Mehta, Zubin

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Mehta, Zubin Gender: M
born on 29 April 1936 at 02:50 (= 02:50 AM )
Place Bombay, India, 18n58, 72e50
Timezone IST h5e30 (is standard time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Penfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 08°23' s_mo.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 13°12 Asc.s_piscol.18.gif 04°08'

Zubin Mehta
photo: Omats + Aviad Bublil, license gfdl


Indian conductor, pianist and violinist, an international musician who was named the lifetime conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1981. A flamboyant and dynamic orchestral leader on the classical music scene, Mehta gains concert fans wherever he performs. He champions the Germanic music of the late Romantics of Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler. His love of Wagner has led to major disagreements with his Israeli audience. In 1981, while conducting the Israel Philharmonic, he announced to his audience his desire to play a piece from Wagner. With vivid memories of Wagner music playing at the WW II concentration camps, survivors could not reconcile their experience with an appreciation of the music. Fistfights broke out in the auditorium. Despite the musical differences, Israel treats Mehta as an "honorary Jew." He has tremendous loyalty to the country of Israel, kinship that ties him close to the Jewish people with a shared devotion to music as an integral part of spirit and tradition.

Mehta grew up in Bombay, India, the son of violinist and conductor Mehili Mehta. He is a Parsi, a member of the Zoroastrian sect that migrated from Persia in the 8th century and settled in Bombay. His mother, Tehmina, encouraged the oldest of her two sons to play music and started him on the piano and violin at seven. As a boy, he played cricket on the beautiful green lawns of Bombay and educated by Jesuits at Saint Mary's School. His father founded the Bombay Symphony and at 13, Mehta worked as the symphony's assistant manager. He graduated from school in 1951 with his parents urging him to give up music and study medicine. At 18, he left Bombay and moved to Vienna. He studied piano, string, bass, composition and conducting at the Music Academy in Vienna. It was in Austria that he developed his love of the German music tradition as he watched performances of Herbert von Karajan, Bruno Walter, and Fritz Reiner. In 1957, he gained his conductor's diploma.

Mehta soon won first prize in the Liverpool International Conductors Competition and gained an international distinction. In 1961, he became the conductor for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, working with it from 1961 to 1967. He was named conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the age of 26. After 16 years with the LA Philharmonic, he left for New York in 1978. He worked with the New York Philharmonic from 1978 to 1991. He first started his conducting role for the Israel Philharmonic in 1968 and continues to perform for them.

As a concerned world citizen, Mehta used his conductor's podium to express his political views. In 1973, during the Yom Kippur War, Mehta played a concert for Israeli soldiers at the front. He refused for many years to play in Johannesburg because of apartheid which ostracizes Indians as well as blacks. He stayed away from Greece while military colonels were in power. He refused to play the German national anthem at the Berlin Music Festival. In 1994, he played the Mozart Requiem concert at the Sarajevo National Library to honor the memory of the thousands killed in the Bosnian conflict. Music critics have targeted Mehta as a celebrity conductor more interested in his own charisma and theatrical techniques than interpreting musical form for an audience. Critics attacked his involvement in the Three Tenors concert with Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and Jose Carreras in Rome in 1990. The sequel concert held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in 1994 gave music reviewers plenty of ammunition against his flamboyance.

In 1991, Mehta made $1.7 million in royalties and income from concerts worldwide. In 1998, he became the general music director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. Mehta demands professionalism from his musical colleagues and will exercise his leadership in order to achieve excellent performances. In November 1998, he axed American Soprano Cheryl Stader from the Munich Bavarian Opera because the singer did not know how to sing the songs correctly.

Mehta is married to the former actress Nancy Kovak. They own five rental properties in Brentwood and Malibu that generate around $307,000 yearly. While Mehta performs on the road and in Israel, his wife lives in their Brentwood home, managing the rental business. In 1989, Nancy Mehta hired Susan McDougal to be her personal assistant. McDougal moved to Los Angeles after her bankruptcy in the Arkansas Whitewater real estate development. In 1992, McDougal became Nancy Mehta's bookkeeper. When Mehta discovered financial discrepancies, he accused McDougal of embezzling more than $150,000 from the Mehta finances. On 11/23/1998, a Santa Monica jury exonerated McDougal of all charges.

His parents live in Los Angeles. His father, Mehili Mehta, is the musical director of the American Youth Symphony in LA. A man of dominant personality and ego, Zubin Mehta formerly posed for bare-chested pictures in Paris Match and for the New York Times. Now, more portly with more gray in his wavy hair, he still enjoys the glamour and limelight of an international classical music celebrity. He freely sprinkles Yiddish into his conversations.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Social : End a program of study 1951 (Graduated from high school)
  • Social : End a program of study 1957 (Earned conductor's diploma)
  • Work : New Career 1961 at 12:00 midnight in Montreal, Canada (Began with Montreal Symphony)
  • Work : New Job 1968 (Work with Israel Philharmonic)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1973 (Played concert at warfront)
  • Family : Change residence 1978 (Moved to New York, NY)
  • Work : New Job 1978 at 12:00 midnight in New York, NY (Began with New York Philharmonic)
  • Work : Prize 1981 (Lifetime conductor of Israel Philharmonic)
  • Work : Contracts, agreements 1989 (Hired wife a personal assistant)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1990 at 12:00 midnight in Rome, Italy (Involved with three tenors concert)
  • Financial : Best Period 1991 (Made $1.7 million in royalties and income)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1994 at 12:00 midnight in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (Played Mozart Requiem at National Library)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1994 at 12:00 midnight in Los Angeles, CA (Involved with three tenors concert)
  • Work : New Job 1998 at 12:00 midnight in Munich, Germany (General music director, Bavarian State Opera)
  • Other Crime 23 November 1998 (Former accountant exonerated of embezzlement)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Marc Penfield quotes Brookspan and Yockey, "The Zubin Mehta Story." Confirmed by LMR


  • Traits : Body : Hair (Wavy)
  • Traits : Personality : Charismatic
  • Traits : Personality : Gregarious/Extrovert (Flamboyant)
  • Family : Childhood : Family supportive (Parents encouraging)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One)
  • Lifestyle : Work : Same Job more than 10 yrs (16 years/LA Phil., 13 years/NY Phil., others)
  • Lifestyle : Work : Travel for work
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Gain - Financial success in field
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Invest/ Property (Rental properties)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : Loss - Financial crisis (Bookeeper embezzled money)
  • Lifestyle : Social Life : Sports (Cricket as a boy)
  • Lifestyle : Social Life : Travel (World traveled)
  • Lifestyle : Home : Expatriate (India to U.S.)
  • Vocation : Beauty : Model (Posed for pictures in youth)
  • Vocation : Business : Middle Management (Manager/director of ensembles)
  • Vocation : Business : Top executive (Manager/Director of ensembles)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Conductor
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Instrumentalist (Piano, violin)
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ political (Uses status to promote views)
  • Notable : Awards : Vocational award (Lifetime conductor, Conductor's Competition)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
  • Notable : Book Collection : American Book