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Jaap Van Zweden on JFK And The DSO’s Memorial Concert

by Jerome Weeks 7 Nov 2013 3:26 PM

The DSO’s YouTube Channel is now The Maestro’s Choice — with the orchestra’s smart and silky videos featuring Jaap van Zweden as host and educator. It’s November, so you know what the latest one’s about.


Ever since the current season opened in September, the DSO has been introducing beautifully polished videos featuring music director Jaap van Zweden. The orchestra’s YouTube Channel is called The Maestro’s Choice, and for the latest, they’ve just put up van Zweden (above) discussing his feelings about Dallas, the JFK assassination and “The World is Very Different Now,” the world premiere from composer Conrad Tao that the DSO commissioned for the 50th anniversary.

Courtesy of Van Ingen Media Productions, the videos have a similar format, similar shots: Van Zweden’s hand holding a pen or pencil swaying to the beat as he pores over a score, intense close-ups of him brooding about stuff, shots of the DSO rehearsing, etc. (Favorite new ‘backstage’ peek in the latest video: what appears to be the balcony of van Zweden’s own Ritz Carlton suite.)

But these are very smartly done jobs. A) They convey the conductor’s personal force and character (in close-ups, he looks like he could happily ram his forehead through the camera). B) They allow him to impart some personal insight or technical detail about a piece (this is especially so with the Brahms Violin Concerto — which he used to play as a violinist) and C) they let him introduce and give some background on the composer or the guest soloist.

True, these last bits are pretty predictable: He loves the music, admires the performer, thus reminding us, in case anyone forgot, this is an ad for the upcoming concert. But in this short format, it’s not easy to juggle all of this in an accessible manner and in a way that seems consistent with van Zweden’s own brains and vehement personality while also managing to impart some morsel of understanding about the music — without either going over the heads of some music lovers or insulting the intelligence of others.

So this is a sign of how well done the videos are: They make me wish they were longer, that van Zweden (and the video producers/directors) would tackle something longer or deeper.

Here’s the full release:

The Maestro’s Choice

New Videos Star Music Director Jaap van Zweden,

Personally Introduce Dallas Symphony Orchestra Concerts

Latest installment features the John F. Kennedy Memorial Concert

Dallas, TX (November 7, 2013) – Music Director Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) present The Maestro’s Choice, a series of short videos introducing upcoming performances by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Unveiled in September 2013 and continuing through the 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series season, The Maestro’s Choice features Maestro van Zweden discussing the composers and musical highlights of pieces he has selected for performance by the Dallas Symphony. Thoughtful analysis and personal recollections by Maestro van Zweden combine with artful videography and high-quality sound to bring music-lovers unique insights and thoughtful perspectives not available anywhere else.

“With these videos I invite listeners literally into my home, where we will have a little chat about the music that I love,” said Maestro van Zweden. “I hope people can understand why these pieces are important to me, and then maybe they will be inspired to come to our concert.”

The latest video features the JFK Memorial Concert and includes Maestro van Zweden discussing “his” Dallas and how he remembers the historic event:

Each lasting 2 to 5 minutes, The Maestro’s Choice can be viewed by accessing or by visiting the Dallas Symphony’s YouTube channel at The Maestro’s Choice are also on view in the lobby of the Meyerson Symphony Center before select concerts and are widely shared by the DSO to patron via e-mails, concert reminders and other DSO communications.

Pieces featured by Maestro van Zweden in The Maestro’s Choice videos will include Summer Nights by Berlioz, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, the Violin Concerto by Brahms, Dvorak’s New World Symphony, songs by Mahler from the collection Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Verdi’s Requiem, and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloé and Bolero. More videos will be produced as the 2013-2014 Texas Instruments Classical Series continues.

“The Maestro’s Choice is an important new way the Dallas Symphony is reaching an expanding audience base,” said Dallas Symphony President and CEO Jonathan Martin. “The conversational format helps to diffuse some of the formality many perceive about orchestra music, and we hope will act as personal invitations for listeners to hear Maestro van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony in concert at the Meyerson.”

The Maestro’s Choice is created by Maestro van Zweden with Dutch television producer Peter van Ingen and filmed and produced by Van Ingen Media Productions.

Dallas Symphony media contacts: