Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times
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Widely considered to be one of the greatest conductors in the classical world, Zubin Mehta served as the artistic leader of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1962 to 1978 and of the New York Philharmonic from 1978 to 1991. His longest professional relationship has been with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, where he is music director for life. His commanding and forceful style has made him one of the premier interpreters of music by Gustav Mahler, Anton Bruckner and Richard Strauss.
Born into a musical family, he studied under his father, Mehli Mehta, a violinist who founded the Bombay Symphony, and later at Vienna’s Academy of Music. He won the Liverpool International Conducting Competition in 1958, and by his mid-20s he had conducted the Vienna, Berlin and Israel philharmonic orchestras. His first major directorship was with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, from 1961 to 1967.
During his L.A. Philharmonic tenure, Mehta presided over the orchestra’s move to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where it would remain until 2003. He served as the New York Philharmonic’s music director for 13 years, longer than any other conductor.
His most fruitful collaboration has been with the Israel Philharmonic, which named him music director for life in 1981. He has conducted more than 3,000 concerts with the orchestra, including a number of international tours. In addition, he is active in music education in Tel Aviv and his native Mumbai.
In opera, Mehta served as music director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich from 1998 to 2006. He has conducted numerous times at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, La Scala in Milan and at the Salzburg Festival.
Mehta has two children from his first marriage to Carmen Lasky. He has been married to actress Nancy Kovack since 1969.
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