Germany's Munich Philharmonic Announces Next Chief Conductor
Israeli conductor Lahav Shani will assume the role as of the orchestra's 2026/27 concert season
Lahav Shani, 34, will succeed Valery Gergiev in the position, after the Munich Philharmonic cut ties with Gergiev due to his failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Though Shani had performed with members of the Munich Philharmonic before in benefit concerts for Ukraine with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, he made his official debut with the orchestra in September 2022.
With his appointment decided by the Munich City Council on the recommendation of the orchestra, Shani will be one of the youngest chief conductors in the orchestra’s history when he begins his role in September 2026.
“I met the orchestra just last year for the first time, and the relationship was immediately very strong and very promising for the future, and so it’s a big promise, and I’m so much looking forward to the next years,” Shani said on social media.
“Lahav Shani is a perfect fit for the Munich Philharmonic. The city orchestra, with its tradition and renown, has been rejuvenated and is awakening a new excitement for classical music,” said Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter on DW News.
Finally we can share this wonderful news with you: Lahav Shani will be our chief conductor as of season 2026/2027 🎉 We are so happy about this - congratulations dear Lahav and we cannot wait to welcome you in Munich!
🎥 Nightfrog pic.twitter.com/u5M0dYGxYL
— Munich Philharmonic (@Munich_Phil) February 1, 2023
Born in Tel Aviv in 1989, Shani began his music studies on piano at age six with Hannah Shalgi, before continuing with Arie Vardi at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music. During his time at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler, Berlin, he studied conducting with Christian Ehwald, piano with Fabio Bidini, and was also mentored by Daniel Barenboim.
Following a conducting debut and solo piano performance with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in 2016, Shani succeeded Yannick Nézet-Séguin as its chief conductor as of the 2018/19 season.
Shani has also served as principal guest conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and in 2020, succeeded Zubin Mehta as music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he debuted on piano at age 16 and also played regularly as a double bassist.
His guest conductor highlights include the Vienna Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, Gewandhaus Orchester, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, London Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
The 2013 winner of the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition, Shani has also appeared at the Verbier Festival, the Aix-en-Provence Easter, and Jerusalem Chamber Music Festivals.
As a pianist, he has performed solo with Gergiev and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and with Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin. He has also play-directed piano concerti with many orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.