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Eight Years of Jaap Van Zweden

by Anne Bothwell 23 Oct 2009 11:14 AM

DSO Music Director Jaap Van Zweden’s contract has been extended.  He’ll  stick around town at least through the 2015-2016 concert season.  Read on for happy quotes from Van Zweden, the orchestra’s board, and even Mayor Tom Leppert. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THE DALLAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ANNOUNCES CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR MUSIC DIRECTOR JAAP VAN ZWEDEN Extension Ensures […]


DSO Music Director Jaap Van Zweden’s contract has been extended.  He’ll  stick around town at least through the 2015-2016 concert season.  Read on for happy quotes from Van Zweden, the orchestra’s board, and even Mayor Tom Leppert.



Extension Ensures Eight Years of Artistic Growth for the DSO

DALLAS – The Dallas Symphony Association announced today that the orchestra and Music Director Jaap van Zweden have agreed to extend his current four-year contract through the 2015-2016 season.  This contract, which began with the 2008-2009 season, will mark eight years at its conclusion.  Van Zweden will conduct 15 weeks each season through May, 2012 and 16 weeks in subsequent seasons.

Highlights of van Zweden’s music directorship at the DSO include: the world premiere of August 4, 1964 by Steven Stucky, a program that the DSO will perform at Carnegie Hall in 2011 as part of the Spring for Music Festival; performances at Colorado’s Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, where the orchestra performed alongside the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic; performances at Napa Valley’s Festival del Sole; and two critically acclaimed CD releases on the DSO recording label DSOLive!, including the wildly successful September 2009 release of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and Capriccio italien.

Virtually unknown in the U.S. prior to his 2006 debut as guest conductor with the DSO, van Zweden makes his conducting debut during the 2009-2010 season with acclaimed American orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, and will return to conduct the Chicago Symphony during the 2010-2011 season.  Van Zweden led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in October of 2008 to rave reviews, where his performance was hailed as “one of the most impressive podium debuts” by The Chicago Tribune Classical Music Critic John von Rhein.  In March of 2009, when van Zweden led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra again, von Rhein commented, “Once again he scored a major success, lifting the performances well beyond the ordinary, infusing the entire orchestra with his intensity, spontaneity and penetrating musical vision.”

Also beloved in Dallas, The Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell wrote after van Zweden’s first season, “In an age when so many conductors seem mere metronomes, van Zweden brings passion as well as intellect to performances.”  And after last month’s 2009-2010 Texas Instruments Classical Series opener, Cantrell wrote, “Not from the Berlin Philharmonic, not from the Chicago Symphony will you hear a more electrifying Tchaikovsky Fourth Symphony than that delivered Thursday night by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.”

“Now that I am in my second season with the DSO, I can say that our love affair is stronger than ever,” said Music Director Jaap van Zweden.  “Our musicians are thriving.  Discipline makes them happy, and they were ready for the hard work.  I love working with the DSO and I look forwarding to leading our orchestra at Carnegie Hall next season, as we serve as Dallas’s ambassadors all over the world.”

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert said, “This is great news for Dallas!  Clearly this is important for our community and the entire region.  Congratulations to Jaap for his foresight and I want to applaud everyone involved for taking this step to ensure the Dallas Symphony is a world class institution long into the future.”

Chairman of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Board Ron Gafford stated, “On behalf of the board, I am delighted that Jaap van Zweden will be leading our orchestra until the 2015 – 2016 season.  He has not only invigorated the orchestra but the entire community of Dallas is rallying around the Jaap.  It is a wonderful time for the DSO and the entire arts community in Dallas.  This decision will ensure our continued growth and success.”

Douglas Adams, DSO president, remarked, “On behalf of the orchestra and the administration, we are all thrilled about this truly wonderful news.  Jaap van Zweden has reinvigorated this entire organization.  Now that he has committed to the DSO for the long term, our potential for artistic success is limitless.”

DSO Concertmaster Emanuel Borok said, “The Dallas Symphony Orchestra musicians and I are elated Jaap van Zweden has extended his contract.  I have heard a quality of sound from the strings that I had never heard before,” he stated. “We have a long history of working with the finest conductors in the world, but Jaap brings out such commitment and precision from our orchestra, and it just keeps getting better.  I am honored to call Jaap our music director.”

About Jaap van Zweden

In January 2007, after a single guest appearance leading the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden was appointed its sixteenth music director, and began this position at the start of the 2008-2009 season. In addition to his appointment in Dallas, van Zweden retains his current positions as music director of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Kamer Filharmonie (2005-2013), and principal conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra of Belgium (2008-2011).

Van Zweden’s chemistry with the DSO was immediate, quickly winning over the musicians, search committee and the audiences.  Critics were also hugely impressed, with Dallas Morning News critic Scott Cantrell commenting about his 2006 debut, “Sell the farm, mortgage the children, cancel the cruise.  Do what you have to do to get to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s concerts this weekend.”

Born in Amsterdam in December of 1960, Jaap van Zweden began his musical career studying the violin.  Van Zweden entered The Juilliard School at age 16 as a student of Dorothy DeLay and, at age 19, was invited to join the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra as concertmaster.  Van Zweden, who spent the next sixteen years as concertmaster at the Concertgebouw, began conducting part-time in 1994, and performed his last concert as a violinist in 1997.

In 1996, he was named chief conductor of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, a position he held until 2003.  From 2000-2005, he also held the position of music director at the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague.  Van Zweden has been a frequent guest conductor of many important orchestras in Europe, Asia and Australia, including the Royal Concertgebouw and Orchestre National de France; Munich, Rotterdam, Oslo, St. Petersburg, Tokyo and Hong Kong Philharmonics; England’s London Philharmonic, Academy of St.-Martin-in-the-Fields and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; the West German Radio Symphony Orchestra of Cologne and the Danish Radio Orchestra, among others. With the Residentie Orchestra he has recorded all nine Beethoven symphonies for the Philips label, and is in the process of recording for Octavia all of the Bruckner symphonies with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, of which numbers 4, 5, 7 and 9 have been completed.  The Dallas Symphony has released two CD’s of his live performances including recordings of Beethoven Fifth and Seventh Symphonies and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and Capriccio italien.

About the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has a rich, 109-year history of artistic excellence.  As the largest performing arts organization in the Southwest, the DSO is committed to the pursuit of uncompromising musical distinction and strives to build a community of passionate music lovers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  The DSO has grown from a 40-person ensemble to a world-class orchestra since its inception in 1900, and continues to be the cornerstone of the burgeoning Arts District in downtown Dallas; a district now noted as the largest in the nation.

After an exhaustive search, the DSO named Jaap van Zweden as music director beginning in the 2008-2009 season.  Eminent music directors such as Antal Dorati, Paul Kletzki, Georg Solti, Eduardo Mata and Andrew Litton laid the groundwork for important elements of today’s DSO, including extensive touring and recording, special community and education concerts and the building of the world-renowned Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.