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Lahav Shani, the designated Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), started his conducting career when he won first prize at the 2013 Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in Bamberg, Germany. In 2018 he became Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, becoming the youngest Chief Conductor in the orchestra’s history. In the 2017-18 season, he became Principal Guest Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, following a number of appearances with the orchestra since his debut in 2015, including a major European tour in 2016. His performances as guest conductor include concerts with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, London Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He also works regularly with the Staatskapelle Berlin, both at the Berlin State Opera and also for symphonic concerts. In October 2013 Lahav was invited to open the season of the IPO. An immediate re-invitation followed for the next two seasons. His close relationship with the IPO started in 2007, when he performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto under the baton of Zubin Mehta, and continued in 2010, when Maestro Zubin Mehta invited him to join the IPO on its Far East Tour as pianist, assistant conductor, and double bass player.
Lahav was born in 1989 in Tel Aviv and started his piano studies at age six with Hannah Shalgi, continuing with Prof. Arie Vardi at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv. He then went on to complete his studies in conducting with Prof. Christian Ehwald and piano with Prof. Fabio Bidini, both at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin. As a student, Lahav was mentored by Daniel Barenboim. As a pianist Lahav made his solo recital debut at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin in July 2018. He has play-directed piano concertos with many orchestras, including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and the IPO. Lahav also has considerable experience performing chamber music, appearing recently at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, the Cologne Philharmonie, and the Verbier Festival.