Laureates 2007

2007 Present - Contemporary Music

Zubin Mehta

mehtaZubin Mehta, who has just celebrated his 70th birthday, is one of the world`s leading conductors. He is a vivid symbol of today`s cross-cultural world and a living proof of the power of music to bridge different cultures and to break social and political barriers.

His tremendous sense of social responsibility has taken his music from India to Buchenwald - from Sarajevo to the Palestinian territories. He has sought to develop the universal appeal of music and through it to bring peace and comfort to all areas of the world.
His contribution to today`s music world is so valuable, that it can be said that he is one of its main "designers". Not only was he music director of some of the world`s leading orchestras/opera houses, encompassing three continents (New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, Munich, Florence, Israel) and 50 years of constant, highly intensive activity; but most probably he is the music director, who has given more opportunities for young artists (soloists, conductors, composers) in debut performances, than any other figure of his stature.

Mehta was born in Bombay, India, into a Parsee family in April 1936, the son of Mehli Mehta who founded the Bombay Symphony Orchestra and who was a violinist and his wife Tehmina Mehta.

At the age of 18 Zubin Mehta moved to Vienna to study conducting with the eminent teacher Hans Swarovsky. At the age of 22, four years after his arrival in Vienna he made his conducting debut and the same year he won the International Conducting Competition in Liverpool and shortly thereafter the Koussevitsky competition in Tanglewood. Zubin's early success led him to be appointed assistant conductor and then Music Director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Still only in his twenties, he had already conducted the Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic - two of the greatest orchestras in the world.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra appointed Mr. Mehta Music Advisor in 1969, Music Director in 1977, and Music Director for Life in 1981. Since 1986, he has also acted as Music Advisor and Chief Conductor of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the summer festival in Florence, Italy

The 2007 Dan David Prize honors Zubin Mehta in the field of Contemporary Music, for his significant contributions in this field.