Today's Classical Music Video

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jaap Van Zweden To Be Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic

Jaap Van Zweden speaks on the occasion of his appointment as the next music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Van Zweden was for many years the concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and came late to conducting. But in just a few years he has established himself as one of the most sought-after maestros on the planet. Just a few months ago he stepped down as chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic but he is still in his post as music director of the Dallas Symphony. Even so, it is a long commute between Dallas and Hong Kong and one wonders why he would have taken a job with another second tier orchestra. The Hong Kong Philharmonic is a good band but it is not the Cleveland Orchestra or the Berlin Philharmonic. But the fact is that the Dallas Symphony is in a holding pattern at the moment, trying to manage its finances. It recently announced it was cutting five weeks out of its schedule for next season. Van Zweden must be all too aware that there will not be much room for personal growth in the forseeable future in Dallas. And as far as major orchestras are concerned there are lots of candidates but not many openings. The Boston Symphony is looking for a new leader but there are not many other openings on this level. No doubt Van Zweden is being considered in Boston but it remains just a remote possibility. The attraction in Hong Kong is that China is moving fast to build up its cultural infrastructure and money is not a problem. During Van Zweden's tenure in Hong Kong a new concert hall is likely to be built and international tours and recordings are very likely. And by committing to just 12 weeks a year in Hong Kong Van Zweden keeps his options open. Paul E. Robinson

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