Zubin Mehta – Honorary Life Director

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Zubin Mehta was born in 1936 in Bombay and received his first musical education under his father’s Mehli Mehta’s guidance. In 1954 he left for Vienna 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 began his collaboration with Wiener and Berliner Philharmoniker and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras. Of this last ensemble, he was made Music Director in 1977 and Music Director for life in 1981. Recently, he has been also nominated Conductor Emeritus of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

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. He made his debut as an opera conductor with Tosca in Montréal 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, at the Salzburg Festival and at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with which he starts a very special relationship: infact he became in 1985 chief conductor of the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and, in 2006, Honorary Conductor for life. In 1986, he became Artistic Director of the Festival: with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, he was involved in many operas, concerts, tournées and prestigious records.

Between 1998 and 2006 he was Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich: he conducted over 400 performances and tournées in Europe and Japan. Zubin Mehta’s list of awards and honours is extensive and includes the “Nikisch-Ring”, the honorary citizen of both Florence and Tel Aviv and was made an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera in 1997. The title of “Honorary Conductor” was bestowed to him by the following orchestras: Wiener Philharmoniker (2001), Münchner Philharmoniker (2004), Los Angeles Philharmonic (2006), Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (2006), Staatskapelle Berlin (2014) and Bavarian State Orchestra (2006). In March 2011 Zubin Mehta getting a star on the Hollywood Boulevard and received the Furtwängler e Echo Klassik award. In 2012 he was honoured from Shimon Peres of the Israel Medal of Distinction.