Israel Philharmonic Orchestra appoints new music director

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) has announced the appointment of 29-year-old Lahav Shani as its music director, starting from the orchestra’s 2020-21 season. The young Israeli conductor and pianist, who first performed with IPO when he was just 16, will become only the second ever music director of the orchestra, succeeding the legendary Zubin Mehta who was appointed to the position in 1969. For the 2019-20 season he will have the title music director designate.

A conducting talent on a rapid rise to fame, Shani’s 2018 schedule will see him appear as guest conductor at Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Staatskapelle, Philhadelphia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, London Symphony Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra, amongst others.

From September 2018, the much sought-after conductor will also hold the position of chief conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in the Netherlands, taking over from Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who moves to the music director post at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 2020. Since the 2017-18 season he has served as principal guest conductor of Vienna Symphony Orchestra.

Hailing from Tel Aviv, and mentored by Daniel Barenboim as a student, Shani won first prize at the 2013 Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition in Bamberg, Germany, after which IPO invited him to conduct its season-opening concerts. Since then he has made regular appearances with IPO, both as a conductor and a pianist, leading the orchestra’s 80th anniversary concert in 2016.