Grantee in the News | Oct 2022

Israeli Philharmonic returns to Bay Area with young, energetic maestro Lahav Shani

By Dan Pine

Originally published in J. Weekly

Conductor Lahav Shani will be in the Bay Area soon with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. (Photo/Marco Borggreve-Courtesy IPO)


The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra will perform a guaranteed crowd pleaser at their upcoming Bay Area concerts: Gustav Mahler’s ever-popular, klezmer-tinged Symphony No. 1, known as the “Titan.”

They will also premiere for two Bay Area audiences a distinctly Jewish work unfamiliar to most classical music fans, though in its way no less titanic. That would be Symphony No. 1 by the late Paul Ben-Haim, a piece that holds a special place in Israeli classical music history. Completed in 1940, it’s a favorite of conductor Lahav Shani, and he is eager to introduce it to audiences during Israel orchestra’s first U.S. tour since he was named music director nearly five years ago.

“It was the first major symphonic work ever written in [British Mandatory] Palestine,” Shani said of the work by Ben-Haim, who fled his native Germany for pre-state Israel in 1933. “It was written for this orchestra.”

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) will perform on Nov. 6 at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco and again the next evening at Bing Concert Hall on the Stanford University campus, after opening the tour with four performances in Southern California starting Nov. 2.