Jaap van Zweden

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Jaap van Zweden
Jaap van Zweden 1981.jpg
Background information
Born December 12, 1960
Amsterdam, North Holland
Genres Classical Music
Occupation(s) Conductor,
Instruments Violin
Years active 1976—
Associated acts Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Website www.jaapvanzweden.com

Jaap van Zweden, Amsterdam 1981

Jaap van Zweden (Dutch: [ja:p fan zwe:dən]; English: [jap van zwɛɪdən]) (born December 12, 1960 in Amsterdam, North Holland) is a Dutch conductor and violinist.


Van Zweden's father, a pianist, encouraged him to begin violin studies at age five, and he studied music in Amsterdam. At age 15, he won a 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 the concertmaster of the Concertgebouw Orchestra—the youngest violinist ever to assume that position, which he held until 1995.

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 2000-2005, with whom he recorded the complete symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven. 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 title of honorair gastdirigent (honorary guest conductor, or principal guest conductor).[4] van Zweden served as chief conductor of deFilharmonie (Royal Flemish Philharmonic) in Antwerp from 2008 to 2011.[5][6]

Outside of Europe Van Zweden made his U.S. conducting debut with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra 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 2008–2009 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 3 years. For the 2007–2008 season he held the title of Music Director Designate and conducted 3 subscription concerts. 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 2012, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra announced the appointment of Van Zweden as its next Music Director, with an initial contract of four years, starting 1 August 2012.[10] He made his debut as the Music Director of the orchestra on 28 September 2012.[11]

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 they set up the Papageno Foundation to provide autistic children with music therapy.[12][13]


  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 2007-08-29. 
  4. ^ "Markus Stenz chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra" (Press release). Radio Filharmonisch Orkest. 17 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  5. ^ "Jaap van Zweden chef-dirigent in Vlaanderen". Trouw. 2006-06-30. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  6. ^ "Edo de Waart: Chef-dirigent vanaf 2012-2013" (Press release). deFilharmonie. April 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  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. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  9. ^ Scott Cantrell (2013-11-24). "Dallas Symphony, van Zweden extend contract through 2019". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  10. ^ "HKPO Welcomes New Music Director Maestro Jaap van Zweden Takes the Helm from Season 2012/13" (Press release). HKPO. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  11. ^ "Hong Kong Philharmonic’s New Music Director Jaap van Zweden Leads the Orchestra and Violinist Ning Feng in His Inaugural Concert" (Press release). HK Phil. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  12. ^ Laura Korenman (2 April 2007). "Conduct Energy. Conduct Heat.". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  13. ^ 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
Evgeny Svetlanov
Chief Conductor, Residentie Orchestra
Succeeded by
Neeme Järvi
Preceded by
Edo de Waart
Chief Conductor, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Succeeded by
Markus Stenz
Preceded by
Andrew Litton
Music Director, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Daniele Callegari
Chief Conductor, DeFilharmonie
Succeeded by
Edo de Waart
Preceded by
Edo de Waart
Music Director, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Succeeded by