David Zinman

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David Zinman (born July 9, 1936 in New York City, United States) is an American conductor and violinist.

Biography and career[edit]

After early violin studies at the Oberlin Conservatory, Zinman studied theory and composition at the University of Minnesota, earning his M.A. in 1963,[1] and took up conducting at Tanglewood. He then worked in Maine with Pierre Monteux from 1958 to 1962, serving as his assistant from 1961 to 1964.

Zinman held the post of tweede dirigent (second conductor) of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra from 1965 to 1977. He was the principal conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra from 1979 to 1982.

In the USA, Zinman was music director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from 1974 to 1985. With the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, he was principal guest conductor for two years before becoming the orchestra's music director in 1985. During his Baltimore tenure, he began to implement ideas from the historically informed performance movement in his interpretations of the Beethoven symphonies.[2] At the end of his Baltimore tenure in 1998, Zinman was named the orchestra's conductor laureate. However, in protest at what he saw as the Baltimore orchestra's overly conservative programming in the years since his departure, he renounced that title in 2001.[3] In 1998, Zinman was the Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival alongside pianist Mitsuko Uchida. In 1998, he was appointed music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School,[4] where he founded and directed its American Academy of Conducting until his sudden resignation in April 2010.[5]

Zinman became music director of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich in 1995. His innovative programming with that orchestra includes a series of late-night concerts, "Tonhalle Late", which combine classical music and a nightclub setting.[6] His recordings for Arte Nova of the complete Beethoven symphonies were based on the new Jonathan Del Mar critical edition and was acclaimed by critics. He has subsequently recorded Beethoven overtures and concertos with the Tonhalle.[7][8][9] He conducted the Tonhalle Orchestra in its first-ever appearance at The Proms in 2003.[10] In 2009, he conducted the Tonhalle in the soundtrack for the feature film 180° - If your world is suddenly upside down. He concluded his Tonhalle music directorship on July 21, 2014 with a concert at The Proms.[11]

Other activities[edit]

Zinman also conducted for the soundtrack of the 1993 film version of the New York City Ballet production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. His 1992 recording of Henryk Górecki’s Symphony no.3 with Dawn Upshaw and the London Sinfonietta was an international bestseller.[6] In January 2006, he received the Theodore Thomas Award presented by the Conductors' Guild. In 2009 Zinman conducted the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich for the feature film score 180° composed by Diego Baldenweg with Nora Baldenweg & Lionel Baldenweg, which won the Suisa prize for "Best Original Score" at the Locarno Film Festival in 2010. [12][13]

Zinman and his wife reside in New Jersey, United States.[14]


  1. ^ Slonimsky, Nicolas (1978). "Zinman, David". Baker's Biographical dictionary of musicians (6th ed.). New York: Schirmer Books. p. 1949. ISBN 0-02-870240-9.
  2. ^ Scott Cantrell (May 7, 2004). "Preaching to the Unconverted". The New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  3. ^ Anthony Tommasini (May 7, 2003). "Setting Out With Energy Along the Road Most Taken". The New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  4. ^ Kyle MacMillan (July 25, 2007). "Learning to wield a mean baton". The Denver Post. Retrieved August 10, 2007.
  5. ^ Susan Elliott (April 11, 2010). "David Zinman quits Aspen Music Festival". Musical America. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Anne Midgette (May 7, 2004). "Carnegie Program Shows The Conservative Side Of a New-Music Man". The New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  7. ^ Edward Greenfield (January 14, 2005). "Beethoven: Complete Overtures, Zurich Tonhalle Orch/ Zinman". The Guardian. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  8. ^ Andrew Clements (April 28, 2006). "Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Two Romances, Tetzlaff/ZTO/Zinman". The Guardian. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  9. ^ Andrew Clements (September 22, 2006). "Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 5; Choral Fantasy (Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt), Bronfman/ Swiss Chamber Choir/ Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra/ Zinman". The Guardian. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  10. ^ Erica Jeal (September 13, 2003). "Proms 70 and 71: Musiciens du Louvre; Tonhalle Orchestra (Royal Albert Hall, London)". The Guardian. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  11. ^ Tim Ashley (July 22, 2014). "Prom 5: Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich review – sadness and celebration". The Guardian. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  12. ^ https://reelmusic.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/180°-diego-baldenweg/Reel Music]
  13. ^ The Baldenweg siblings honoured in Locarno
  14. ^ Michael White (July 18, 2014). "After a Run of 19 Years, Passing the Baton". New York Times. Retrieved July 25, 2014.

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Edo de Waart
Music Director, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Succeeded by
James Conlon

Selected Discography

Elgar- Enigma Variations/Cockaigne Overture (Baltimore Symphony Orchestra) Telarc 1989