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Love marriage: Lahav Shani signs contract as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic


It has been clear for weeks, and signatures confirmed it on Wednesday morning: Lahav Shani will become head of the Munich Philharmonic in 2026. When signing the contract, everyone outdoes each other in declarations of love.

It has been clear for weeks, and signatures confirmed it on Wednesday morning: Lahav Shani will become head of the Munich Philharmonic in 2026.

When signing the contract, everyone outdoes each other in declarations of love.

The life of Miri Saadon Shani is a bit complicated to imagine.

Because: Your husband is currently having an estimated 100 affairs.

This love developed “from the small flame to the steppe fire”, as the principal clarinetist Alexandra Gruber from the orchestra board of the Munich Philharmonic puts it.

The term “love marriage” is still mentioned.

And unfortunately her ensemble is sitting in the dress rehearsal in the Isarphilharmonie - "otherwise everyone would be here and would be doing a happy dance".

Lahav Shani, the future chief conductor, acknowledged this with an embarrassed smile at the lectern in the town hall gallery.

That went very quickly for him on Wednesday morning.

Shortly after the Munich City Council met, there was a unanimous vote and the contract was signed immediately.

From the 2026/2027 season he will be at the head of the Philharmoniker.

His contract is initially for five years.

This officially confirms what has been reported here for weeks.

"Now you can really look forward to it," said Shani (here is our comment that appeared on January 16th).

Unanimous decision in the Munich City Council

How fierce the sparks were between the 34-year-old and his future orchestra, including city representatives, can be felt at this press event.

You are on first-name terms – with the exception of Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD), of course.

He speaks of "milestones in Munich's cultural history" and of "sensation".

Especially with a view to the unanimity of the decision - also because Reiter knows: the appointment of Lahav Shani's predecessor Valery Gergiev and his contract extension was (not only) controversial in the city council.

From 2026 only boss, there is still a long way to go.

The audience of the Philharmonic is comforted by the fact that Shani will conduct "Classic at Odeonsplatz" in 2024.

Otherwise, it is said, additional appointments are being sought.

There is a reason for the late timing.

Shani will remain chief of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra until summer 2026.

Allen is committed to a smooth transition.

Nevertheless, the Munich Philharmonic will have to share Shani with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Born in Israel and residing in Berlin, he will keep his powerful post there.

Philharmoniker director Paul Müller has already announced a collaboration with the orchestra from Tel Aviv.

Shani about a renovated Gasteig: "We need this hall."

He is aware that Shani will have to get along with the makeshift Isarphilharmonie for the foreseeable future.

That is precisely why a renovated Gasteig is "very important" for the Philharmonic.

"We need this hall." As reported, the Gasteig renovation has come to a dangerous standstill because the city cannot find an investor.

Despite these problems, however, cultural advisor Anton Biebl believes in a reopening in 2030 or 2031, as he said at the press conference on Wednesday.

Which means: In order to conduct the Philharmonic in the renovated Gasteig, Shani would probably have to extend his contract.

There are many indications that the Munich company grabbed the conductor market in good time.

Shani, who celebrated his breakthrough in 2013 by winning the Bamberg Gustav Mahler Competition, is becoming increasingly popular.

His guest engagements with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam, the BR Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra alone bear witness to this.

Generation change of the Philharmonic gets a celebrity face

The Philharmoniker have not experienced such a drastic generational change since 1905.

At that time, the then 33-year-old Georg Schnéevoigt took over the ensemble.

With Shani's appointment, the new programmatic orientation and the restart in the interim get a face.

In addition, the new one suits the younger audience.

What is also remarkable: The Munich Philharmonic receives three artists in one person (and for the price of one).

In addition to conducting, Shani also studied double bass and piano.

If you want to get an impression of his piano skills, you should treat yourself to a YouTube recording of Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto.

Such a virtuosic performance is otherwise only experienced with the keyboard stars.

Otherwise, programmatically little filtered through.

This is also due to the fact that Shani is stylistically broad.

This makes him a typical representative of the younger generation of conductors, who are polystylistic on the move from the Baroque to Viennese Classicism and Romanticism to the modern age.

It all sounds like an ideal case.

"Somehow I had the rare feeling that we can trust each other and that we see the music similarly," said Shani, looking at his future orchestra.

And apparently he still has a lot planned, as he suggests with a smile.

After all, his predecessor Zubin Mehta at the Israel Philharmonic conducted it for 50 years.

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2023-02-01

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