Jaap van Zweden began his tenure as the 26th Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in September 2018. He also serves as Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, a post he has held since 2012. He has conducted orchestras on three continents, appearing as guest with leading orchestras such as, in Europe, the Orchestre de Paris, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and, London Symphony Orchestra, and, in the United States, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic.
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In the 2019–20 season, Jaap van Zweden conducted the New York Philharmonic in four World Premieres and symphonic cornerstones. As part of the launch of Project 19, the multiyear initiative marking the centennial of the 19th Amendment with commissions by 19 women composers, he led the premieres of works by Nina C. Young, Tania León, and Ellen Reid. Other highlights include a new, staged production of Schoenberg’s Erwartung and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle; his first Young People’s Concert; and works by Beethoven, Mozart, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Barber, Björk, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Anders Hilborg, and more, including the school-age participants in the New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers Program.
Jaap van Zweden’s most recent recording is the 2020 release of the World Premiere of David Lang’s prisoner of the state, following the 2019 release of Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth, both part of the Philharmonic’s partnership with Decca Gold, Universal Music Group’s newly established US classical music label. He conducted the first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, the recordings of which are available on the Naxos label. His acclaimed performances of Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal — the last of which earned him the prestigious Edison Award for Best Opera Recording in 2012 — are available on CD and DVD.
Born in Amsterdam, Jaap van Zweden was appointed at age 19 as the youngest-ever concertmaster of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He began his conducting career almost 20 years later, in 1996. He remains Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, where he was Chief Conductor (2005–13), served as Chief Conductor of the Royal Flanders Orchestra (2008–11), and was Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (2008–18), where he is now Conductor Laureate. Jaap van Zweden was named Musical America’s 2012 Conductor of the Year and was the subject of an October 2018 CBS 60 Minutes profile on the occasion of his arrival at the New York Philharmonic. Recently, he was awarded the prestigious 2020 Concertgebouw Prize. Under his leadership the Hong Kong Philharmonic was named Gramophone’s 2019 Orchestra of the Year.
In 1997 Jaap van Zweden and his wife, Aaltje, established the Papageno Foundation to support families of children with autism. The Foundation has grown into a multifaceted organization that focuses on the development of children and young adults with autism. The Foundation provides in-home music therapy through a national network of qualified music therapists in The Netherlands; opened the Papageno House in 2015 (with Her Majesty Queen Maxima in attendance) for young adults with autism to live, work, and participate in the community; created a research center at the Papageno House for early diagnosis and treatment of autism and for analyzing the effects of music therapy on autism; develops funding opportunities to support autism programs; and, most recently, launched the app TEAMPapageno, which allows children with autism to communicate with each other through music composition.