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ZUBIN MEHTA

Zubin Mehta’s father, Mehli Mehta, was a violinist who at one time played in the Hallé Orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli, founded the Bombay Symphony Orchestra, and conducted the American Youth Orchestra. Zubin Mehta has recalled that he was ‘…brainwashed with classical music from the cradle’, and initially learnt to play the piano and violin, as well as to conduct; by the time he was sixteen he was conducting rehearsals of his father’s orchestra. He studied medicine for two years but then abandoned this path when he was eighteen in order to study conducting at the Vienna Academy of Music with Hans Swarowsky, who accurately predicted that he would become ‘a great figure in the history of music’. While in Vienna he also played the double-bass professionally, and was able to attend the final performances given by Furtwängler and to observe Karajan at first hand. Subsequently Mehta received guidance from Alceo Galliera and Carlo Zecchi at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, and at Tanglewood from Eleazar de Carvalho. He took the first prize in the 1958 International Conductors’ Competition organised by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, as a result of which he worked as an assistant conductor with the orchestra for a year, and was also a prizewinner in the Koussevitzky Competition at Tanglewood.

Quickly developing an international reputation, Mehta conducted many different orchestras throughout Europe, including a guest appearance in 1961 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the night of the death of its founder, Sir Thomas Beecham, whose birthday Mehta shares. In the same year he also made his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; and substituted for Ormandy with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and for Reiner with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. His success in Montreal led to him serving as the orchestra’s chief conductor from 1961 to 1967. In Los Angeles however he was offered the post of associate conductor with the Philharmonic Orchestra without the knowledge of the recently-appointed chief conductor, Georg Solti, who immediately resigned; as a result Mehta himself was offered the position of chief conductor, which he held from 1962 to 1978. He was thus the first musician in North America to hold two major orchestral appointments concurrently. He made his operatic debut in 1964 conducting Puccini’s Tosca in Montreal, appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York for the first time in 1965 conducting Verdi’s Aida, and made a memorable debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden conducting Puccini’s La fanciulla del West.

Mehta first conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1962, and in 1967 at the outbreak of the Israeli-Arab war cancelled all his engagements to work with this ensemble. The following year he led it on a successful European tour; in 1969 he was appointed its chief musical adviser, and in 1977 he became its chief conductor. His relationship with the orchestra is extremely strong: in 1981 he was made its conductor for life, an appointment with very few parallels elsewhere. He has conducted the Israel Philharmonic in over two thousand concert performances in Israel and on tours covering five continents. In 1978 Mehta succeeded Pierre Boulez as the chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, once again maintaining a long relationship, which lasted until 1991, and recording a considerable amount of contemporary American music with the orchestra. Subsequently Mehta’s career moved towards Europe and to the opera house: in 1985 he became chief conductor of the Maggio Musicale in Florence and in 1998 was appointed chief conductor of the Bavarian State Opera, a position which he retained until 2006. In March 1996 he completed a four-year commitment to perform Wagner’s Ring cycle with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and he was named as honorary conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in 2004. Mehta has received many awards and honours, including the Nikisch-Ring of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as honorary membership of this orchestra in 2001.

Possessed of great personal charm, Mehta is a highly competent conductor at a technical level, with a preference for rich orchestral sonorities. Interpretatively his performances are completely reliable, if occasionally without the final stamp of personal conviction. His discography is immense. Initially he recorded for Vox and RCA, before embarking upon an extensive relationship with the Decca record company, for whom he recorded a wide repertoire with the Los Angeles and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras; Decca’s fine engineering showed to great effect Mehta’s mastery of rich orchestral textures. Later he moved to other labels, including Sony/CBS. Mehta achieved popular world-wide recognition as the conductor of the first ‘Three Tenors’ concert given in Rome in 1990, which was televised internationally.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Patmore (A–Z of Conductors, Naxos 8.558087–90).

