The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra announced Sunday that Jaap van Zweden has been selected as its music director to succeed Osmo Vänskä whose term ends this year. The term for the new music director is five years from January 2024.
Zweden, a Dutchman who started his music career as violist, was inaugurated at age 19 as the youngest ever leader for Royal Concertgebouw of the Netherland, one of the world’s leading orchestras, and served the post for 17 years. After transforming himself into a conductor, he served as the chief conductor for the Dutch Broadcast Philharmonic Orchestra, and music director for the Dallas Philharmonic Orchestra in the U.S. He served as music director for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra from 2012, and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the flagship orchestra in North America and one of the best orchestras in the world, from 2018.
“Zweden has been enjoying fame as ‘orchestra trainer’ as he has elevated the capabilities of the Dallas Philharmonic and the Hong Kong Philharmonic to world-class in a short period of time,” the Seoul Philharmonic said.
Zweden conducted the Gyeonggi Philharmonic Orchestra in August 2018, and the KBS Philharmonic in February 2019 and November 2021. “Next music director Zweden has good understanding about Asian countries thanks to his experience with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and has developed high expectations on Korean performers’ growth potential through multiple concerts in Korea,” the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra said. “He has high hope and strong expectation about the robust potential of the Seoul Philharmonic, which boasts of performing skills unrivaled in Korea.”