54 Facts About Zubin Mehta


Zubin Mehta was born on 29 April 1936 and is an Indian conductor of Western classical music.


Zubin Mehta is music director emeritus of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor emeritus of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.


Mehta's father was the founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra, and Mehta received his early musical education from him.


Zubin Mehta began winning international competitions and conducted the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic at age 21.


Zubin Mehta was music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1961 to 1967 and of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1962 to 1978, the youngest music director ever for any major North American orchestra.


From 1978 to 1991, Zubin Mehta was music director of the New York Philharmonic.


Zubin Mehta was chief conductor of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence from 1985 to 2017.

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Zubin Mehta is an honorary citizen of both Florence and Tel Aviv and was made an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera in 1997 and of the Bavarian State Opera in 2006.


In 2016, Zubin Mehta was appointed Honorary Conductor of the Teatro San Carlo, Naples.


Zubin Mehta was born into a Parsi family in Bombay, India, during the British Raj, the older son of Mehli and Tehmina Zubin Mehta.


Zubin Mehta's father was a self-taught violinist who founded and conducted the Bombay Symphony Orchestra and later the American Youth Symphony, which he conducted for 33 years after moving to Los Angeles.


Zubin Mehta's father had previously lived in New York to study with violinist Ivan Galamian, a noted teacher who taught Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman.


Zubin Mehta's father returned to Bombay as an accomplished violinist of the Russian school.


Zubin Mehta has described his childhood as surrounded by music at home all the time, and has said he probably learned to speak Gujarati and sing around the same time.


Zubin Mehta says his father had a strong influence on him, and he listened to his quartet daily after his father returned from the USA after the Second World War.


Zubin Mehta was first taught to play violin and piano by his father.


Zubin Mehta graduated from St Mary's School, Mumbai and went on to study medicine at St Xavier's College, Mumbai, at the urging of his mother, who wanted him to take up a more "respectable" profession than music.


Zubin Mehta lived on $75 per month, and was a contemporary of conductor Claudio Abbado and conductor-pianist Daniel Barenboim.


Zubin Mehta remained at the academy for three years, during which time he studied the double bass, which he played in the Vienna Chamber Orchestra.


Zubin Mehta graduated in 1957 when he was 21 with a diploma in conducting.


Zubin Mehta then was a 2nd-place prizewinner at the summer academy at the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts.


Zubin Mehta has a talent for conveying a mood of serenity, or of serene grandeur, to both orchestra and audiences that is rare indeed among the younger generation of conductors.


In 1960, with the help of Charles Munch, Zubin Mehta became the chief conductor and Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, a post he held until 1967.


Zubin Mehta was most apprehensive about his concert in Vienna, which he said was considered the "capital of Western music".


The orchestra had been without a permanent conductor for four years when Zubin Mehta started directing it.

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Zubin Mehta was named Music Director of the orchestra and held the post from 1962 to 1978.


Zubin Mehta succeeded in making its sound warmer and richer by fostering competition among the musicians, shifting assignments, giving promotions and changing seating arrangements.


In 1970 Zubin Mehta performed with Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention on Zappa's "200 Motels" and Edgar Varese's Intergrales, at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion basketball stadium with an audience of 12,000.


In 1978, Zubin Mehta became the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the New York Philharmonic and remained there until his resignation in 1991.


Zubin Mehta became music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1977.


Zubin Mehta began the first of many guest appearances with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1961.


Zubin Mehta was appointed IPO's Music Advisor in 1969, Music Director in 1977, and was made its Music Director for Life in 1981.


Zubin Mehta conducted concerts with the IPO in South Lebanon in 1982, after which Arabs rushed onstage to hug the musicians.


Zubin Mehta conducted it during the Gulf War in 1991, when the audience brought gas masks; in 2007, it played for an entirely Arab audience in Nazareth.


Zubin Mehta adds that conducting the IPO is "something I do for my heart".


In 1978, Zubin Mehta left the Los Angeles Philharmonic to become music director for the New York Philharmonic.


From 1985 to 2017, Zubin Mehta was chief conductor of the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence.


Since 2005, Zubin Mehta has been the main conductor of the Palau de les Arts, the new opera house of the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciencies in Valencia, Spain.


In June 1994, Zubin Mehta performed the Mozart Requiem with the members of the Sarajevo Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at the ruins of Sarajevo's National Library, in a fundraising concert for the victims of armed conflict and remembrance of the thousands of people killed in the Yugoslav Wars.


In 1997 and 1998, Zubin Mehta worked in collaboration with Chinese film director Zhang Yimou on a production of Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot, which they took to Florence and to Beijing, where it was staged in its actual surroundings in the Forbidden City, with over 300 extras and 300 soldiers, for nine historic performances.


Zubin Mehta was a guest conductor for the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra.


In September 2013, Zubin Mehta appeared with the Bavarian State Orchestra at a special concert, Ehsaas e Kashmir, organized by the German Embassy in India, at Mughal Gardens, Srinagar.


In December 2016, the Israel Philharmonic announced that Zubin Mehta would conclude his tenure as music director in October 2019.


Zubin Mehta now has the title of music director emeritus of the Israel Philharmonic.


Zubin Mehta conducted the AWO at the Edinburgh International Festival and the BBC Proms 2022.

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In July 1969, Zubin Mehta married Nancy Kovack, an American former film and television actress.


One of his close friends was Ravi Shankar, whom he first met in the 1960s when Zubin Mehta directed him with the Montreal Symphony.


Zubin Mehta's second daughter Alexandra was born in Los Angeles in 1967, the result of an affair Mehta had between his two marriages.


Zubin Mehta's son Ori was born in the 1990s as the result of an extra-marital affair in Israel during Mehta's second marriage.


In Christopher Nupen's 1969 documentary The Trout about a performance of Schubert's Trout Quintet in London by Jacqueline du Pre, Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman, Itzhak Perlman and Zubin Mehta, he plays the double bass.


Zubin Mehta was mentioned in the novel Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon.


Zubin Mehta has played himself as the pivotal figure in On Wings of Fire, a 1986 film about the history of Zoroastrianism and prophet Zarathushtra.


In 2009, Zubin Mehta established Mifneh, a music education program for Israeli Arabs, in cooperation with Bank Leumi and the Arab-Israel Bank.


Zubin Mehta is the school's honorary president and has remained actively involved since its inception.