Jaap Van Zweden talks about his autism home

Jaap Van Zweden talks about his autism home


norman lebrecht

June 19, 2019

The NY Phil conductor and his wife Aaltje talk to CBS 60 Minutes about the home they created for their adult son with autism.

When he was five, they told us he would never be able to live independently,’ they relate.

Watch here.


  • John Borstlap says:

    When people complain about his high fees, they should know that much of it goes into this autism foundation.

    Music can reach deeper layers of the personality than the consciousness. Something which is oft forgotten in times when it is often thought that there is nothing underneath consciousness, and that music is mere manipulated noise.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Music can be a vehicle for cognitive development. For people with learning differences, it can make a critical difference.

      I have seen first hand how an autistic boy who until then was hardly making any eye contact started doing so with the music therapist who engaged him while singing and playing the guitar to him. I knew the full background: it was not a fluke.

      I wish this blog could publish a few more stories like the above, even at the expense of, say, high life reports.

      • Robert Groen says:

        I think you and John Borstlap above are saying the same thing in different ways. Of course you’re both right. The therapeutic properties of music are still only partly understood. Its effects on conditions like autism must be studied vigorously and if Van Zweden wants to help fund this I’ll gladly pay a bit more to enjoy his art

    • Curios George says:

      Do we have any documentation as to the amount JvZ himself contributes to his own organization? The huge fees coming from Dallas, New York, Hong Kong (and others) are likely not flowing directly into the cause described…

      Do we have any documentation as to the budgets or expenditures of the organization itself?

      I’ve heard claims from musicians in Dallas of his independent wealth, and perhaps ownership, family ownership (or partial stake) in Dutch casinos. Any detail on these points?

      And there’s the interesting news articles (none in English) regarding his being the victim of armed robbery at a casino in 2001.

      • Nick2 says:

        What a disgraceful comment! The article is about an act of extreme generosity, love and compassion. And you drag it into the gutter. Shame on you!

  • Nick2 says:

    What a touching tale. Bravi to the van Zwedens!