Jaap van Zweden

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Jaap van Zweden

New York Philharmonic - Janine Jansen, violinist (cropped).jpg
Jaap van Zweden conducting, Lincoln Center, New York, 2020
Born12 December 1960 (1960-12-12) (age 62)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Occupation(s)Conductor, violinist
Violinist Jaap van Zweden, 1981

Jaap van Zweden SBS (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjaːp fan ˈzʋeːdə(n)]; born 12 December 1960) is a Dutch conductor and violinist. He is currently music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and of the New York Philharmonic, and music director-designate of the Seoul Philharmonic.


Van Zweden was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands. His father, a pianist, encouraged him to begin violin studies at age five, and he studied music in Amsterdam, where his teachers included Louise Wijngaarden and Davina van Wely. At age 15, he won the Oskar Back violin competition; this allowed him to attend the Juilliard School in the United States, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay.[1]


In 1979, at age 18, van Zweden became one of the two first chairs (leaders) of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. He was the youngest violinist ever to assume that position, which he held until 1995. He performed as a soloist with many other orchestras as well.

Van Zweden began to work as a conductor after Leonard Bernstein invited him to lead an orchestra rehearsal in Berlin. He has stated that he learned much about conducting from observing the various conductors who led concerts of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. He conducted smaller ensembles initially, and became a full-time conductor in 1997.[2] His first Dutch conducting post was as chief conductor with the Orkest van het Oosten (Orchestra of the East, or the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra) in Enschede, the Netherlands. He served in this post from 1996 through 2000. Van Zweden was chief conductor of the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague from 2000 until 2005, and he recorded the complete symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven with them. In 2005 he became chief conductor and artistic leader of the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest (RFO; Netherlands Radio Philharmonic) in Hilversum. In February 2007 he extended his RFO contract through 2013.[3] In August 2010, the orchestra announced that van Zweden would step down from the RFO chief conductorship in 2012 and take the position of honorary guest conductor.[4] Van Zweden served as chief conductor of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2011.[5][6]

Outside Europe, van Zweden made his U.S. conducting debut with the St. Louis Symphony in 1996. His second US guest-conducting appearance was with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in February 2006, a concert that was highly acclaimed.[7] Based on this engagement the Dallas Symphony named Van Zweden their next music director after Andrew Litton, effective with the 2008/09 season.[2] His initial contract was for four years, where in the first year he was scheduled to conduct 12 weeks of subscription concerts and then for 15 weeks in the subsequent three years. For the 2007–2008 season, he held the title of music director-designate. In October 2009, the Dallas Symphony announced the extension of his contract through the 2015–2016 season.[8] In November 2013, the orchestra announced a further extension of his contract through 2019.[9] In January 2016, the Dallas Symphony announced a revised conclusion of van Zweden's tenure for the close of the 2017–2018 season, one season earlier than his most recent Dallas contract. With the 2018–2019 season, van Zweden took the title of conductor laureate of the Dallas Symphony, for the period from 2018 until 2021.[10]

In January 2012, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) announced the appointment of van Zweden as its next music director, with an initial contract of four years, starting 1 August 2012.[11] He made his debut as the music director of the orchestra on 28 September 2012.[12] In June 2016, van Zweden extended his contract with the HK Phil through the 2021–2022 season.[13] In June 2020, the HK Phil announced the further extension of van Zweden's contract through the 2023–2024 season, at which time he is scheduled to stand down from the post and to take the title of conductor laureate.[14]

Van Zweden first guest-conducted the New York Philharmonic in April 2012.[15] He returned for subsequent engagements in November 2014 and October 2015.[16][17] In January 2016, the New York Philharmonic announced the appointment of van Zweden as its next music director, effective with the 2018/19 season, with an initial contract of five years. Van Zweden served as music director designate for the 2017/18 season.[18] In September 2021, van Zweden stated his intention to stand down from the New York Philharmonic music directorship at the close of the 2023–2024 season.[19]

In September 2022, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra announced the appointment of van Zweden as its next music director, effective January 2024, with an initial contract of 5 years.[20][21]

