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Portretfoto AVRO 1 januari 1971 (bron: fotocollectie Beeld en Geluid)


12-12-1960 - current


classical, contemporary classical music, dirigent, viool


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Jaap Van Zweden

Jaap van Zweden began his career as a violinist. He was the youngest concertmaster ever at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Additionally, he developed a career as a violin soloist. Since the early 1990s, he has increasingly performed as a conductor, and today he rarely appears as a violinist and is ...
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dirigent, viool

Mentioned in the biography of

1968   Promenade Orkest
1979   Zino Vinnikov
1994   Leo Samama
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Biography Jaap Van Zweden

Jaap van Zweden began his career as a violinist. He was the youngest concertmaster ever at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Additionally, he developed a career as a violin soloist. Since the early 1990s, he has increasingly performed as a conductor, and today he rarely appears as a violinist and is recognized as one of the leading conductors of his generation. While working regularly with and helping establish the reputation of various Dutch orchestras over the years, he has gradually been transferring his work terrain to the United States, where he is the principal conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Van Zweden commands respect for his interpretations of the standard orchestral repertoire and he shows in addition great interest in new music.

1969 - 1976

Jaap van zweden is born in Amsterdam on December 12, 1960. His father, an accomplished pianist, soon recognizes his musicality. Van Zweden begins studying the violin and after hearing Max Bruch's 'Violin Concerto' realizes that he wants to become a violinist. He begins studying with Louise Wijngarden, and later Davina van Wely, at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. Showing exceptional talent, he makes rapid progress.


Van Zweden wins the Oskar Back National Violin Competition. He goes to New York to study further with Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School. Like Van Wely, DeLay sees a great future for Van Zweden as a soloist. But he later says that despite that talent, his interests lay elsewhere. “I found it thrilling to be part of a larger group. You can't get that same orchestral feeling playing as a soloist”.


Against the will of his American teacher, Van Zweden accepts an offer to become concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. At age 19, he is the youngest one in the orchestra's history. He holds that position for 16 years, but also perform as a soloist.

Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest

1983 - 1984

Van Zweden receives an Edison award for his recording with the pianist Ronald Brautigam of Johannes Brahms' violin sonatas. In 1984 Van Zweden performs a recital at the White House in Washington, which is attended by the vice president, and later president of the United States, George H.W. Bush.

Ronald Brautigam (2)


On the invitation of Queen Beatrix, he performs with the Venezuelan National Orchestra during a state visit to the South American nation. The programme includes Niccolò Paganini's 'First Violin Concerto'. After the concert, the Venezuelan president presents him the Bolivar award, the nation's highest distinction.


Jahreszeiten, TROS, 6 augustus 1990 (bron: fotocollectie Beeld en Geluid) During a Concertgebouw Orchestra visit to Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, who is guest conducting, asks Van Zweden to conduct the beginning of Gustav Mahler's 'First Symphony' so that he can hear how it sounds in the hall. This is the first time Van Zweden picks up a conductor's baton. After, he is unimpressed with how he led the orchestra, but Bernstein thinks differently. “Keep going with this,” Bernstein tells the violinist. “Take it seriously, and we'll see where it brings you.” Van Zweden heeds Bernstein's advice, takes conducting lessons and takes every opportunity to conducts.


Van Zweden signs a contract with Dino Music to record one violin concerto per year. Meanwhile, he continues to conduct – this season leading the Brabant Orchestra.

Het Brabants Orkest


His recording of various concertos by Pietro Locatelli from 'L'Arte del Violino', with the Combattimento Consort conducted by Jan Willem de Vriend, sells more than 50,000 CDs.

Combattimento Consort Amsterdam Jan Willem de Vriend


Van Zweden resigns from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to devote himself to conducting. In March and April he conducts the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg during its tour of the Netherlands. In June he performs in the Netherlands and Germany with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra.

Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest


He records Wolfgang Rihm's violin concerto 'Gesungene Zeit'. It is his last recording as a violinist. He is nominated for an Edison award. He makes his United States conducting debut as a guest conductor with the St. Louis Symphony.

1996 - 2000

Van Zweden is appointed chief conductor of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra and tours the United States with the orchestra. In 1997 he is appointed guest conductor of the Brabant Orchestra.

Het Brabants Orkest Nederlands Symfonie Orkest


He resigns from the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra and becomes chief conductor of The Hague Philharmonic Orchestra. With his wife, Aaltje van Buuren, he founds the Papageno Foundation, whose purpose is to help parents, caregivers and counselors of autistic children find the therapeutic resources to optimally prepare the child to live and function as independently as possible. Music is one of the most important ingredients in this.

Nederlands Symfonie Orkest

2002 - 2003

Van Zweden debuts as an opera conductor in a Nationale Reisopera production of Ludwig van Beethoven's 'Fidelio'. He records Beethoven's complete symphonies with The Hague Philharmonic Orchestra.

Residentie Orkest

2004 - 2005

Jaap van Zweden resigns from The Hague Philharmonic Orchestra and follows Edo de Waart as artistic director of The Netherlands Radio Phiharmonic Orchestra and The Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic.

Edo de Waart Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Radio Kamer Filharmonie Residentie Orkest


For the second time since 1996, Van Zweden conducts an American orchestra, this time the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. They work so well together that he is asked if he would be interested in becoming its chief conductor.


Van Zweden conducts Giacomo Puccini's 'Madama Butterfly' with De Nederlandse Opera, making his debut with the Dutch opera house.


Van Zweden becomes chief conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and is named music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, succeeding Andrew Litton. He signs a five-year contract with the Flemish orchestra and – initially -- a four-year contract in Dallas. In February he conducts his first Wagnerian opera, 'Lohengrin', in a concertante performance with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and in Salle Pleyel in Paris.

Het Concertgebouw Radio Filharmonisch Orkest


Van Zweden debuts as a guest conductor with various American orchestras, among which the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra. In August, he is a guest on the VPRO programme Zomergasten, where for three hours he shows viewers his favourite photos and film clips, much of it with music.


Van Zweden announces his resignation as chief conductor of the Netherlands radio orchestras effective August 1, 2012. He also resigns from the chief conductor post at the Royal Flemish Philharmonic. His increasing engagements with leading European and American orchestras and his obligations as music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (his contract has been extended through the 2015-2016 season) make it impossible for him to continue in the Dutch and Belgian chief conductor posts. The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic offers him the position of honorary guest conductor. He makes his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic as guest conductor and is immediately asked to return in the 2010-2011 season. On November 28, he is presented the Radio 4 Prize during a festive concert at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ in Amsterdam.

Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ Radio Filharmonisch Orkest


Jaap van Zweden makes his debut at the BBC Proms in London with the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest. In December he receives the Conductor of the Year 2012 Award from Musical America in New York.

Radio Filharmonisch Orkest

Discography Jaap Van Zweden

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

Photos Jaap Van Zweden

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