Emanuel Borok, concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony from 1985 to 2010, has posted this assessment of his former music director, announced today as next chief of the New York Phil:
Jaap belongs to few conductors that I have met during my 40 years as an orchestra musician, 39 of which as Concertmaster I met only a handful who had ” their sound” Jaap had it.This talent became obvious during our first rehearsal with him. The very first note revealed that immediately. It was focused, hot and very muscular!!
The transformational effect of his conducting remained through the program and in many subsequent concerts.
The orchestra recognized it and chose him to be their Music Director. and now almost a decade later the New York Philharmonic made the same choice. Good for them and good for the NY audience. I think he may be one of the most effective conductors they have ever had.
And Caleb Young, cover conductor at St Louis Symphony, writes:
The rumors I have been hearing have been confirmed this morning, Jaap has risen to the top and will be going to the Big Apple. Being a young conductor I have followed the Maestro’s career and have always been fascinated by his work.
When my significant other won a position with DSO last year I was fortunate enough to see the Maestro work on a very regular basis. I have to admit; I’ve been damned impressed. From his Brahms to Bruckner, the level of artistry in Dallas is of the highest level. For the record, his Bruckner 4 was the finest I’ve ever heard. She reports of determined and focused rehearsals, but this intensity is born from the music and his high standards. I have also spent some personal time with the Maestro at DSO “functions” and I’ve only found him warm and receptive. (And short for the record…) His mingles well, sharply dressed, usually in a blue suit.
I have covered and worked with some of the finest conductors around, and I promise, Jaap can hold his own. Recently with unnamed major US orchestra, I’ve had many conversations with players and admin who admire Jaap’s work and consider him the highest of talents. He might not have the breadth of repertoire when it comes to new music, such as Alsop or Gilbert, but he is interested and capable.
I for one am excited to see where Maestro van Zweden will steer this ship in New York. There were many options, but I feel this is a positive change of guard. All may not like his methods, but I know he is deeply respected for what he brings to the table musically… The big D has big shoes to fill.