Zubin Mehta In-depth Biography
Known for his flamboyant and passionate style of conducting, Zubin Mehta has performed with orchestras all over the world. At the age of 25, he became the youngest conductor to lead a United States orchestra.
Zubin Mehta was born in Bombay, India in 1936. His name is derived from an Indian expression meaning "powerful sword." His father, Mehli Mehta, is the founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra, and encouraged his son to pursue a career in conducting, for which Mehta left his medical studies behind.
Zubin Mehta won the first conductors competition sponsored by the Royal Liverpool Orchestra in 1958. For two years, he worked for a number of prominent orchestras around the world, finally landing a job as the music director for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in 1960. After performing there for two years, he also received a job as the music director for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He made history as being the first conductor to be the music director of two North American orchestras at the same time. It was also during this time that Mehta received recognition as being the youngest conductor of a United States orchestra.
He directed the Montreal Symphony Orchestra until 1967 and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra until 1978, when he became the director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1982, Mehta invited Midori, a well-known violinist, to perform in the New York Philharmonic's New Year's Eve concert. He went on to record several releases with Midori on the Sony Classical label, including Dvorak Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, two Bartok Violin Concertos with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Israeli Philharmonic. He led the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for 13 years, leaving in 1991.
At the age of 55, Zubin Mehta gave up most of his full-time positions except Musical Director for Life of the Israeli Philharmonic. In 1998, he became the music director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Germany, where he signed a five-year contract. ~ Kim Summers, Rovi