Since 2018, Lahav Shani has been the chief conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 20-21 season, he began his position as music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, taking over from Zubin Mehta, who held the position for 50 years. Shani was previously principal guest conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.
In February 2023, the Munich Philharmonic appointed Lahav Shani as its chief conductor, starting in September 2026. In June 2016, he debuted with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra as a conductor and solo pianist. No less than two months later, his appointment as chief conductor was announced, and he became the youngest conductor to hold the position in the orchestra’s history. The Rotterdam Philharmonic and Shani have an exclusive recording contract with Warner Classics.
Shani’s close relationship with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra began well over 10 years ago. He debuted with the orchestra at age 16, and in 2007, at 18, performed Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto under Zubin Mehta. He then went on to play regularly with the orchestra as a double bassist. In 2013, after he won the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition in Bamberg, the orchestra invited him to step in to conduct its season-opening concerts. Since then, he has returned to the orchestra every year as both a conductor and pianist. Recent and upcoming guest conductor highlights include engagements with the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchester, Munich Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1989, Shani began his piano studies at age 6 with Hannah Shalgi, before continuing with Arie Vardi at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music. He went on to study conducting under Christian Ehwald and piano with Fabio Bidini at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler, Berlin, and was mentored by Daniel Barenboim during his time there.
As a pianist, Shani 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, Filarmonica della Scala, Staatskapelle Berlin and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Shani also has considerable experience performing chamber music and in recital, and is 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.
Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.