Amsterdam-born Jaap van Zweden has risen rapidly in little more than a decade to become one of today’s most sought-after conductors. He has been Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, and in September 2012 he took up the position of Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Appointed at nineteen as the youngest concertmaster ever of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, he began his conducting career in 1995 and held the positions of Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra (1996-2000), Chief Conductor of the Residentie Orchestra of The Hague (2000-2005), and Chief Conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra (2008-2011) and Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Radio Chamber Orchestras from 2005-2011(he remains Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Conductor Emeritus of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra). In November 2011 van Zweden was named as the recipient of Musical America's Conductor of the Year Award 2012 in recognition of his critically acclaimed work as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and as a guest conductor with the most prestigious US orchestras.
Jaap van Zweden has appeared as guest conductor with many leading orchestras across the globe, including the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Munich Philharmonic, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Orchestre National de France, Oslo Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra. Aside from an extensive symphonic repertoire, opera also plays an important part in Maestro van Zweden’s career, and he has conducted La Traviata and Fidelio with the National Reisopera, Madama Butterfly at the Netherlands Opera, and concert performances of Verdi’s Otello, Barber’s Vanessa and Wagner’s Die Meistersinger, Parsifal and Lohengrin at the Concertgebouw with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic.
Recent highlights have included highly acclaimed debuts with the Berlin and New York Philharmonic, the Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, the National Symphony Orchestra Washington and the Boston Symphony, and his BBC Proms debut conducting the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in Bruckner’s Eighth symphony. Highlights of the 2013/14 season and beyond include subscription debuts with the London Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Deutsches Sinfonieorchester Berlin, performances with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and return visits to the Orchestre de Paris and the Rotterdam and London Philharmonic Orchestras. He will curate with the Chicago Symphony a three-week festival entitled "Truth to Power" that will focus on music of Britten, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, tour China with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and return to the Verbier Festival.
Jaap van Zweden has made numerous acclaimed recordings which include Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Petrushka, Britten’s War Requiem, and the complete Beethoven and Brahms symphonies. He has recently completed a cycle of Bruckner symphonies with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, to great critical acclaim. He has recorded Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 with the London Philharmonic (LPO Live), and Mozart Piano Concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra and David Fray (Virgin) and his highly acclaimed performances of Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger and Parsifal are also available on CD/DVD, the latter of which earned Maestro van Zweden the prestigious Edison award for Best Opera Recording in 2012. For the Dallas Symphony’s own record label he has released the symphonies of Tchaikovsky (Nos. 4 and 5) and Beethoven (5 and 7), and the world premiere recording of Steven Stucky’s cantata ‘August 4, 1964’.
In 1997, Jaap van Zweden and his wife Aaltje established the Papageno Foundation, the objective being to support families with one or more children with autism. Over the years, that support has taken shape in a number of projects, such as Music Therapy and Music Makers, where professional music therapists and musicians, who receive additional training from Papageno, use music and make music with autistic children.