The appointment of Mr. van Zweden, who is currently director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, ends nearly a year of speculation as to who would succeed Alan Gilbert when he steps down from the position next year. Van Zweden will not only be tasked with music-making, but will also be the orchestra’s public face and leading artistic voice as it works to raise enough money to renovate David Geffen Hall and bolster its endowment. Van Zweden will be responsible with making sure the orchestra retains its audience when construction on the renovations start in 2019 and the orchestra loses its home for at least two seasons.
President of the Philharmonic, Matthew VanBesien, said in a press release: “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 also an incredibly inspired and exciting one.”
In the same press statement, Van Zweden himself said that “this is one of the happiest and most fulfilling days of my life…it is truly an honor.”
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 in Amsterdam. Twenty years later, in 1995, he began his conducting career. Van Zweden remains Honorary Chief Conductor and Conductor Emeritus of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2012, Van Zweden received the Musical America’s Conductor of the Year Award in recognition of his critically acclaimed work with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, as well as for his appearances as guest conductor with other US orchestras. Van Zweden’s guest appearances at the New York Philharmonic have been praised by New York Times critics as “dynamic, all-out performances.”