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Classical Music

Jaap van Zweden Extends Tenure With Dallas Symphony by Three Years

The acclaimed and beloved musical director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden, has signed a three-year contract extension with the orchestra, extending his stay in Dallas through the 2018-2019 season.
By Peter Simek |

The acclaimed and beloved musical director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden, has signed a three-year contract extension, lengthening his stay in Dallas through the 2018-2019 season. Van Zweden has received considerable attention while helming the symphony, including being named “conductor of the year” in 2012 by Musical America magazine and receiving offers to lead other orchestras, including the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Last year he stepped down from his position at the Royal Flemish Philharmonic to focus on his current commitments, including the DSO.

The van Zweden tenure in Dallas has been marked by a robust orchestral sound fitted to the musical director’s favorite composers, such as Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler, as well as the world premieres of two pieces of music, Steven Stucky’s August 4, 1964, which van Zweden and the DSO would take to Carnegie Hall, and Conrad Tao piece composed for the 50th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy. Last spring the orchestra also completed its first European tour, which was well-reviewed, particularly in the maestro’s home country of the Netherlands, where he is a popular figure.

At home, critics have routinely praised van Zweden’s sound and sensibility, while he and his daughter, Anna-Sophia, have become fixtures in local social circles. His tenure, however, has also been characterized by unadventurous programming at the DSO, though the reliance on the standard repertoire to ensure ticket sales can, in part, be blamed on the difficult economic environment for orchestral groups. Van Zweden has helped the DSO’s community image — with his iconic bald-headed, stern brow-bridged profile and expressive style on the podium — giving the orchestra the kind of international star that seems necessary these days for a successful musical organization. With the contract extension, the DSO will be able to enjoy the glow of their flying Dutchman for a little while longer.



Three-Year Extension through 2018/19 Season Continues Artistic Growth and Musical Continuity

DALLAS, TX (November 24, 2013) – The Dallas Symphony Association announced today that the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and Music Director Jaap van Zweden have agreed to extend his contract through the 2018-2019 season. Maestro van Zweden began his tenure as Music Director in 2008 under an original four-year contract. That agreement was extended in 2009 for an additional four years. Today’s new three year extension will mark eleven years of artistic leadership for van Zweden.

“I am so very happy to extend my relationship with this beloved orchestra, the Dallas Symphony,” said Maestro van Zweden. “I respect so much what they do, what they give week after week to make such wonderful music together. This is a partnership I am proud of, that I believe in and that I am committed to building into the future.”

“This contract extension assures a continuation of the special music-making achieved by Jaap van Zweden and our talented musicians,” said Dallas Symphony President and CEO Jonathan Martin. “Jaap is truly one of the most-gifted conductors of our time and is in demand as a guest conductor throughout the world. His commitment to our orchestra, our patrons and our city speaks to the huge potential of the musical partnership he creates. There are near-limitless possibilities inherent in the powerful music-making the Dallas Symphony has achieved under his baton.”

Highlights of van Zweden’s music directorship at the Dallas Symphony include:

  • A critically-acclaimed, seven-city European tour in March, 2013, the orchestra’s first international tour in 10 years
  • The world premiere of August 4, 1964 by Steven Stucky, a program the DSO performed at Carnegie Hall in 2011 as part of the inaugural Spring for Music Festival
  • The launching of a new concert series, DSO on the GO, which takes the DSO to performances in cities and neighborhoods across North Texas
  • Five recordings released on the DSO’s recording label DSO Live, including the world-premiere recording of August 4, 1964, for which the composer was nominated for a Grammy Award
  • The inauguration of a new, innovative classical concert series with the DSO at Dallas City Performance Hall
  • Continuation of the annual summer residency at Colorado’s Bravo! Vail music festival
  • The commission and premiere of a work by composer Conrad Tao for the 50th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy

“This new contract extends the powerful partnership between the Music Director, the musicians and the Administration that fuels the vision and evolution of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra,” said Chairman of the Executive Board, Joseph F. Hubach. “Maestro van Zweden’s commitment to the DSO, and the DSO’s to him, strengthen our plans to build a long-term, artistically and financially resilient ensemble.”

“The Orchestra is energized by Maestro van Zweden’s vision and artistry,” said Christopher Adkins, Principal Cello and Chairman of the Orchestra Committee. “We are proud of the partnership and relationship we’ve developed. He demands a level of playing from us that we’re happy to deliver, and his passion and energy create electric performances for our audiences that are simply contagious.”