Jaap goes Dutch on the New York Philharmonic

Jaap goes Dutch on the New York Philharmonic


norman lebrecht

February 14, 2018

When Jaap Van Zweden was controversially chosen as music director of the New York Philharmonic, he promised to put Dutch composers on the orchestra’s agenda.

Last night, announcing his first full season, he proved as good as his word.

The season’s centrepiece commission will be Agamemnon by Louis Andriessen. It will be performed as part of an Art of Andriessen series, placing the Dutch minimalist at the heart of the Philharmonic program.

Other major commissions go to local composers Julia Wolfe, Ashley Fure and David Lang. Two US veterans, John Corigliano and John Adams, also get a look in.

There is a Music of Conscience series and a Threads theme, based on the history of immigration, with some heavy political hints directed at Trump Tower.

Zweden will conduct all of the free concerts and the new $5 ticket events.

Program highlights:

Opening Week
Jaap van Zweden begins his tenure on September 20, 2018, with the inaugural
Opening Gala Concert, featuring the World Premiere of a New York Philharmonic
commission by Ashley Fure, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and Ravel’s Piano
Concerto in G major with Daniil Trifonov as soloist. The first subscription
program, September 21–22 and 25, 2018, reprises Ms. Fure’s new work and The Rite
of Spring, and Daniil Trifonov will return as soloist, this time in Beethoven’s Piano
Concerto No. 5, Emperor.

Pillars of the 2018–19 Season
Jaap van Zweden’s inaugural season will be anchored by three initiatives, each
delving into a major theme through subscription programs, new-music concerts, and
ancillary activities with partners across the city. Jaap van Zweden and the New York
Philharmonic will explore how composers have responded to the social issues of their
time through Music of Conscience (May–June 2019); musical expressions of the
immigrant experience in New York through New York Stories: Threads of Our City
(January 2019); and the music of Dutch composer Louis Andriessen, winner of the
Philharmonic’s Marie-Josée Kravis Prize for New Music, through The Art of
Andriessen (October 2018). (More information to follow.)

World Premiere–New York Philharmonic Commissions
Jaap van Zweden will lead five World Premieres commissioned by the New York
Philharmonic in the 2018–19 season: Louis Andriessen’s Agamemnon, David Lang’s
opera prisoner of the state, Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth, and new works by Ashley
Fure and Conrad Tao.

Free and Low-Cost Concerts for New York
Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic will engage with New York City
in free and low-cost concerts throughout his inaugural season. The Philharmonic
opens its doors to fellow New Yorkers with Phil the Hall, April 4–6, 2019, four $5
performances for New York’s community and service professionals, hosted by iconic
New Yorkers at David Geffen Hall. Jaap van Zweden will also conduct all of the
Philharmonic’s free concerts that are open to the whole city: the Annual Free
Memorial Day Concert, May 27, 2019, and the Concerts in the Parks, Presented
by Didi and Oscar Schafer, in June 2019.

Repertoire Highlights
Jaap van Zweden will lead works by composers ranging from Mozart, Brahms,
Bruckner, and Stravinsky to Ives, John Adams, and Stucky. He will lead core
symphonic masterworks such as Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, Jupiter; Bruckner’s
Symphony No. 8; Mahler’s Symphony No. 6; Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2; and
Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, Leningrad, as well as waltzes by J. Strauss II on
New Year’s Eve.

Decca Gold Partnership
The New York Philharmonic will launch its partnership with Decca Gold, Universal Music
Group’s newly established U.S. classical music label, on February 23, 2018, with the
release of Jaap van Zweden and the Philharmonic’s performances of Beethoven’s
Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7. This new relationship between a major label and a major
orchestra will yield a series of New York Philharmonic performances that will be made
available on CD and for streaming and download. Decca Gold will also take over the New
York Philharmonic’s catalogue of self-produced digital recordings released since 2008,
expanding the reach of Philharmonic performances from the past decade. Decca Gold will
release six additional recordings in the 2018–19 season featuring Jaap van Zweden and the
Philharmonic. Details of these recordings will be announced at a later date.
More information on Jaap van Zweden’s inaugural season is available at nyphil.org/jaap.



  • doremifa says:

    he was due to come and conduct Shostakovitch’s 7Th symphony here in Antwerpen(belgium) in march 2015 but was replaced at the last minute.A pity since I heard a lot of good about him.

  • Been Here Before says:

    I thought this would be an opportunity for one of John Borstlap’s pieces to be played by the NY Phil. What a disappointment! Sally must be mad!

  • Petros Linardos says:

    What was the controversy about Van Zweden’s appointment? I only noticed bashing on this site. Anything else?

    • John Borstlap says:

      People entirely ignorant about Van Zweden’s many performances of new music (including many premieres), among which well-known critics like [redacted] and [redacted], feared he would restrict his programming to the celebration of the great works of the classical repertoire on the expense of progress. The implication is that the heart of the orchestral performance culture is a mere museum culture which does not require any creative input and is mere empty repetition of authoritarian exclamations by dead white males from undemocratic times who should finally shut-up to make place for the greatness of our own time. But in reality Van Zweden’s taste is eclectic, he performs which he likes and thinks is worthwhile to be heard, irrelevant of nationality or time period, and he still thinks that Beethoven is a contemporary composer – not because he is still alive, but because his works are still alive and kicking. It is all a matter of how things are performed.

      There is still much misunderstanding around the relevance of classical music and the meaning of the repertoire of the past in relation to the modern world:


      • Petros Linardos says:

        Aha, thank you for the information. To me it doesn’t sound like controversy. Just some beating of a dead horse.

  • MWnyc says:

    Corigliano counts as a local composer. (His father was the Phil’s concertmaster for 23 years.)

  • boringfileclerk says:

    No Stockhausen? Great, another tenure with amateur hour.

  • Marcus Clayton says:

    A pretty dismal season, to be sure. Far too many standard warhorses.
    Both the Mozart and Brahms Requiems? Snoozefest.
    There a few pieces I may want to hear but overall a typically boring season, standard fare with a few contemporary pieces scattered around to appease the cynics that always whine about the lack of modern music.

  • Fred says:

    Louis Andriesen???? more empty seats of course and then they wonder why young crowds stay away….all this stuff audience poison

    • John Borstlap says:

      Andriessen has a large following in the USA, and his works are heavily influenced by American minimal music trends and cooled-down jazz, which he combines with Dutch calvinist admonitions. It is the best typical Dutch export product in terms of music, and has drawn an army of young American students to the Netherlands, including emancipated females. I cannot imagine that it won’t have an immediate success in New York.

  • stephen morris says:

    not much British music! Where is the “special relationship?

  • Stephen Morris says:

    So you are saying there is no such thing as british music taking in Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Holst, McMillan, Tippett, Walton, Moeran, Birtwhistle, Britten. Come on now!

  • harold braun says:

    He was not”contoversally chosen”,just because NL doesn´t like him.The majority of the players voted for him.Get over it!