Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New York taps Jaap van Zweden

Jaap van Zweden, the 55-year-old Dutch conductor currently leading the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic, has been named the next music director of the New York Philharmonic, succeeding Alan Gilbert.

Appointed concertmaster of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the age of 19, turning to conducting in his mid-30s, Zweden will serve as music director-designate of the New York Philharmonic in the 2017-18 season, taking over the position full-time in 2018-19 after being released from his Dallas Symphony contract. His initial contract in New York runs through 2023.

He will lead the philharmonic through several years of itinerant concertizing while its home venue, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, is closed for renovations.

Credited with energizing and improving the performing standards of the Dallas Symphony, Zweden also was criticized for what The Dallas Morning News characterized as an “abrasive” relationship with the orchestra’s musicians, The New York Times’ Michael Cooper reports:

The Times’ Anthony Tommasini, one of the most vocal advocates of recruiting the Finnish composer-conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen as the New York Philharmonic’s music director, rates Zweden as “too predictable a choice — a solid, disciplined, middle-aged European maestro — to follow Mr. Gilbert, a youthful native New Yorker who has brought the orchestra vision and innovation.”