Born in Israel, Eliahu Inbal studied violin and composition at the Jerusalem Music Academy before completing his studies at the Conservatoire National Supérier in Paris upon the recommendation of Leonard Bernstein. His teachers there included Louis Fourestier (conducting), Olivier Messiaen, and Nadia Boulanger. His musical development was also heavily influenced by Franco Ferrara, in Hilversum, the Netherlands, and Sergiu Celibidache, in Siena, Italy. Since winning first prize in the Cantelli Conducting Competition at the age of 26, Eliahu Inbal has enjoyed a lucrative career, conducting leading orchestras in Europe, the United States, and Japan, and making regular appearances at international festivals.
In Germany, Eliahu Inbal shaped his skills and image through a successful tenure with the RSO Frankfurt (1974-1990), and is now honorary conductor of the ensemble. He was also honorary conductor of the Orchestra Nazionale della RAI in Turin from 1995 to 2001. Due to the preeminent interpretational skills he displayed during this time, he was awarded the Italian critic’s prize Premio Abbiati and the Premio Viotti. From 2001-2005, Inbal was principal conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra which he had regularly conducted since 1992. He conducted all three of the aforementioned orchestras on highly successful tours, travelling to countries such as China, Korea, Japan, and Spain, as well as various South American countries.
In January 2007, Eliahu Inbal was named principal conductor of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, a position he had previously held from 1984-1987. His operatic engagements have taken him to opera houses in Paris, Glyndebourne, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Zurich and Madrid among others.
After becoming the director of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra in 2008, Inbal took on a position with yet another important and venerable orchestra in 2009, the Czech Philharmonic. He also annually conducts the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne’s Bruckner Cycle at the Rheingau Music Festival. During the 2010/2011 season, Inbal appeared as guest conductor for the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam’s Mahler Festival and, in November 2010, for three concerts at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. In August 2011, he will conduct the Orchestre National de Lyon in a performance of Liszt’s Faust Symphony.
Eliahu Inbal’s extensive discography includes the complete symphonic works of Berlioz, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Ravel, Schumann, Schostakovich, Skriabin, Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, and the Second Vienna School. Many of his recordings have been awarded prizes, such as the Deutschen Schallplattenpreis, the Grand Prix du Disque, and the Prix Caecilia.
In 1990, the French government named Eliahu Inbal an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. In February 2001 he was awarded the Golden Medal for Merit from the city of Vienna. He received the Goethe Badge of Honour from the City of Frankfurt and the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany in 2006.