New York’s Van man extends his other job

New York’s Van man extends his other job


norman lebrecht

June 09, 2016

Jaap Van Zweden, incoming music director of the New York Philharmonic, signed on today for an extra three years at the Hong Kong Phil, his parallel job.

With Yannick coming into the Met and Gianandrea Noseda starting in Washington, second-hand Jaap looks even less of a bargain for the NY Phil.

yu long van zweeden

press release:

[9 June 2016, Hong Kong] YS Liu, Chairman of the Board of Governors for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil), today announces that Jaap van Zweden has extended his contract with the HK Phil for three more years. The new contract will last through to the end of the 2021/22 season.

“We are thrilled that Maestro van Zweden has chosen to extend his contract with the HK Phil following his appointment as the next Music Director of the New York Philharmonic,” said YS Liu. “It is reassuring that the Maestro’s directorship of the HK Phil will remain unchanged for the next six musical seasons”.

Jaap van Zweden said, “I always think that every player of the HK Phil is a gem, and together each of these highly talented musicians makes a wonderful orchestra. I am very happy to extend my tenure as their Music Director and it is always an honour to work with them. We have many more exciting projects yet to come”.

Michael MacLeod, Chief Executive of the HK Phil said, “The HK Phil is honoured to share the same conductor with the New York Philharmonic. Jaap van Zweden will be leading two great orchestras in two great cities. In the coming season Jaap will continue to lead the HK Phil on an exciting journey of music making. This is something that the whole orchestra is looking forward to”.



  • Emil Archambault says:

    Oh dear, there are now two MDs in New York at the same time, with two different institutions!

  • DB says:

    It’s not against the law to say something nice about this man, you know.

  • Hanna Nahan says:

    Well it’s a nice easy commute from Hong Kong to New York isn’t it…?

  • John Borstlap says:

    No reason for sneering. The HK Phil is a great orchestra and Van Zweden has invested much effort to develop it into something like the Berlin Phil of Asia, so of course one does not drop such enterprise quickly because ‘something better’ comes along. And the NY Phil is very lucky to have him, especially since in NY the general orchestral problem may be more prominent than at other places….. with JvZw, they have just the right combination of two potentially contrary forces, the need to keep the core repertoire alive and the need to enrich it with new creation:

    • Pova says:

      Hardly unbiased opinion coming from the composer whom Mr Van Zweden has recently helped getting a co-commission from both the Dallas and the Hong Kong orchestras. (The HK orchestra hardly commissions any local composers, let alone a non-local.)

      • John Borstlap says:

        It is not an opinion, let alone biassed, but an observation. There is a great difference between the two.

  • Nick says:

    Van Zweden has built on de Waart’s legacy and developed the Hong Kong Phil into a superb ensemble. One of the more curious similarities between Hong Kong and New York is that both have pretty mediocre concert halls. New York will soon start work in yet another attempt to sort out those in David Geffen Hall. Since its opening, Hong Kong’s Cultural Centre Concert Hall has been the odd man out amongst the plethora of new concert halls around Asia – an acoustic disaster, unless you sit in a small number of cramped seats in the upper level. Whoever decided on a shape that is essentially an oval with a kink should have been fired before the start of planning!

    I hear there has been talk that a new concert hall will be included in the West Kowloon Cultural District. But does anyone really believe that is actually going to happen in anything like its planned form? Announced in 1998, this huge complex of arts facilities was supposed to open its first venue in 2007. Three CEO’s departed in as many years, one distinguished British arts administrator literally walking off the job, and the site remains totally empty! I only hope JVZ did not make his decision based on taking the Hong Kong orchestra into a new hall!