Mehta, aged 87, is one of the most distinguished conductors of our time
Conductor Zubin Mehta will be honored for a lifetime’s work on January 26, 2024, when he will receive the Golden Medal of Honor of the City of Munich. The ceremony will be accompanied by a concert from the Munich Philharmonic, who will play works by Weber, Ravel, and Johann Strauss II under the baton of Lahav Shani.
Born into a musical family in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, Mehta spent two semesters studying medicine before deciding to pursue conducting instead. He studied with Hans Swarowsky at the Vienna State Music Academy and then won the Liverpool Conducting Competition — as well as the Sergei Koussevitzky Competition in Tanglewood.
By the age of 25, Mehta had conducted the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He held music directorships at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (1961-1967) and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (1962-1978). In 1977, he was named chief conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and was appointed music director for life in 1981.
In 1978, Mehta bagged the top job at the New York Philharmonic and still holds the distinction of being its longest-serving conductor, with a tenure of thirteen years.
“On January 26, he will be awarded with the Golden Medal of Honor of the City of Munich: Zubin Mehta!” wrote the Munich Philharmonic on social media. “We couldn’t be happier about this and are so deeply fulfilled after our first week with four concerts together. What a great musician and person you are, dear Maestro!”