Hometown: Bombay, India
Web site: http://www.zubinmehta.net/
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Zubin Mehta was born in 1936 in Bombay and received his first musical education by his father Mehli Mehta, the founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra. After a short period of pre-medical studies in Bombay, he left for Vienna in 1954 where he eventually 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 summer academy at Tanglewood. By 1961 he had already conducted the Vienna, Berlin and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras and still retains close ties with these orchestras.
Zubin Mehta was Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1961 to 1967 becoming Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in 1962, a post he retained until 1978. In 1969 he also became Music Adviser to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and was made Music Director of that orchestra in 1977. In 1981 he was made Music Director for life. Zubin Mehta has conducted over two thousand concerts with this extraordinary ensemble including tours spanning five continents. In 1978 he became Music Director of the New York Philharmonic commencing a tenure lasting 13 years, the longest in the orchestra's history. Since 1985, he has been chief conductor of the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence.
Zubin Mehta made his debut as an opera conductor with Tosca 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 Milan, 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 where he conducted more that 400 performances. Since 2007 he is the President of the Festival del Mediterrani of the Palau de les Arts in Valencia.
Zubin Mehta's list of awards and honours is extensive and includes the "Nikisch-Ring" bequeathed to him by Karl Böhm. He is an honorary citizen of both Florence and Tel Aviv and was made an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera in 1997. In 1999 Zubin Mehta was presented the "Lifetime Achievement Peace and Tolerance Award" of the United Nations. In 2001 he was bestowed the title of “Honorary Conductor” of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and in 2004 the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra awarded him the same title, as did the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in 2006. At the end of his tenure with the Bavarian State Opera he was named Honorary Conductor of the Bavarian State Orchestra and Honorary Member of the Bavarian State Opera. In December 2006 he received the “Kennedy Center Honor”. The Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Wien appointed him in November 2007 honorary member. In October 2008 Zubin Mehta was honoured by the Japanese Imperial Family with the “Praemium Imperiale”.
In October 2006 he opened the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fidelio, followed by a three year project of Richard Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen cycle in the production of the Fura del Baus of Barcelona in Valencia and Florence.