Over the past decade, Jaap van Zweden has been an international presence on three continents. Since 2018, he has been music director of the New York Philharmonic and music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic since 2012.
Van Zweden has appeared as guest conductor with many other leading orchestras worldwide, among them the Orchestre de Paris, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles, Vienna and Berlin philharmonics.
He has made numerous acclaimed recordings, the most recent of which are a 2020 release with the New York Philharmonic of the world premiere of David Lang’s Prisoner of the State, and the 2019 release of the world premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Fire in My Mouth, continuing the philharmonic’s partnership with Decca Gold. In 2018 with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, he completed a four-year project conducting the first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which have been recorded and released on Naxos Records as individual recordings as well as a complete set. His highly praised performances of Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger and Parsifal, the latter of which earned van Zweden the prestigious Edison Award for best opera recording in 2012, are available on CD/DVD.
Born in Amsterdam, van Zweden was appointed at age 19 as the youngest-ever concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He began his conducting career nearly 20 years later in 1996. He remains honorary chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, where he served as chief conductor from 2005 to 2013; served as chief conductor of the Royal Flanders Orchestra from 2008 to 11, and was music director from 2008 to 2018 of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, where he currently holds the title of conductor laureate. Van Zweden was named Musical America's 2012 Conductor of the Year and was the subject of an October 2018 CBS "60 Minutes" profile. Recently, he was awarded the prestigious 2020 Concertgebouw Prize, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic under van Zweden’s leadership was named Gramophone’s 2019 Orchestra of the Year.
In 1997, he and his wife, Aaltje, established the Papageno Foundation, to support families of children with autism. More than 20 years later, the foundation has grown into a multi-faceted organization, which, through various initiatives and activities, focuses on the development of children and young adults with autism. The foundation provides in-home music therapy to children through a national network of music therapists in the Netherlands; opened the Papageno House in August 2015 (with Her Majesty Queen Maxima in attendance) for young adults with autism to live, work and participate in the community; created a research center at the Papageno House for early diagnosis and treatment of autism and for analyzing the effects of music therapy on autism; develops funding opportunities to support autism programs, and launched the app, TEAMPapageno, which allows children with autism to communicate with each other through music composition.