View by Role: Classical Artist | Conductor
Role: Classical Artist 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 
SCHUBERT, F.: Trout (The) / The Greatest Love and the Greatest Sorrow (NTSC) Christopher Nupen Film
A13CND
Classical Documentary

Role: Conductor 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
BEETHOVEN, L.: Fidelio (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2006) (NTSC) EuroArts
2072498
Opera DVD
BERLIN PHILHARMONIC / ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC: Joint Concert at Tel Aviv (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
100069
Classical Documentary
BERLIN PHILHARMONIC / ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC: Joint Concert at Tel Aviv (PAL) Arthaus Musik
100068
Classical Documentary
BIZET,G.: Carmen (Royal Opera House, 1991) (PAL) Arthaus Musik
100096
Opera DVD
BRUCKNER, A.: Symphonies Nos. 8 (1890 edition, ed. L. Nowak) and 0, "Nullte" (ed. L. Nowak) (Israel Philharmonic, Mehta) Newton Classics
NC8802143
Orchestral
BRUCKNER, A.: Symphony No. 8 (Mehta) (PAL) Arthaus Musik
100298
Classical Concert
CABALLE, Montserrat: Beyond Music (NTSC) EuroArts
2053198
Classical Documentary
CLASSIC ARCHIVE: Arthur Rubinstein Plays Chopin (NTSC) Ideale Audience
3079638
Classical Concert
DVORAK, A.: Symphony No. 8 / MOZART, W.A.: Bassoon Concerto, K. 191 / BARTOK, B.: Concerto for Orchestra (Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mehta) (NTSC) EuroArts
2072248
Classical Concert
DVORAK, A.: Symphony No. 8 / MOZART, W.A.: Bassoon Concerto, K. 191 / BARTOK, B.: Concerto for Orchestra (Mehta) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) EuroArts
2072244
Classical Concert
ESSENTIAL BEETHOVEN (THE) (NTSC) EuroArts
2057958
Opera DVD
EUROPA-KONZERT 1995 - BEETHOVEN, L. van / BLACHER, B. / PAGANINI, N. / STRAVINSKY, I. / DVOŘÁK, A. (Sarah Chang, Mehta) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) EuroArts
2012024
Classical Concert
EUROPA-KONZERT 1995 - BEETHOVEN, L. van / BLACHER, B. / PAGANINI, N. / STRAVINSKY, I. / DVORAK, A. (Sarah Chang, Mehta) (PAL) Arthaus Musik
107164
Classical Concert
GALA CONCERTS FROM VIENNA, BERLIN AND DRESDEN (NTSC / PAL) EuroArts
2058219
Classical Concert
GALA CONCERTS FROM VIENNA, BERLIN AND DRESDEN (NTSC) EuroArts
2058218
Classical Concert
GRAN GALA DI VERDI (Mehta) (NTSC) EuroArts
2051058
Opera DVD, Classical Concert
HAYDN, J.: Symphonies Nos. 12, 22, 26, 93, 98, 103, 104 (Vienna Philharmonic, Dohnanyi, Mehta, Welser-Most, Harnoncourt, Boulez) Vienna Philharmonic
WPH-L-H-2009
Orchestral
ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC 70TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT (NTSC) EuroArts
2055878
Classical Concert
ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA 60TH ANNIVERSARY GALA CONCERT (Blu-ray, Full-HD) EuroArts
2012744
Classical Concert
ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA 75TH ANNIVERSARY GALA CONCERT (Blu-ray, Full-HD) EuroArts
2059094
Classical Concert
ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA 75TH ANNIVERSARY GALA CONCERT (NTSC) EuroArts
2059098
Classical Concert
ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA ANNIVERSARY BOX (7-DVD Box Set) (NTSC) EuroArts
2059458
Classical Concert
MEHTA, Zubin: In Munich (PAL) Arthaus Musik
100428
Classical Concert
MEHTA, Zubin: In Rehearsal (PAL) Arthaus Musik
100286
Classical Documentary
MOZART, W.A.: Entfuhrung aus dem Serail (Die) (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 2002) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
107109
Opera DVD
MOZART, W.A.: Nozze di Figaro (Le) (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 2003) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
107277
Opera DVD
MOZART: Entfuhrung aus dem Serail (Die) (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 2002) (PAL) TDKDVD
DV-OPEADS
Opera DVD
MOZART: Le nozze di Figaro (NTSC) TDKDVD
DVWW-OPNDFF
Opera DVD
OPERA EXCLUSIVE - Giuseppe Verdi (NTSC) TDKDVD
DVWW-GOLDBOX9
Opera DVD
OPERA HIGHLIGHTS, Vol. 3 (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
102051
Opera DVD
PUCCINI, G.: Turandot (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2008) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) C Major
700404
Opera DVD
PUCCINI, G.: Turandot (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2008) (NTSC) C Major
700308
Opera DVD
SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Violin Concerto No. 3 / WIENIAWSKI, H.: Violin Concerto No. 2 (Rachlin, Israel Philharmonic, Mehta) Newton Classics
NC8802130
Concertos
STRAUSS I and II: Johann Strauss Gala (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
100025
Classical Concert
STRAUSS I and II: Johann Strauss Gala (PAL) Arthaus Musik
100024
Classical Concert
