New York Philharmonic Chairman Oscar S. Schafer and President Matthew VanBesien have announced that Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden will become the orchestra’s next music director, beginning in 2018-19, the orchestra’s 177th season.
As the New York Philharmonic’s 26th Music Director, Mr. van Zweden, who has been music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008 and music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra since 2012, will succeed Alan Gilbert, whose tenure began in 2009 and culminates in the 2016–17 season. Mr. van Zweden will become music director designate in the 2017-18 season, when he will conduct several weeks of concerts.
In the 2018-19 season, he begins his tenure as music director, conducting the New York Philharmonic for 12 weeks each year, leading the orchestra on national and international tours and residencies, and guiding the Philharmonic through the planned renovation of David Geffen Hall.
Acclaimed for superb performances and orchestra-building in Dallas and around the world, Amsterdam-born Jaap van Zweden was appointed at age 19 as the youngest-ever concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and began his conducting career 20 years later in 1995.
It was upon the encouragement of Philharmonic Laureate Conductor Leonard Bernstein, during a rehearsal of Mahler’s First Symphony there, that he first took up the baton. His appointment as music director of the New York Philharmonic will be a homecoming for Mr. van Zweden, who was trained as a violinist at The Juilliard School.
Mr. van Zweden made his New York Philharmonic debut on April 12, 2012, and has returned regularly, most recently in October 2015. During the 2016-17 season, he will lead the New York Philharmonic in a program featuring the New York Premiere of a viola concerto by Julia Adolphe written for principal viola Cynthia Phelps.
“On behalf of the search committee and the entire New York Philharmonic family, I am thrilled to name Jaap van Zweden as the New York Philharmonic’s next Music Director,” said Philharmonic Chairman Oscar S. Schafer. “I’d like to sincerely thank the committee and its chair, J. Christopher Flowers, which was unanimous in its choice of Mr. van Zweden, who demonstrates the highest level of music making, befitting this excellent orchestra, as well as an infectious enthusiasm and dedication toward taking this great institution into the next era.”
“Having experienced his passionate and dynamic artistry with the New York Philharmonic over four appearances in the last four years, I believe Jaap van Zweden is not only a logical choice for the Philharmonic’s next music director, but an incredibly inspired and exciting one,” said Philharmonic President Matthew VanBesien. “As both a strong musician and leader, Jaap brings energy and electricity that mirror our hometown, the great city of New York, and his deep commitment to the music itself promises many thrilling performances for our audiences. Moreover, Jaap will be an engaged, visionary, and dedicated partner in building the future of this orchestra, including the planned renovation of David Geffen Hall, activities during the renovation, and the eventual return to our concert home.”
“This is one of the happiest and most fulfilling days of my life,” said Jaap van Zweden. “To be asked by the great musicians of the New York Philharmonic and by the board of this iconic institution to be its music director is truly an honor. As musicians, we strive to achieve the best for our audiences in sharing the music of so many gifted composers of the past and present as we look to the future. My heart is full, and my family and I look forward to being true New Yorkers, as I was during my Juilliard days.”
“I am very excited that Jaap van Zweden will be the Philharmonic’s next Music Director, as is the rest of the Orchestra,” said Fiona Simon, chairperson of the Orchestra Committee. “He is an outstanding musician who brings a special type of energy to the podium that will be inspiring to both musicians and audiences. In Jaap we have a strong musical partner whose commitment to the orchestra will ensure performances of the highest artistic level.”