Born in Tel Aviv in 1989, Lahav Shani began taking piano lessons at the age of six. He later studied with Arie Vardi at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in his hometown and also trained as a double bassist; when he was 16, he gained his first professional experience on this instrument with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He completed his studies at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin, where he studied conducting with Christian Ehwald and piano with Fabio Bidini. Daniel Barenboim became his mentor during this time. Shani won the Mahler Competition in Bamberg in 2013, which launched his international career. Since 2018, he has been Principal Conductor with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, which he will continue to lead until 2026. He has served as Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra since 2020 and is the first native Israeli to hold this position. Starting in 2026, he will take over as Principal Conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. Shani has conducted the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras; the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; the Dresden Staatskapelle; the London, Boston, and Chicago Symphony Orchestras; the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; the Orchestre de Paris; and the Philadelphia Orchestra. He is also still active as a pianist, giving recitals and conducting such ensembles as the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Staatskapelle Berlin, and the Filarmonica della Scala from the keyboard. Shani is also a passionate chamber musician and has made guest appearances at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, in Verbier, and at the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival; he has performed as a piano duo with Martha Argerich. His recordings include an album of piano trios by Tchaikovsky and Dvořák with Renaud Capuçon and Kian Soltani. His most recent recording, which appeared in June 2023, is of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
Lucerne Festival debut on 7 September 2019, conducting the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in a program of Max Bruch and Anton Bruckner.