Since 2018, Lahav Shani has been the Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. From the 20/21 season he started 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 Münchner Philharmoniker appointed Lahav Shani as their new Chief Conductor, starting from September 2026.
In June 2016 he debuted with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra as 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 with 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 aged sixteen, and in 2007 performed Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto under the baton of Zubin Mehta aged eighteen. He then went on to play regularly with the orchestra as a double bassist. 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. 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 Wiener Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, Gewandhaus Orchester, Münchner Philharmoniker, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, London Symphony Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris and Philharmonia Orchestra. In March 2022 Lahav Shani conducted Munich’s Benefit concert in aid of Ukraine at the Isarphilharmonie with Anne-Sophie Mutter and the three orchestras of the city, Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Münchner Philharmoniker. In the 2022/2023 season, he returned to the Münchner Philharmoniker 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, 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, 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, and has also appeared at the Aix-en-Provence Easter and Jerusalem Chamber Music Festivals, and in duo recitals with Martha Argerich.
As of February 2023