Once an unsuspecting stand-in, van Zweden now on the rise

Posted on: March 2, 2010

In Saturday’s (2/27) Financial Times, Andrew Clark writes, “The symphony is Mahler’s First, the conductor the legendary Leonard Bernstein, the orchestra the Royal Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, the year 1990. Mid-rehearsal, Bernstein announces that he wants to hear how the orchestra sounds from the back of the hall. He turns to the concertmaster (principal violin) and asks him to conduct the next section. … The reluctant stand-in was Jaap van Zweden, then the youngest-ever concertmaster of the Concertgebouw and now one of the most dynamic conductors on the international scene. ‘You could not easily say no to Lenny,’ Van Zweden says, recalling that seminal experience. ‘Afterwards he told me I had been pretty bad, but that he had seen something there on stage that he liked and I should take it seriously. I honestly hadn’t given it a thought.’ … Today Van Zweden, at 49, is music director of three orchestras—the Dallas Symphony, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, the last of which he takes on tour next month to the UK, Germany and Austria. … Next to phenomenal energy and an appetite for work, Van Zweden has commanded attention for his Germanic sound palette and sense of architecture.”

Posted March 2, 2010