Prodigiously talented 26 year old Israeli conductor and pianist Lahav Shani was awarded first prize at the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra's prestigious Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition in 2013, making a huge impression with his astonishing maturity and natural and instinctive musicality.
Following the competition, Shani was invited to open the 2013/14 season of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra – with seven concerts in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, in which he both conducted Mahler's Symphony No.1 and directed Bach's Concerto for keyboard in D minor from the piano. Globes, reviewing one of the performances, wrote that “this concert will be remembered as a dizzying, perhaps even historic event in the history of the Israel Philharmonic”. An immediate re-invitation followed for four weeks with the orchestra over the next two seasons.
In the 2014/15 season and beyond, Shani will conduct orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Gürzenich Orchester Köln, Bamberger Symphoniker, NDR Hannover, Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, City of Birmingham Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, Vancouver Symphony, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.
In November 2013 Shani stepped in to replace Gustavo Dudamel for three highly successful concerts with the Bamberger Symphoniker including a performance at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt. In June 2014 Shani made a sensational debut in Berlin, replacing Michael Gielen, with the Berlin Staatskapelle with concerts at the Berlin Konzerthaus and the Berlin Philharmonie.
Shani was born in 1989 in Tel Aviv. He started his piano studies at six with Hannah Shalgi, and continued with Prof. Arie Vardi at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv. Today, he is completing his studies in conducting with Prof. Christian Ehwald and piano with Prof. Fabio Bidini, both at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler Berlin. In recent years he has been mentored by Daniel Barenboim. His close relationship with the Israel Philharmonic started in 2007 when he performed Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto under the baton of Zubin Mehta, and continued in 2010 when he joined Mehta and the orchestra on tour in Asia, where he participated as solo pianist, conductor’s assistant and as double bass player.
Shani has taken part in master-classes given by pianists including András Schiff and Claude Frank.
In addition to his piano studies, he has studied double bass with Teddy Kling, a principal player in the Israel Philharmonic, and played with several orchestras under the batons of Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel and Kurt Masur. In 2012 Shani made his debut conducting the Konzerthaus Berlin and in July 2013 he visited China making his debut both as a pianist playing Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.3 and also as a conductor with the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra.
Shani is a former member of the Young Musician Educational Program of the Jerusalem Music Center. Between 2000 and 2010 he was a recipient of annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, and later the Ronen Foundation. In 2010 he received a grant from the Zfunot Tarbut Organization and in the last two years was a recipient of monthly grants from the Daniel Barenboim Foundation and the Academy of Music Berlin, provided by Unit4.