Zubin Mehta Honored For Lifetime Contribution

Zubin Mehta
(White House photo by Eric Draper)

Famed classical music conductor and musical prodigy Zubin Mehta was honored by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this year, along with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson and Steven Spielberg. Now a resident of Los Angeles, Mehta was born in Mumbai in 1936.

After initially intending to study medicine, Mehta became a music student in Vienna at the age of 18. He became music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and for the longest tenure (13 years) in its history—the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1981 the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra made him their musical director for life, and he later brought that orchestra to his birthplace. Mehta worked to revitalize opera and conducted the legendary Three Tenors Concerts in Rome and Los Angeles.

Mehta is also one of the six recipients of the $3 million Dan David Prize, awarded for achievements relating to the past, present and future in areas of science, technology and culture.

This New Year’s Day he will conduct the Vienna Philharmonic’s annual concert program of Strauss family favorites. Check local listings for showtimes for “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2007.”

Update: Mehta discusses the feeling of an orchestra performing at its best. (video)

December 31, 2006
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