TDK SAMPLER 2008 - The Best of Classical Music on TDK - Opera, Concert, Ballet (NTSC) TDKDVD
DVWW-OPBEST5
Classical Concert
VERDI, G.: Aida (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 2011) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) Arthaus Musik
108040
Opera DVD
VERDI, G.: Aida (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 2011) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
101598
Opera DVD
VERDI, G.: Falstaff (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 2006) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
107309
Opera DVD
VERDI, G.: Falstaff (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 2006) (NTSC) TDKDVD
DVWW-OPFALF
Opera DVD
VERDI, G.: Forza del Destino (La) (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 2007) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) TDKDVD
DVBD-OPFORZA
Opera DVD
VERDI, G.: Forza del Destino (La) (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 2007) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) Arthaus Musik
108046
Opera DVD
VERDI, G.: Forza del Destino (La) (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 2007) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
107325
Opera DVD
VERDI, G.: Forza del Destino (La) (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 2007) (NTSC) TDKDVD
DVWW-OPFORZA
Opera DVD
VERDI, G.: Opera Selection - La traviata / Simon Boccanegra / Aida (3 Blu-ray Disc Box Set) Arthaus Musik
108074
Opera DVD
VERDI, G.: Opera Selection, "Shakespeare" - Otello / Macbeth / Falstaff (3 DVD Box Set) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
107534
Opera DVD
VERDI, G.: Opera Selection, Vol. 3 - Ballo in Maschera (Un) / La Forza del Destino / La Traviata (4 DVD Box Set) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
107533
Opera DVD
VERDI: Requiem (NTSC) TDKDVD
DVWW-COVREQ
Classical Concert
VIENNA STATE OPERA GALA (NTSC) EuroArts
2054928
Classical Concert
VIENNA STATE OPERA GALA (PAL) EuroArts
2054929
Classical Concert
WAGNER, R.: Gotterdammerung (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2009) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) C Major
701204
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Gotterdammerung (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2009) (NTSC) C Major
701108
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Rheingold (Das) (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2007) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) C Major
700604
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Rheingold (Das) (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2007) (NTSC) C Major
700508
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Ring des Nibelungen (Der) (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2007-2009) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) C Major
703904
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Ring des Nibelungen (Der) (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2007-2009) (Highlights) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) C Major
704504
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Ring des Nibelungen (Der) (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2007-2009) (Highlights) (NTSC) C Major
704608
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Ring des Nibelungen (Der) (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2007-2009) (NTSC) C Major
703808
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Siegfried (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2008) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) C Major
701004
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Siegfried (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2008) (NTSC) C Major
700908
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Tannhauser (Bayerische Staatsoper, 1994) (PAL) Arthaus Musik
100014
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Tristan und Isolde (Bavarian State Opera, 1998) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
100057
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Walkure (Die) (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2008) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) C Major
700804
Opera DVD
WAGNER, R.: Walkure (Die) (Palau de les Arts "Reina Sofia", 2008) (NTSC) C Major
700708
Opera DVD
WAGNER: Tristan und Isolde (PAL) Arthaus Musik
100056
Opera DVD
WALDBUHNE IN BERLIN 1997 - St. Petersburg Night (Barenboim, Mehta) (PAL) Arthaus Musik
107172
Ballet DVD, Classical Concert, Ballet DVD
WALDBUHNE IN BERLIN 1997 - St. Petersburg Night (Barenboim, Mehta) (PAL) TDKDVD
DV-WBSPE
Ballet DVD, Classical Concert, Ballet DVD





 
 
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