Zubin Mehta was born on 29th April, 1936 in Bombay. His father, Mehli Mehta, has been a distinguished violinist himself who founded the Bombay Symphony Orchestra. Though Zubin took up medicine for his career, he gave it up later when he found that physiology was not his cup of tea. Zubin conducted the Bombay Symphony for a charity concert when he was just sixteen.
Zubin Mehta was sent to Vienna where he studied conducting under an able conductor Hans Swarowsky. Claudio Abbado and Daniel Barenboim were his classmates. Zubin Mehta went on to do well and won the International Conducting Competition in Liverpool, bagging the assistant conductor post at the Royal Philharmonic in 1958. He was awarded the highest prize in the esteemed Koussevitzky Competition at Tanglewood in 1960. Charles Munch was impressed and recommended him to the Musical Directorship for Montreal in 1961. He held that tenure for a year before moving on to Los Angeles in 1962. Georg Solti decided to move on to London. Mehta was with Los Angeles till 1978 and had successful guest stints with Vienna and Israel. He was made Director for Life with Israel. Zubin was heading New York from 1978 to 1991.This was the longest tenure for any conductor with this orchestra. He took up the conducting post at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino from then on to 1998. The next eight years, he spent with the Bavarian State Opera and the Munich Philharmonic. Since 2006, he conducts regularly with Palau de les Arts at Valencia along with Lorin Maazel.
The Government of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan in 1966 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001. Karl Bohm also awarded him with the Artur Nikisch's prestigious Vienna Philharmonic Ring of Honour.