Jaap van Zweden Steps Down as New York Philharmonic Music Director

For his final performances, he will conduct five concerts in China from June 27 to July 3 and three performances at Vail, Colorado, from July 17-20.

By: Jun. 09, 2024
Jaap van Zweden Steps Down as New York Philharmonic Music Director
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According various sources, Jaap van Zweden will step down as the music director of the New York Philharmonic after 6 seasons.

Zweden decided to stop traveling during the pandemic, but ultimately decided that utilizing technology to connect was not for him either.

“I strongly believe in heart-to-heart contact, eye-to-eye contact, and not through a camera or something,” he told the AP. “I cannot change myself. I was pushed into the century of Skyping and electronics. It’s not me.”

Van Zweden finished conducting three performances of Mahler’s Second Symphony yesterday for his final performance at Lincoln Center. He will conduct five concerts in China from June 27 to July 3 and three performances at Vail, Colorado, from July 17-20.

Read the full article here.

About Jaap van Zweden

Jaap van Zweden began his tenure as the 26th Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in September 2018. He has also served as Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic since 2012, and became Music Director of the Seoul Philharmonic in 2024. He will become Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in September 2026, after serving as its Music Director Designate in the 2025–26 season. He has conducted orchestras on three continents, appearing as guest with, in Europe, the Orchestre de Paris, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, and London Symphony Orchestra, and, in the United States, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and other distinguished ensembles.

In 2023–24, Jaap van Zweden’s New York Philharmonic farewell season will celebrate his connection with the Orchestra’s musicians as he leads performances in which several Principal players appear as concerto soloists. He also revisits the oeuvres of composers he has championed at the Philharmonic, ranging from Steve Reich and Joel Thompson to Mozart, conducting the Requiem, and Mahler, leading the Symphony No. 2, Resurrection. By the conclusion of his Philharmonic tenure, which has included the reopening of the transformed David Geffen Hall, he will have led the Orchestra in World, US, and New York Premieres of 31 works. Among them are pieces commissioned through Project 19 — which marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment with new works by 19 women composers, among them Tania León’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Stride. During the 2021–22 season, when David Geffen Hall was closed for renovation, he conducted the Orchestra at other New York City venues — including his first-ever Philharmonic appearances at Carnegie Hall — and in the residency at the Usedom Music Festival, where the New York Philharmonic was the first American orchestra to perform abroad since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic inaugurated the new David Geffen Hall in October 2022 with HOME, a monthlong housewarming for the Orchestra and its audiences. Other 2022–23 season highlights include SPIRIT, a musical expression of the trials and triumphs of the human spirit featuring performances of Messiaen’s Turangalîla-symphonie and J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and EARTH, a response to the climate crisis that includes Julia Wolfe’s unEarth and John Luther Adams’s Become Desert. Over the course of David Geffen Hall’s inaugural season, he is conducting repertoire ranging from Beethoven and Bruckner to premieres by Marcos Balter, Etienne Charles, Caroline Shaw, and Carlos Simon, in addition to the works by Wolfe and Adams.

Jaap van Zweden’s New York Philharmonic recordings include the World Premiere of David Lang’s prisoner of the state (2020), and Wolfe’s Grammy-nominated Fire in my mouth (2019), both released on the Decca Gold label. He conducted the Hong Kong Philharmonic in first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, released 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, at age 19, was appointed the youngest-ever concertmaster of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and began his conducting career almost 20 years later, in 1996. In April 2023, van Zweden receives the Concertgebouw Prize, for exceptional contributions to that organization’s artistic profile. He remains Conductor Emeritus of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, where he was Chief Conductor (2005–13); he also served as Chief Conductor of the Royal Flanders Orchestra (2008–11), and as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (2008–18). Under his leadership, the Hong Kong Philharmonic was named Gramophone’s Orchestra of the Year in 2019. He 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.

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, more recently, launched the app TEAMPapageno, which allows children with autism to communicate with each other through music composition.



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