Decca, Meet Jaap! - Debussy, Stravinsky, and Beethoven

The New York Philharmonic

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Decca, Meet Jaap! - Debussy, Stravinsky, and Beethoven

Recorded September 20, 2018

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Music Director

Jaap van Zweden

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, and has appeared as guest conductor with many other leading orchestras around the globe, including the Orchestre de Paris, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and London Symphony Orchestra.

In the 2019–20 season, Jaap van Zweden conducts the New York Philharmonic in seven World Premieres and symphonic cornerstones. He presides over Project 19, marking the centennial of the 19th Amendment with commissions by 19 women composers; the hotspots festival, spotlighting Berlin, Reykjavík, and New York as new-music centers; and Mahler’s New York, examining the composer / conductor who spent time in New York as the Philharmonic’s tenth Music Director. During the 2020 European tour, he and the Orchestra will open the Concertgebouw’s Mahler Festival as the first American orchestra in the festival’s history. Other highlights include a new production of Schoenberg’s Erwartung and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle; his first Young People’s Concert; and the low-cost Phil the Hall. He also guest conducts the Chicago Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Jaap van Zweden’s most recent recording is of the World Premiere performance of Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth, continuing the Philharmonic’s partnership with Decca Gold. He conducted the first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which have been recorded and released on Naxos, and his performance of Parsifal earned him the prestigious Edison Award for Best Opera Recording in 2012.

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 a 60 Minutes profile on CBS in 2018.

In 1997 Jaap van Zweden and his wife, Aaltje, established the Papageno Foundation to support families of children with autism. Today, the Foundation focuses on the development of children and young adults with autism by providing in-home music therapy; developing funding opportunities for autism programs; operating the Papageno House, where young adults with autism live, work, and participate in the community; and creating a research center in the Papageno House for early diagnosis and treatment of autism and analyzing the effects of music therapy on autism. Most recently, the Foundation launched the app TEAMPapageno, which allows children with autism to communicate with each other through music composition.

Learn more about Jaap van Zweden

La Mer

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The Rite of Spring

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882–1971)
The Rite of Spring (1911–13)

Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring, which bears the subtitle “Pictures of Pagan Russia in Two Parts,” depicts an imaginary scene in which he saw “a solemn pagan rite: wise elders, seated in a circle, watching a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring.” The violent Russian spring “seemed to begin in an hour and was like the whole earth cracking…I had only my ear to help me. I heard, and I wrote what I heard. I am the vessel through which The Rite passed.” Stravinsky’s calm statement in no way reflects the wild scene at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris on May 29, 1913, when the premiere of this ballet caused the most notorious riot in music history. The Rite of Spring starts with an extended bassoon solo, and before long there is a profusion of twitters, plucked strings, and pounding of pagan drums…like all manner of life forms breaking through the frozen crust of the Russian landscape — the overwhelming urge of nature propelling itself into life that cannot be denied. Dissonances and continually changing metric markings in wild profusion, pulsing rhythms, and primitive rituals proclaim the veneration of spring and climax in the sacrificial dance of the victim. The Rite of Spring continues to be a thrilling visceral experience, whether you’re hearing it for the first or the fiftieth time. Abandoning yourself to its raw energy is the way to revel in this magnificent work.

Symphony No. 7

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