Zubin Mehta was born in 1936 in Bombay and received his first musical education under his father’s Mehli Mehta’s guidance who was a noted concert violinist and 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. 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 has recently celebrated fifty years of musical collaboration with all three ensembles.
Mehta was Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1961-1967 and Music Directorship of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra 1962-1978. In 1969 he was appointed Music Adviser to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and was made Music Director of that orchestra in 1977. In 1981 the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra awarded him the title of Music Director for life. Mehta has conducted over 3,000 concerts with this extraordinary ensemble including tours spanning five continents. In 1978 he took over the post as 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 Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence.
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 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 in Munich. In October 2006 he opened the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia and was the President of the annual Festival del Mediterrani in Valencia until June 2014 where he conducted the celebrated Ring cycle with the Fura del Baus in coproduction with the Florence opera house. Other Ring cycles were completed at the Chicago Opera and the Bavarian State Opera.