Conductor Jaap van Zweden has become an international presence on three continents over the past decade. The 2018-19 season marks his first as the 26th Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. He continues as Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, a post he has held since 2012. Guest engagements this season include the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, San Francisco Symphony, and Dallas Symphony Orchestra where he is Conductor Laureate.
He has appeared as guest conductor with many other leading orchestras around the globe, among them the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, Orchestre national de France, and London Symphony Orchestra.
In his inaugural season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden conducts repertoire ranging from five World Premieres to symphonic cornerstones. He also presides over three major season pillars that contextualize music through a variety of programs complemented by citywide collaborations. Music of Conscience explores composers’ responses to the social issues of their time, with music by Beethoven, Shostakovich, John Corigliano, and David Lang. New York Stories: Threads of Our City looks at musical expressions of the immigrant experience in New York, with music by Julia Wolfe. The Art of Andriessen spotlights the music of Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. Maestro van Zweden also welcomes New Yorkers to Phil the Hall — special concerts for the community — and to the Annual Free Memorial Day Concert, as well as the Concerts in the Parks.
Jaap van Zweden has made numerous acclaimed recordings, the most recent of which are live New York Philharmonic performances of Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7 released on CD and for streaming and download in February 2018; this release launches the Philharmonic’s partnership with Decca Gold, Universal Music Group’s newly established U.S. classical music label. In 2018 with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, he completed a four-year project conducting the first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which have been recorded and released on Naxos Records. His highly praised performances of Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger and Parsifal, the latter of which earned Maestro van Zweden the prestigious Edison award for Best Opera Recording in 2012, are available on CD/DVD.
The Amsterdam-born van Zweden was appointed at age nineteen as the youngest concertmaster ever of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and began his conducting career nearly twenty years later in 1996. He remains Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, where he served as Chief Conductor from 2005-2013. He also held the Chief Conductor post of the Royal Flanders Orchestra from 2008-11. 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 guest conductor with the most prestigious US orchestras.
In 1997, Jaap van Zweden and his wife Aaltje established the Papageno Foundation, the objective being to support families of children with autism. Now, 20 years later, the Foundation has grown into a multi-faceted organization which, through various initiatives and activities, focuses on the development of children and young adults with autism. These initiatives include: providing music therapy to children in their own homes via a national network in The Netherlands of qualified music therapists; opening the Papageno House, in August 2015 with Her Majesty Queen Maxima in attendance, for young adults with autism to live, to work and to participate in the community; creating a research center at the Papageno House for early diagnosis and treatment of autism and for analyzing the effects of music therapy on autism; developing funding opportunities to support autism programs; and most recently launching a new app, TEAMPapageno, which allows children with autism to communicate with each other through music composition.