13.06.2013 - Bamberg Symphony Orchestra

Lahav Shani wins International Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition

BAMBERG, 13 June 2013 – The Jury of the Bamberg Symphony Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition 2013 publicly announced the competition winners.


For the first time in the history of the competition the jury awarded one first and two second prizes:

1st Prize (€ 20,000,-) Lahav Shani, Israel (born 07 January 1989)
2nd Prize (€ 10,000,-) Tung-Chieh Chuang, Taiwan (born 16 September 1982)
2nd Prize (€ 10,000,-) David Danzmayr, Austria (born 07 January 1980)


Lahav Shani – biography
Born in 1989 in Tel Aviv, Lahav Shani took his first piano lessons aged six from Hanna Shalgi, then studied the double bass with Teddy Kling, and the piano with Arie Vardi at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv. In 2009 he began a course in orchestral conducting under Christian Ehwald at the Hanns Eisler Academy of Music in Berlin, and since 2012 he has also studied piano at the Academy with Fabio Bidini. He has attended master classes with András Schiff and Claude Frank, among others. He has been awarded various scholarships and has won prizes in several competitions. As soloist he has performed with, for example, the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta in 2007, and in 2010 he joined the Orchestra on its tour of the Far East as double bassist, piano soloist and assistant conductor. He has also played double bass in other orchestras, under Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel and Kurt Masur. In 2011 he made his own concert debut as conductor in Berlin’s Konzerthaus.


“Each and every one of us has witnessed this final round with a pounding heart”, said Wolfgang Fink, General Manager of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, “because it showed that things can shift at the last moment. It was a close race. We believe we have come to a wise decision by awarding the first prize to whom we consider the most talented young conductor of our competition and by awarding two second prizes. We would have felt it unfair to make a distinction between two radically different candidates.”


Founded by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and its Principal Conductor, Jonathan Nott, with the patronage of the composer’s grand-daughter, Marina Mahler, the Bamberg Symphony Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition takes place every three years in the orchestra’s home city of Bamberg in Southern Germany. For the 2013 competition the orchestra received 407 applications from young conductors around the world – totalling over 1200 applications from more than 60 countries since the first competition took place in 2004.


Since its conception the Bamberg Symphony Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition has been credited not only for its exceptionally high standard but also for its friendly and supportive atmosphere. No matter if a candidate makes it through to the finals or not, each participant is given additional time by the jury and orchestral members where further advise and guidance is offered.

On Friday 14 June at 19.00 Lahav Shani will conduct the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra – Bavarian State Philharmonic in a final public concert. The concert will begin with the official prize giving by the President of the Jury – Principal Conductor, Jonathan Nott.

The program will be:

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

Langsam. Schleppend. Wie ein Naturlaut
[ Symphony Nr. 1 ]

Scherzo. Wuchtig (Pesante)
[ Symphony Nr. 6 ]

Andante moderato
[ Symphony Nr. 6 ]

»Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen«
[ Songs on texts of Friedrich Rückert ]
Soloist: Andrew Schroeder, baritone)


This year’s Jury comprised Marina Mahler (Honorary Jury Member and Patronesse of the Competition), Jonathan Nott (Principal Conductor of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and President of the Jury), the conductor John Carewe, Louwrens Langevoort (Director of the Cologne Philharmonie, Head of ACHT BRÜCKEN Musik für Köln and Managing Director of KölnMusik GmbH), Jonathan Mills (Director of the Edinburgh International Festival and composer), Albert Schmitt (Managing Director of Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen), Markus Stenz (General Music Director of the City of Cologne and Gürzenich-Kapellmeister as well as Principal Guest Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra), the composer Rolf Wallin, Wolfgang Fink (Managing Director of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra – Bavarian State Philharmonic) and Christian Dibbern (member of the Orchestral Board of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra).


In the spirit of Gustav Mahler, the Competition’s set repertoire ranges across the great symphonic tradition, the classics of modern music and the contemporary avant-garde. Obligatory repertoire includes works by Gustav Mahler (Symphony No. 1 D major, 1st movement and Symphony No. 6 A minor, 2nd and 3rd movement; Song of a Wayfarer; »Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen« from the Rückert song cycle), Joseph Haydn (Symphony No. 92 G major Hob. I:92), Alban Berg (Lyrische Suite. Three Pieces for String Orchestra, 1928), György Ligeti (Melodies for Orchestra, 1971) and Rolf Wallin (Act for Orchestra, 2003).


The Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition is generously supported by the Association of Friends of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the automotive supplier Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH & Co. KG in Hallstadt, and the Foundation for Upper Franconia in Bayreuth.

Bamberger Symphoniker – Bayerische Staatsphilharmonie
Mußstrasse 1, D-96047 Bamberg 

Tel.: 0951-96 47-105, Fax: 0951-96 47 123
Matthias.Hain(at)bamberger-symphoniker.de / www.bamberger-symphoniker.de