The nation’s oldest orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, announced the appointment of its 26th music director Wednesday. Following in the path of Gustav Mahler, Arturo Toscanini and Leonard Bernstein is a 55-year-old Dutch conductor: Jaap van Zweden. (That’s pronounced “Yahp fahn ZVAY-den.”)
He will succeed music director Alan Gilbert, who announced his departure last February. The vacancy at the New York Philharmonic was also the last open position at a major orchestra in the United States — in the last few years, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra have all hired new music directors or principal conductors. Van Zweden’s five-year contract in New York marks the end to an era of head-hunting among prominent American orchestras.
Van Zweden, who begins his tenure in the fall of 2018, is a violinist by training. At the age of 19, he was the youngest concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.
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