Mehta’s father, Mehli Mehta, a violinist, helped found the Bombay String Quartet and the Bombay Symphony Orchestra, and Zubin was surrounded by Western music as a child. He studied at the Vienna Academy of Music. In 1958 he won first prize in the Liverpool International Conductor’s Competition and became assistant conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic for a year. His reputation grew swiftly. He made guest appearances all over the world, and he was musical director of the Montreal Symphony from 1961 to 1967. He served in the same position for the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1962, making him the first conductor to direct two major North American orchestras simultaneously. In 1965 he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City with a performance of Aida; his London opera debut occurred in 1977 (Otello). In 1968 he became chief music adviser to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 1978 Mehta replaced Pierre Boulez as musical director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. He expressed special interest in the late Romantic and early modern composers. Mehta was a flamboyant conductor whose gestures provided musical cues for the audience.
“Mehta, Zubin” Encyclopædia Britannica