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Israel Philharmonic name music director, 29

January 17, 2018 by norman lebrecht

15 comments.


The orchestra tonight announced Lahav Shani as the next music director, succeeding the veteran Zubin Mehta, who retires in 2019.

It’s a bold choice and a commendable one.

Shani, who will be 29 when he takes over in September, is also music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic.

He has grown up with members of the Israel Phil, knows and the pluses and minuses, and is gifted enough to put right the many things that have ossified during decades when – as in the peace process – no progress has been made.

The players are to be congratulated on their choice.

Slipped Disc tipped Lahav as one of two front runners for the post.

UPDATE: What next for the Israel Philharmonic?


Comments (15)

  1. beinisch says:

    Great news.
    Lahav is the right person in the right place.
    A wonderful conductor,pianist and excellent musician.
    The IPO needs a music director like him.
    No doubt that the orchestra will improve under his directorship.

  2. Rgiarola says:

    I was 100% sure Dudamel would never get this position.. That Venezuelan hype did not work for Israel, as much Goebbel did not work for Churchill lolololo

    The messiah is not returning to Jerusalem! Lololololol

    1. Edgar says:

      Written under the influence of some weird substance, no doubt…

      1. Rgiarola says:

        Perfectc Elgar! Now it’s sound like you said. 10 years ago people would threaten me, just due the fact I was not grabbing dude’s ball for all available MD big chairs.

        I’m just laughing now, and completely sober my dear. Time is the best critical ever

  3. SteelTownRunner says:

    Lahav Shani will be chief conductor of IPO in addition to Rotterdam? I believe he was just appointed music director there as well.

  4. Derek says:

    Congratulations are due to Lahav Shani and this is exciting news.

    I have seen him a couple of times in concert and in rehearsal.

    He is a dedicated, serious and sincere young talent and I believe that he has a very successful career ahead of him.
    It will be interesting to see what he does with the Israel Philharmonic.

  5. Richard Schneider says:

    I hope he expands the repertoire. The IPO has the most conservative repertoire of oft repeated hits of any major orchestra in its class. Best wishes.

  6. Richard Schneider says:

    I hope he expands their repertoire.

  7. Rob van der Hilst says:

    The forthcoming chef of the Rotterdam Philharmonic has recently given with his future Dutch orchestra incredible good performances.
    And yes indeed, congratulations Israel Philharmonic!

  8. Albert Einstein says:

    Lack of transparency on the part of the IPO. Who were the other candidates considered? Were they approached and what was their reaction? Who actually made the decision musicians or management? Are financial considerations involved (LS is likely to cost much less than non-Israeli conductors notwithstanding he is very talented)? Finally, can LS manage MDs in Rotterdam and IPO and guest conducting in VSO and an international career with other orchestras?

    1. simon says:

      I’m wondering if you have ever seen an orchestra being transparent on the questions that you raised???

    2. Richard Schneider says:

      It would be interesting to know who else was on the short list. The IPO is musician governed. Mehta, their first really successful long term MD has always said he serves at their pleasure. Dr. Einstein implies that the IPO may be saving money by hiring an Israeli. I disagree. They have discovered a gifted and charismatic protege from among their own and they’re gettin him while the gettin’s good. The time is right for an Israeli to be brought forward as the MD of the IPO. As for concerns for whether he can manage the responsibilities of multitasking, that’s been a profession-wide concern for decades. During Mehta’s years as IPO MD, de jure or de facto, he has held concurrent positions with Montreal, LA, New York, and Florence. And that’s not to mention guest conducting with other great orchestras and opera companies. Don’t worry. The kid will be fine.

  9. Bruce says:

    Have they started playing Wagner yet? I never heard.

  10. harold braun says:

    OK choice.He has great talent,but still much to learn.I agree that this is very much what you could say about Zubin when he started.Personally,i think Honeck and Noseda did the best concerts with the IPO in recent time.Well,time will tell…

    1. Eyal Braun says:

      Noseda told the orchestra he does not want to be MD.

      I would indeed choose Honeck -his concerts here were really fantastic. But his name is always top of the list in every top orchestra which seeks MD – but prefers to stay in Pittsburgh


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