David Shallon Sign

Milestones in the life of David Shallon


Born in Tel Aviv as Dan David Shenkel, son of Efraim Shenkel and Pnina Zaitman. His parents changed the family name to Shallon around 1952.


Started learning the violin with Alice Fenyves.


Took first conducting lessons with Noam Sheriff, who was like a father figure for him for many years. Sheriff also taught him a lot about orchestration, composition and let him jump in to conduct a semi-professional orchestra in a performance at age 16.


David played the violin in the National Gadna-Youth Orchestra under Rony-Riklis in Israel. Extensive world tour with actor-comedian Danny Kaye as conductor. Concerts in Rome, Milan, Geneva, Zurich, Kerkrade, Rotterdam, Brussels, Antwerp, Paris, London, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, São Paolo, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Caracas, Winnipeg.

Many lifelong friendships started then, and the enthusiasm of the Youth Orchestra marked David for the whole life.

1967, Gadna Youth Orch. on Tour with actor-conductor Danny Kaye


Studied violin and music theory at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv while still going to High School.


Graduated from Music High School ‘Telma Yelin’ with very good grades.


Played the Horn in the Israeli Defense Forces Orchestra (‘Tizmoret Tzahal’). David had taken lessons with Yaakov Mishori from the Israel Philharmonic to be able to do his compulsory three-year-military service as a musician.

1970, David in the Army, playing percussion


Studied conducting in Vienna with Hans Swarowsky. Studied the Violin as 2 nd subject with Günther Pichler.

Swarowsky about David Shallon


Spending the summer with his friends in a masterclass with his charismatic teacher Ramy Shevelov.

Chamber music masterclass with his violin teacher Ramy Shevelov in Zichron Yaakov, Israel

Assisted Leonard Bernstein for several concerts and film productions with the Vienna Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, and the Orchestre National de France.

1978, invitation from the Vienna Staatsoper to assist L.Bernstein
1978, Invitation from the Vienna Staatsoper to assist Leonard Bernstein


Conducted the Tonkünstlerorchester at Musikverein Vienna for his Diploma Concert.

1975-05-14, Conducting Diploma Concert
David conducting Diploma Concert, Vienna
1975, Tonkünstlerorchester about David Shallon


First concerts with the Israel Philharmonic in Tel Aviv.

David grew up ‘next door’ to the IPO and visited as many concerts as possible as a young student. He worked as an assistant to the librarian at age 13 in return for tickets.

This was his musical home for a long time. He loved going back as a guest both for the music, as well as for the friendships with many players in the orchestra.


Conducted Fidelio at the Vienna Staatsoper, taking over from Leonard Bernstein for one performance.

1979-06-14, Conducting Fidelio at the Vienna Staatsoper

1979, Letter from Bernstein about David Shallon


Debut with the Wiener Symphoniker, performing Mahler Symphony No. 3.

David Shallon conducted all Mahler Symphonies regularly throughout his career except for Symphony No. 8.


World Premiere of Gottfried von Einem’s Opera ‘Jesu Hochzeit’ in Vienna, which turned into a theatre scandal.

1979, postcard from Gottfried von Einem
1979, Postcard from Gottfried von Einem with last corrections


Debut in Berlin, conducting the Radio Symphony Orchestra (now DSO) in the Philharmonie on his 30th birthday.

1980-10-15, Berlin debut concert
Berlin debut concert


First letter from his Japanese Management. Letter was addressed to David Shallon – Tel Aviv – Iran…..and arrived.

1981, Envelope from Japan to Israel via Iran
1981, Envelope from Japan to Israel via Iran

The American management ICM started working for David and got him first engagements in Canada and the US.

Here he conducted the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

1981, Concert with Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, program
1981, Concert with Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, program


First Tour with ‘Junge Deutsche Philharmonie’ (eng. ‘The German National Youth Orchestra’).

David loved working with youth orchestras. He did many projects in the coming years with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, the Kammerorchester of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and the Ensemble Modern.


First project with the students’ orchestra of the Freiburg Music Academy. David conducted the students’ orchestra in 4 projects over the coming years.

Mahler Symphony no.5 in 1985,
Mahler Symphony no.2 in 1987,
Mahler Symphony no.7 in 1991,
Mahler Symphony no.9 in 1996.

In the early 80ies, the Freiburg music students were very actively working on a self-governed orchestra. In ’85 the Freiburger Barock Orchestra was founded among many of the Freiburg students of that time.


Haydn ‘The Creation’

This project was a political protest against the nuclear waste reprocessing plant in Wackersdorf, Bavaria. The orchestra was a pick-up group of soloists, members of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Freiburger Barock Orchestra and others.

This was the first time for Tabea Zimmermann to play under David’s baton.

1986-10-26, Info about the project and names of all members of the orchestra, choir and soloists (PDF, german)

1986-10-26, Conducting Haydn's Creation as a political protest
Poster Haydn ‘The Creation’


David and Tabea fall in love during Gidon Kremer’s Festival in Lockenhaus, Austria.

First position as music director of the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra. David and Tabea live together in Düsseldorf from 1988-1994.

