Love from the very first bar
In May 2015 Lahav Shani stood in at short notice at a Wiener Symphoniker concert. Rehearsal period: one day. On the programme: Tschaikowskis 5. Symphonie and Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto with David Garrett as soloist. “It was my first ever concert in Vienna”, explains the 29-year-old Israeli conductor.
In the following season he took over a tour from Music Director Philippe Jordan, who had fallen ill. His appointment as Principal Guest Conductor followed shortly afterwards – a position that Shani officially took up last season.
He has conducted the orchestra 11 times since then. This season will again feature 11 concerts with Shani – including the great flagship “Springtime in Vienna”, the Wiener Symphoniker’s televised Easter concert.
The 2019 “Springtime in Vienna” concert offers plenty of opportunity for him to develop his repertoire, with a decidedly French flair provided by works from composers including Chausson, Massenet and Ravel. His other concerts feature also Schumann, Mozart and Beethoven – with his Fourth Piano Concerto, in which Shani will direct the orchestra from the piano. A double role considered a great challenge by audiences and musicians alike. Shani plays this down: “When you play and conduct at the same time, there are some things that are much easier than you’d think”, he said in an interview with the radio station Deutschlandfunk Kultur.
Shani plays this down: “When you play and conduct at the same time, there are some things that are much easier than you’d think”, he said in an interview with the radio station Deutschlandfunk Kultur. “Because there are things that come totally naturally to the orchestra if the musicians have precision and sensibility.”.
He sees the true task of the conductor as enabling this: “I try to create circumstances in which the orchestra doesn’t need me any longer, in which I only give suggestions and everything else happens on its own, based on the musicians’ shared feeling. My aim is always that something special happens and not just that we play as we rehearsed. That’s possible with the Symphoniker.”