Personal life[edit]

Since 1983, van Zweden has been married to the artist Aaltje van Zweden–van Buuren. They have a daughter, Anna-Sophia, and three sons, Daniel, Benjamin and Alexander. The van Zwedens have a particular interest in autism, as their son Benjamin is autistic.[2] In 2000, the van Zwedens set up the Papageno Foundation to provide autistic children with music therapy.[22][23] During the COVID-19 pandemic, van Zweden contracted SARS-CoV-2 and subsequently recovered.[19]


  1. ^ Tim Madigan, "Conductor Jaap van Zweden's performance applauded from every corner". Dallas Star-Telegram, 28 September 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Scott Cantrell, "New director for DSO". Dallas Morning News, 1 February 2007.
  3. ^ Vivien Schweitzer (1 February 2007). "Dallas Symphony Names Jaap van Zweden Music Director". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  4. ^ "Markus Stenz chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra" (Press release). Radio Filharmonisch Orkest. 17 August 2010. Archived from the original on 19 November 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  5. ^ "Jaap van Zweden chef-dirigent in Vlaanderen". Trouw. 30 June 2006. Retrieved 16 March 2009.
  6. ^ "Edo de Waart: Chef-dirigent vanaf 2012–2013" (Press release). deFilharmonie. April 2010. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  7. ^ Scott Cantrell, "Guest conductor Van Zweden makes quite a showing". Dallas Morning News, 17 February 2006.
  8. ^ "The Dallas Symphony Announces Contract Extension For Music Director Jaap van Zweden" (Press release). Dallas Symphony. October 2009. Archived from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
  9. ^ Scott Cantrell (24 November 2013). "Dallas Symphony, Van Zweden extend contract through 2019". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  10. ^ "The Dallas Symphony Orchestra congratulates Jaap van Zweden on the announcement of his appointment as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic" (Press release). Dallas Symphony Orchestra. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  11. ^ "HKPO Welcomes New Music Director Maestro Jaap van Zweden Takes the Helm from Season 2012/13" (Press release). Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  12. ^ "Hong Kong Philharmonic's New Music Director Jaap van Zweden Leads the Orchestra and Violinist Ning Feng in His Inaugural Concert" (Press release). Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  13. ^ Cooper, Michael (9 June 2016). "Jaap van Zweden Extends His Other Gig, 8,000 Miles from David Geffen Hall". New York Times. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  14. ^ "HK Phil announces extension of Jaap van Zweden's Music Director tenure through 2023/24 season" (Press release). Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. 13 June 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  15. ^ Anthony Tommasini (13 April 2012). "Star Pianist Establishes the Tempo of the Night". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  16. ^ Anthony Tommasini (27 November 2014). "Beethoven, Cyrano and Samplings from Film Scores". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  17. ^ Zachary Woolfe (30 October 2015). "Review: Jaap van Zweden, Precise at the New York Philharmonic". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  18. ^ Michael Cooper (27 January 2016). "New York Philharmonic Taps Jaap van Zweden as Its Next Maestro". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  19. ^ a b Javier C. Hernández (15 September 2021). "Jaap van Zweden to Step Down as New York Philharmonic's Maestro". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  20. ^ Lee Si-jin (4 September 2022). "Dutch conductor named Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra music director". Korea Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  21. ^ Enid Tsui and Jiwon Park (5 September 2022). "Jaap van Zweden should give Seoul orchestra a 'unique sound' as its music director after his New York Phil and Hong Kong Phil roles, critic says". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  22. ^ Laura Korenman (2 April 2007). "Conduct Energy. Conduct Heat". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  23. ^ Scott Cantrell, "Dallas Symphony's new director offers views on Dallas, plans for orchestra". Dallas Morning News, 8 September 2008.

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by Chief Conductor, Residentie Orchestra
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief Conductor, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
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Preceded by Music Director, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
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Preceded by
Daniele Callegari
Chief Conductor, DeFilharmonie
Succeeded by
Preceded by Music Director, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
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Preceded by Music Director, New York Philharmonic
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