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Philharmonic and Jaap van Zweden To Open Mahler Festival 2020, Presented by The Royal Concertgebouw

NY Philharmonic Mahler Jaap van Zweden Matthew VanBesien Simon Reinink

This just in: Mahler and the Philharmonic will continue to groove in 2020. Today it was announced that the Philharmonic and Jaap van Zweden, who becomes Music Director in 2018, will open the Mahler Festival — held every 25 years — in Amsterdam in May 2020, presented by The Royal Concertgebouw. They’ll perform Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in the festival’s opening concert in the Concertgebouw, part of the Orchestra’s first European tour with Jaap van Zweden in spring 2020.

2020 will mark 100 years since the first Mahler Festival, honoring the 25th anniversary of legendary conductor Willem Mengelberg as chief conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. The Philharmonic enjoys a special connection with both Mahler and Mengelberg: they both served as Music Directors, and Mahler conducted several of his own works with the Philharmonic, including the U.S. Premiere of his Symphony No. 1 in 1909.

The Mahler Festival 2020 will include performances of all of Mahler’s symphonies played by the New York Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra — all of which Mahler himself conducted and which will be heard together in Amsterdam for the first time.

Photo by Chris Lee: Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien, future Music Director Jaap van Zweden, and Concertgebouw General Manager Simon Reinink

Van Zweden 'Almost Miraculous' in New Mahler 3 Recording

Jaap van Zweden New York Philharmonic

A new recording shows that the next Music Director of “Mahler’s orchestra” has a fine way with Mahler’s music.

"The best thing I’ve heard from van Zweden, and I’ve heard a lot of incredible performances under his baton," wrote Scott Cantrell of the Dallas Morning News, reviewing Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Mahler 3 recording, which came out on Friday.

Cantrell wrote:

His way of sustaining and inflecting the music over great stretches is almost miraculous. The caressing of phrases in the finale more than lives up to Mahler’s marking, “with heartfelt sensation”; I can’t think of another living conductor who could work such magic. No wonder van Zweden has been tapped as the next music director of the New York Philharmonic.

One performer on the recording is someone van Zweden will see often when he comes to New York. “You’ll never hear the [opening] movement’s great trombone solos more gorgeously played than by [Principal Trombone] Joseph Alessi, on loan from the New York Philharmonic,” Cantrell wrote.

Recorded live during performances on May 14–16, 2015, at Dallas’s Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the recording is available on Amazon and iTunes.

Jaap van Zweden Named Next Music Director of New York Philharmonic

New York Philharmonic

We are pleased to announce that conductor Jaap van Zweden will become the next Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, beginning in 2018–19, the Orchestra’s 177th season. He will serve as Music Director Designate in the 2017–18 season.

As the New York Philharmonic’s 26th Music Director, Mr. van Zweden — currently Music Director of both the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra — will succeed Alan Gilbert, whose tenure began in 2009 and culminates in the 2016–17 season.

“This is one of the happiest and most fulfilling days of my life,” said Jaap van Zweden. “To be asked by the great musicians of the New York Philharmonic and by the Board of this iconic institution to be its Music Director is truly an honor. As musicians, we strive to achieve the best for our audiences in sharing the music of so many gifted composers of the past and present as we look to the future. My heart is full, and my family and I look forward to being true New Yorkers, as I was during my Juilliard days.”

As Music Director Designate in the 2017–18 season, Jaap van Zweden will conduct several weeks of concerts. As Music Director beginning in 2018–19, he will conduct the Orchestra for 12 weeks each year in addition to tours and residencies.

Acclaimed for superb performances and orchestra-building in Dallas and around the world, Amsterdam-born Jaap van Zweden was appointed at age 19 as the youngest-ever concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and began his conducting career 20 years later in 1995. It was upon the encouragement of Philharmonic Laureate Conductor Leonard Bernstein, during a rehearsal of Mahler’s First Symphony there, that he first took up the baton. His appointment as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic will be a homecoming for Mr. van Zweden, who was trained as a violinist at The Juilliard School.

Learn more about Jaap van Zweden.

(Photo: Chris Lee)

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