Jaap van Zweden has risen rapidly in the past decade to become one of today’s most sought-after conductors. On January 27, 2016, New York Philharmonic Chairman Oscar S. Schafer and President Matthew VanBesien announced that conductor Jaap van Zweden will become the Orchestra’s next Music Director, beginning in 2018–19, the Orchestra’s 177th season. Mr. van Zweden will serve as Music Director Designate in the 2017–18 season. He has been music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, holding the Louise W. & Edmund J. Kahn Music Directorship, and will continue in that role through the 2017–18 season, after which he becomes Conductor Laureate. He has also been music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra since 2012. Born in Amsterdam, Jaap van Zweden was appointed at 19 as the youngest-ever concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and began his conducting career 20 years later in 1995. He remains honorary chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor emeritus of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra. In November 2011, Mr. van Zweden was named Musical America’s 2012 Conductor of the Year in recognition of his critically acclaimed work as music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and as a guest conductor with the most prestigious U.S. orchestras.
Highlights of the 2015–16 season include return visits to the New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris and the Rotterdam and London Philharmonic Orchestras, as well as debut performances with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the Czech Philharmonic. Mr. van Zweden returned to the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in the fall of 2015 to lead a concert performance of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.
Jaap van Zweden has appeared as guest conductor with many leading orchestras across the globe that, in addition to those above, include The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Orchestre National de France, Oslo Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Recent highlights have included highly successful appearances at the Verbier Festival, tours of major venues in Europe and China with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and debuts with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Boston and London Symphony Orchestras, and his BBC Proms debut conducting the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony. With the Dallas Symphony he launched the inaugural SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival, and with the Hong Kong Philharmonic he has begun a four-year project to conduct the first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which is being recorded for release on Naxos Records.
Jaap van Zweden has made numerous acclaimed recordings, which include Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Petrushka, Britten’s War Requiem, and the complete Beethoven and Brahms symphonies. He has recently completed a cycle of Bruckner symphonies with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. He has recorded Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 with the London Philharmonic (LPO Live), and Mozart Piano Concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra and David Fray (Virgin). His highly praised performances of Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger, and Parsifal are also available on CD/DVD, the last of which earned Maestro van Zweden the prestigious Edison award for Best Opera Recording in 2012. For the Dallas Symphony’s own record label, he has released the symphonies of Tchaikovsky (Nos. 4 and 5), Beethoven (Nos. 5 and 7), Mahler (Nos. 3 and 6), and Dvořák (No. 9), and the world premiere recording of Steven Stucky’s concert drama August 4, 1964. Most recently released on Naxos is his recording with the Hong Kong Philharmonic of Wagner’s Das Rheingold.
In 1997, Jaap van Zweden and his wife, Aaltje, established the Papageno Foundation, the objective being to support families of children with autism. Over the years, that support has taken shape through a number of programs in which professional music therapists and musicians, receiving additional training from Papageno, use music as a major tool in their work with autistic children. Papageno House, a new home for autistic young adults and children, was opened in Laren, The Netherlands, in August 2015, with Queen Maxima in attendance.