Lahav Shani, Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic, has been Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra since 2018, the youngest Chief Conductor in the orchestra’s history. He was previously Principal Guest Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. In February 2023 the Munich Philharmonic appointed him as their new Chief Conductor, starting from September 2026. His close relationship with the Israel Philharmonic started in 2007, when he performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto under the baton of Zubin Mehta, and continued in 2010, when Maestro Mehta invited him to join the Israel Philharmonic on its Far East tour as pianist, assistant conductor and double bass player. In 2013, after winning the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition in Bamberg, the orchestra invited him to step in to conduct their season-opening concerts. His performances as guest conductor include concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, London Symphony, La Scala Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and Philharmonia Orchestra. In March 2022 he conducted Munich’s Benefit concert in aid of Ukraine with Anne-Sophie Mutter and the three orchestras of the city, Bavarian State Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony, and Munich Philharmonic. In the 2022-23 season, he returned to the Munich Philharmonic for a concert series in Munich and Switzerland and also began his 3-year residency at the Konzerthaus Dortmund. Born in Tel Aviv in 1989, Lahav Shani began his piano studies aged six with Hannah Shalgi, before continuing with Prof. Arie Vardi at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music. He went on to study conducting under Prof. Christian Ehwald and piano with Prof. Fabio Bidini at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler, Berlin, and was mentored by Daniel Barenboim during his time there. As a pianist, he has performed as a soloist with Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta and Gianandrea Noseda. He has play-directed piano concerti with many orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, La Scala Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He also has considerable experience performing chamber music and in recital. A regular performer at the Verbier Festival, he has also appeared at the Aix-en-Provence Easter and Jerusalem Chamber Music Festivals, and in duo recitals with Martha Argerich.
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