Lahav Shani named Israel Philharmonic music director

Martin Cullingford Fri 19th January 2018

Young conductor to combine post with chief conductor at Rotterdam Philharmonic

Lahav Shani, the new Israel Philharmonic Orchestra music director (photo: Marco Borggreve)

Lahav Shani – the young conductor taking over at the Rotterdam Philharmonic later this year – has been named as the new music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. His appointment will begin with the 2020/21 season, though from the season prior to that he will hold the title Music Director Designate.

The Tel Aviv-born 29-year-old former winner of the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition will become only the second ever person to hold the post, succeeding Zubin Mehta, who was appointed to the position in 1969. 

Shani’s first performance with the IPO was in fact as a pianist, aged 16. Then, in October 2013, shortly after winning the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition, the orchestra invited him to conduct its season-opening concerts.

Lahav Shani said in a statement: ‘It is an enormous honour for me to be appointed as Music Director following such a huge figure as Zubin Mehta. This orchestra shaped my musical development from a very early age and my close relationship with the orchestra has been a constant thread in my artistic life. I look forward immensely to the years ahead’.   

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