The Chicago Times
“Thanks to its committed strings and alert woodwinds, the Israel Phil has managed to retain quite a bit of its old distinctive character, unlike so many of today’s globalized orchestras. Mozart and Schubert were recognizable, of course, but just different enough from the American variety to fall freshly on the ear.”
Chicago Classical Review
“Mehta conducted without a score, leading a powerful, often outstanding performance of Bruckner’s vast work. The opening movement had tremendous drive with climaxes pointed with implacable force, Mehta relaxing into the lyrical second subject with notably rich and expansive string playing. The pile-driving Scherzo went with strong impact, the rustic charm of the lightly scored trio neatly contrasted…Despite the extended cheers and ovations, Mehta offered no encore, wisely letting Bruckner’s music and the Israel Philharmonic’s powerful and eloquent performance speak for itself.”
South Florida Classical Review
“While most visiting orchestras consistently program symphonic warhorses for their South Florida appearances, the Israel Philharmonic opted for less frequently performed symphonies by Schubert and Bruckner at its performance Wednesday night at the Arsht Center… The Symphony No. 7 in E minor may be Anton Bruckner’s most popular work, but any Bruckner performance in Miami is an event. After decades of playing Bruckner symphonies under Mehta, the Israel Philharmonic is a true Bruckner orchestra with the corporate weight and sonorous luster to alight these large scale symphonic cathedrals.”
Los Angeles Times
“On Monday the conductor and the orchestra were on their game. Mehta…is more economical with his gestures, but his beat remains as crisp as ever and his left-hand cues graceful and welcoming…The result was a superb, at times mighty Schubert Ninth, the power of a big orchestra juxtaposed with the intimacy of communing winds.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“And the Israelis, led by lifetime Music Director Zubin Mehta, played with enormous subtlety and tact, giving the most nuanced and elegant performance I can remember hearing from this orchestra in many years…The Israelis…treated Mahler’s music with a wide swath of knowing irony – even in the first movement, a funeral march that would seem ill-suited to such an approach. The opening trumpet call, so often delivered as a peremptory call to attention, emerged here with a sardonic casualness – as if to say, ‘This is serious stuff, but perhaps not as serious as some might have you believe.’ That attitude ran through the rest of the performance, with a wit that never undercut the music’s genuine eloquence. In the Scherzo, the orchestra caught both the lilting beauty of Mahler’s writing and the faint air of parody that suffuses the movement.”
The Seattle Times
“Zubin Mehta, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his association with the 75-year old orchestra, led a performance of high drama, propelled by lithe rhythms, wide dynamic extremes, lustrously sumptuous tone (especially from the strings), and some fine flute solos.”
The Israel Philharmonic was founded in 1936 by Bronislaw Huberman and its inaugural concert, on 26 December 1936, was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. The IPO plays in subscription series in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, in special concerts and in various concert series throughout Israel. The IPO regularly tours the world’s cultural centers and prestigious festivals. Israel’s creative artists are promoted by many IPO premieres of works by Israeli composers. The IPO has contributed to the absorption of new immigrants and includes in its ranks new immigrant musicians. The orchestra has hosted the world’s greatest conductors and soloists, as well as young talents from Israel and abroad. As part of KeyNote, the IPO’s music education and outreach program, IPO musicians perform in numerous schools and concerts for school pupils at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv. In 1969 Maestro Zubin Mehta was appointed Music Advisor to the IPO and in 1977 he became its Music Director. Maestro Mehta retired in October 2019 and following his retirement, the IPO has named him Music Director Emeritus. Lahav Shani became Music Director in the 2020-21 season.
Lahav Shani, Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic, started his conducting career when he won first prize at the 2013 Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition in Bamberg. In 2018 he became Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, being the youngest Chief Conductor in the orchestra’s history. From the 2017-18 season until 2020, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. His performances as guest conductor include concerts with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, London Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Berlin Radio Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Bamberg Symphony and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He also works regularly with the Berlin Staatskapelle, both at the Berlin Staatsoper and also for symphonic concerts. In October 2013 he was invited to open the season of the Israel Philharmonic. An immediate re-invitation followed for the next two seasons. 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 Maestro Mehta invited him to join the Israel Philharmonic on its Far East tour as pianist, assistant conductor and double bass player. Lahav Shani was born in 1989 in Tel Aviv and started his piano studies aged six with Hannah Shalgi, continuing with Prof. Arie Vardi at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv. He then went on to complete his studies in conducting with Prof. Christian Ehwald and piano with Prof. Fabio Bidini, both at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler Berlin. Whilst a student he was mentored by Daniel Barenboim. As a pianist, Lahav Shani made his solo recital debut at the Boulez Saal in Berlin in July 2018. He has play-directed piano concerti with many orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Israel Philharmonic. Lahav Shani also has considerable experience performing chamber music and recitals. He is a regular performer at the Verbier Festival, and has also appeared at the Aix-en-Provence Easter and Jerusalem Chamber Music Festivals.