
Bhushan (Order of the Lotus) - India's highest cultural award; with
the Orchestra and Chorus of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino he won the
Abbiati Award - the Italian Critics' Prize - for his interpretation
of Moses und Aaron by Schoenberg. He is Honorary Citizen of Tel Aviv
and the only non-Israeli ever to receive the Israel Prize, and Honorary
Citizen of Florence, too. In 1996 he was awarded the Wolf Foundation
Prize; 1997 Mr. Mehta was made honorary member of the Vienna State Opera.
In 1998 the Maestro began a five-year appointment as Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.