Elisabeth von Leliwa about David Shallon’s years as music director of the Düsseldorf Symphony (PDF, in German – English translation to come soon)


Conducting the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie in Cologne


Tour to East Germany with 350 people involved. The Düsseldorf Musikverein choir had organized this tour years in advance. 9 train wagons going on a special train from Düsseldorf to East Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig. Performing Schumann ‘missa sacra’ and Mendelssohn Symphony No. 2 ‘Lobgesang’ and Berlioz’ ‘la damnation de Faust’. East German television and WDR TV covered the tour and broadcasted on November 09 in 1989, the day the Berlin Wall fell.



Conducting Schostakowitsch Symphony No. 14, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Julia Varady, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Frankfurt (now Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen).

1990-10-16, Conducting Schostakowitsch Nr 14 with Fischer-Dieskau, Varady, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Frankfurt
1990-10-16, program



Smetana’s ’The Bartered Bride‘ opera production in Israel was planned to open in January ‘91 after 4-6 weeks of preparations.

When Iraq sent the first Scud missiles to Israel on January 18th, 1991, the premiere on January 19th was, of course, cancelled and life in Israel changed dramatically for several weeks. There was a constant fear of Saddam Hussein using chemical warfare. Everybody walked around with a gas mask in a box. One had to be ready to go into shelters any time the alarm went off.

Planned concerts in Jerusalem were only broadcast to radio for the same reason. People tried to stay home and be with their families as often as possible.

Smetana ‘The Bartered Bride’

Berliner Festwochen, Staatskapelle Berlin, Hélène Grimaud, David Shallon. This was the first performance of the Staatskapelle Berlin in the Berliner Festwochen after the unification.

Ravel Piano Concerto and Shostakovich Symphony No. 7 ‘Leningrad’.

David Shallon and Tabea Zimmermann get married in Düsseldorf.

1991-10-11, David and Tabea get married in Düsseldorf
1991-10-11, David and Tabea get married in Düsseldorf


Started as music director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra following many projects with them over the years. David always enjoyed coming back to Israel to keep close contact with his family and friends.

David and Tabea at this point considered moving to Israel but then decided that their home should be in Europe, where they both worked most, and Israel would remain a second home.

1992-93 JSO season brochure


Jerusalem Symphony on Tour to Holland and Germany

JSO Tour plan (PDF)

1994-07, Jerusalem Symphony on Tour to Holland and Germany-1


Moved from Düsseldorf to a country house not far from Frankfurt.

The old water mill in Tudor Style from the 15th Century was inspiring and challenging.

David and Tabea had dreams and plans to convert the old barn into a musical study centre, to host a small Festival in the village and to grow their own fruits and vegetables. They did a lot of weeding in the big garden, tried to learn the necessary skills for making goat cheese (Tabea’s students from Frankfurt gave them a goat as an end of year gift!) and had a few sheep to keep the grass short.

1995, David in the garden behind the barn in Birstein
1995, David in the garden behind the barn in Birstein


50 years after the end of World War II, David conducts Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem in the Musikverein Vienna.

1995-01-27, Britten War Requiem in Vienna (PDF)

Steven Isserlis and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra

1995-05-22, Steven Isserlis and the Jerusalem Symphony, poster

Conducted the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester.

1995-12, Conducting the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester
Concert with Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, program


Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, European Tour (Brussels, Stuttgart, Cologne, Lübeck, Madrid, Valencia, Zaragoza, Geneva, Zurich, Innsbruck, Vienna).

JSO Tour Plan and program booklets (PDF)

1996-02, Jerusalem Symphony, European Tour Plan
Jerusalem Symphony, European Tour Plan

Conducted the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie at the Berliner Festwochen.

1996-09-05, Conducting the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie at the Berliner Festwochen
Program booklet

Festive Concert in Düsseldorf to celebrate 3000 years Jerusalem.

1996-09-11, Festive concert in Düsseldorf with Hillel Zori

Jerusalem Symphony season brochure

JSO season brochure 1996-97


David got his third position as music director at the Luxembourg Philharmonic. He was involved in the planning of the new concert hall in Luxembourg but did not live to see its opening in 1998.



David and Tabea’s son Yuval is born in Jerusalem. This was the happiest time in David’s life, even though he felt he was not a young father at 48. David and Tabea performed many concerts together at that time and travelled together with baby Yuval and a nanny.

1998-09, David and Yuval
1998-09, David and Yuval


Hommage à Bartók, Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra

Hommage à Bartok (PDF)

1999-2000, season brochure OPL
1999-2000, season brochure OPL Luxembourg


David and Tabea had gladly accepted an invitation to Japan where two projects were planned simultaneously. David would be conducting the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra again and Tabea would appear both as a soloist and as a chamber musician.

2000-09, Tabea, Yuval, David in Tokyo, last picture
2000-09, Tabea, Yuval, David in Tokyo. David’s last picture.

David dies in Tokyo from an asthma attack after dinner.

David's grave in Israel
David's grave in Israel


Son Jonathan is born 7 months after David’s death.

2001-04, Tabea, Yuval, Jonathan
2001-04, Tabea, Yuval, Jonathan

Jerusalem Symphony plays a concert in memory of David Shallon

JSO booklet in memory of David Shallon (Hebrew, PDF)

JSO booklet in memory of David Shallon (hebrew)

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