Decca, Meet Jaap! - Debussy, Stravinsky, and Beethoven

The New York Philharmonic

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Decca, Meet Jaap! - Debussy, Stravinsky, and Beethoven

Recorded September 20, 2018

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Music Director

Jaap van Zweden

Conductor Jaap van Zweden has become an international presence on three continents over the past decade. The 2018–19 season marks his first as the 26th Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. In the 2019–20 season he and the Philharmonic celebrate the ratification of the 19th Amendment with commissions by 19 women composers in Project 19, illuminate three hotbeds of music innovation — Berlin, Reykjavík, and New York — in the hotspots festival, and explore Mahler’s New York. He continues as Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, a post he has held since 2012. Guest engagements this season include the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, San Francisco Symphony, and Dallas Symphony Orchestra, where he is Conductor Laureate. He has appeared as guest conductor with many other leading orchestras around the globe, among them the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre national de France, and London Symphony Orchestra.

In his inaugural season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden conducts repertoire ranging from five World Premieres to symphonic cornerstones. He presides over three season pillars — each presenting a World Premiere — that contextualize music through programs complemented by citywide collaborations. Music of Conscience explores composers’ responses to the social issues of their time, with music by Beethoven, Shostakovich, John Corigliano, and David Lang. New York Stories: Threads of Our City looks at musical expressions of the immigrant experience in New York, with music by Julia Wolfe. The Art of Andriessen spotlights the music of Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. Maestro van Zweden also welcomes New Yorkers to Phil the Hall, concerts for community and service professionals; the Annual Free Memorial Day Concert; and the Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer.

Jaap van Zweden has made numerous acclaimed recordings, the most recent of which features live New York Philharmonic performances of Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7, released on CD and for streaming and download in February 2018; this release launched the Philharmonic’s partnership with Decca Gold, Universal Music Group’s newly established U.S. classical music label. In 2018 he completed a four-year project with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, conducting the first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which have been recorded and released on Naxos Records. His highly praised performances of Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal — the last of which earned him the prestigious Edison Award for Best Opera Recording in 2012 — are available on CD and DVD.

Born in Amsterdam, Jaap van Zweden was appointed at age 19 as the youngest-ever concertmaster of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He began his conducting career almost 20 years later, in 1996. He remains Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, where he was Chief Conductor from 2005 to 2013, and served as Chief Conductor of the Royal Flanders Orchestra from 2008 to 2011. Jaap van Zweden was named Musical America’s 2012 Conductor of the Year in recognition of his critically acclaimed work as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and as guest conductor with the most prestigious U.S. orchestras.

In 1997 Jaap van Zweden and his wife, Aaltje, established the Papageno Foundation to support families of children with autism. The Foundation has grown into a multifaceted organization that focuses on the development of children and young adults with autism. The Foundation provides in-home music therapy through a national network of qualified music therapists in The Netherlands; opened the Papageno House in 2015 (with Her Majesty Queen Maxima in attendance) for young adults with autism to live, work, and participate in the community; created a research center at the Papageno House for early diagnosis and treatment of autism and for analyzing the effects of music therapy on autism; develops funding opportunities to support autism programs; and, most recently, launched the app TEAMPapageno, which allows children with autism to communicate with each other through music composition.

Learn more about Jaap van Zweden

La Mer

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The Rite of Spring

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882–1971)
The Rite of Spring (1911–13)

Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring, which bears the subtitle “Pictures of Pagan Russia in Two Parts,” depicts an imaginary scene in which he saw “a solemn pagan rite: wise elders, seated in a circle, watching a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring.” The violent Russian spring “seemed to begin in an hour and was like the whole earth cracking…I had only my ear to help me. I heard, and I wrote what I heard. I am the vessel through which The Rite passed.” Stravinsky’s calm statement in no way reflects the wild scene at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris on May 29, 1913, when the premiere of this ballet caused the most notorious riot in music history. The Rite of Spring starts with an extended bassoon solo, and before long there is a profusion of twitters, plucked strings, and pounding of pagan drums…like all manner of life forms breaking through the frozen crust of the Russian landscape — the overwhelming urge of nature propelling itself into life that cannot be denied. Dissonances and continually changing metric markings in wild profusion, pulsing rhythms, and primitive rituals proclaim the veneration of spring and climax in the sacrificial dance of the victim. The Rite of Spring continues to be a thrilling visceral experience, whether you’re hearing it for the first or the fiftieth time. Abandoning yourself to its raw energy is the way to revel in this magnificent work.

Symphony No. 7

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