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Jaap van Zweden

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Jaap van Zweden began his career as an orchestral violinist, but in quite spectacular fashion: he was appointed concertmaster of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in 1979 when he was a mere 19 years old! He would hold the post until 1995, when he turned mainly to conducting. By the early years of the new century he had become one of the rising young maestros of his generation. He has recorded the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Brahms, and conducted many other standards by Mendelssohn, Mahler, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and others. But van Zweden has also delved into modern fare, like the symphonies of Hendrik Andriessen, Theo Verbey's so-named Fractal Symphony, and orchestral music by contemporary Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin. In addition, van Zweden regularly conducts opera, with works by Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, and others in his growing repertory. Yet, he remains committed to the violin, often performing both as conductor and violin soloist in concert and on recording, as evidenced by his Philips CD of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto No. 1. Beside Philips, van Zweden has recorded for Etcetera, Naïve, Ondine, LPO, and other labels. Jaap van Zweden was born in Amsterdam, Holland, on December 12, 1960. He studied violin from age five at the behest of his pianist father. Van Zweden enrolled at Juilliard at 16, and three years later began his 16-year stint with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. His teachers at Juilliard included the iconic Dorothy DeLay. In 1990, at the suggestion of Leonard Bernstein, van Zweden led the Mahler First Symphony in a rehearsal performance, and Bernstein encouraged him to conduct. Van Zweden quickly cultivated his podium skills and in 1997 was appointed chief conductor of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, holding the post until 2003. In 2000 he took on another assignment, conductor of the Residentie Orchestra of the Hague. With this ensemble he recorded the nine Beethoven symphonies for Philips. Van Zweden left the post in 2005 to become chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. Three years later he took on his most prestigious conducting assignment of all, music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Van Zweden still holds both posts and is also conductor of the Antwerp-based Royal Flemish Philharmonic, a position he ascended to in 2005. Among van Zweden's more acclaimed recordings is his 2009 reading of the Shostakovich Fifth Symphony with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic on Naïve.

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