Two Israelis under scrutiny in Birmingham

Two Israelis under scrutiny in Birmingham


norman lebrecht

April 30, 2015

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has announced its post-Nelsons audition season when it will be running the eye over a gamut of possible music directors.

Two Israelis – Lahav Shani and Ilan Volkov – get repeat dates.

Shani, 26, winner of the 2013 Mahler competition, is an unknown commodity. Birmingham has a habit – Rattle, Nelsons – of going for a young unknown.

lahav shani

The only other contender with three chances to impress the orchestra is the Londoner, Nicholas Collon, a pro-Palestine sympathiser. Should be interesting.


  • Halldor says:

    Interesting perspective…

  • JJ says:

    I count four Collon concerts in there, and all with very varied repertoire.

  • V.Lind says:

    Is your comment on Collon based solely on his having taken an orchestra to perform in Ramallah and Bethlehem?

    • Wurtfangler says:

      I was wondering that as well.

      I was also wondering why such a post was felt necessary at all. Perhaps two of them also buy their trainers from Nike, or their shopping from Tescos… Can we have their respective party political affiliations as well please – Colon is bound to be a Tory/UKIP supporter I bet. What possible bearing does any of that have on their ability to conduct?

      What SHOULD be of interest is the fact that the CBSO might be thinking about appointing a British conductor – which would make it the only major English orchestra other than the Halle to do so.

      I thought this was supposed to be a blog/news source about music. However, it is becoming increasingly a blog/news source about music seen through the lens of a very particular political viewpoint.

      • Stereo says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Rattle going to the LSO? Perhaps you don’t consider the LSO a major British orchestra!

  • Tim Walton says:

    Sakari Oramo should be added to the list of Unknown conductors that were at the CBSO. His British Debut was with them as well.

  • Edgar Brenninkmeyer says:

    Daniel Barenboim is a pro-Palestinian sympathiser. He even holds a Palestinian passport, next to an Israeli one. At least as pro-Palestinian sympathiser, Collon is in very good company. Who cares about pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian sympathies: the best candidate should get the nod. It’s about music, after all! The rest is irrelevant.

    • Tim Walton says:

      I agree. There is more than enough bilge emanating from certain conductors, pianists and singers without stirring it up even more.

    • V.Lind says:

      And despite Barenboim’s stellar work with West-Eastern Divan and his efforts to help those troubled neighbours play nicely with others, it will hardly be the first line of his obituary. There is a whole person, and a whole — and very great — artist there. Possibly true also of Mr. Collon.

  • Paul Sarfaty says:

    Having attended Lahav Shani’s highly impressive debut with the orchestra in November 2014, it’s interesting to note that in addition to the 4 CBSO performances announced for 2015/16, he is also scheduled to conduct the orchestra at the Lichfield Festival in July.