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JAAP VAN ZWEDEN

JAAP VAN ZWEDEN

“(Bruckner Symphony no. 7) Van Zweden drew an expansive, organ-like sound from the orchestra, building to glorious crescendoes.”

Christopher Halls, South China Morning Post
May 2019

“(Wagner Ring cycle CD) There is the conducting of Jaap van Zweden, which is fully alive to all the nuances of the score and whose pacing often yields dividends in unexpected places, such as his sense of forward movement in the Act One interlude that can so often hang fire between its detached phrases.”

Paul Corfield Godfrey, MusicWeb International
February 2019

“(Wagner Ring cycle CD) With all four operas of the Hong Kong Ring in front of us, it is clear that the linchpin is the conductor, Jaap van Zweden. He has rehearsed his players to form a credible Wagner orchestra and exerts a formidable grip on the drama. This Götterdämmerung, the last instalment, is urgent, feisty and impassioned.”

Richard Fairman, Financial Times
December 2018

“(Wagner Götterdämmerung CD) Some elements have remained at a high standard throughout – namely the quality of the playing of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, in particular the authority of Jaap van Zweden’s conducting. His control of the huge musical and dramatic paragraphs of Götterdämmerung is always confident, and the orchestral set pieces – the Rhine Journey and Siegfried’s Funeral March – have an undeniably impressive dramatic presence.” 

Andrew Clements, The Guardian
November 2018

“(Wagner Götterdämmerung CD) The Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden, the music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, deserves an award for steering his players through initially unfamiliar music with such a firm hand and sustained panache.”

Geoff Brown, The Times
November 2018

“(Mahler 7) Magical, masterful Mahler from five-star Hong Kong Philharmonic and Jaap van Zweden … Conductor Jaap van Zweden is a wonderful interpreter of Mahler’s music, and it showed in a triumphant performance of the composer’s Symphony No. 7 by the Hong Kong Philharmonic under his baton.”   

Christopher Halls, South China Morning Post
November 2018

“Rowlands greatly admires van Zweden’s approach to the scores, which he describes as ‘meticulous, nuanced and very attentive to every fine detail. But it’s not clinical,’ he adds. ‘It combines a passion and inner life.’”

Phil Rowlands (Naxos’ Studio Producer of the Ring Cycle),
Opera Now
Feburary 2018

“Van Zweden’s mastery of the huge dramatic arcs in all three acts of Siegfried never falters.”

Andrew Clements, The Guardian
November 2017

“Jaap van Zweden has rehearsed his players to an admirable level of prowess …”

Financial Times
November 2017

“Conductor Jaap Van Zweden’s sense of pacing and drama never falters.”

Poornima Weerasekara, Caixin Global News
October 2017

“Van Zweden’s thrillingly vivid concert recording(Die Walkure)… a first rate cast”

Andrew Clements, The Guardian
November 2016

“…evidence of Van Zweden’s success in dramatically raising standards at Hong Kong”

Neil Fisher, The Times
November 2016

“(Beethoven Cycle) Unfazed by the challenge, music director Jaap van Zweden found a way to turn the ugly sisters into Cinderella and sweep the audience off its feet”
“van Zweden has taken the HK Phil to a new level, one that neither the musicians nor their fans knew existed.”

Jason Ng, Time Out Hong Kong
January 2016

"Under the strong leadership of Jaap van Zweden, meticulous musicians showed a high degree of discipline, superior musicality and rhythmic drive in this musical marathon." (translated from Chinese)

Oliver Chou, Yazhou Zhoukan
February 2015

“In Das Rheingold, the first part of The Ring of Nibelung, Maestro Jaap van Zweden led the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra to produce a pioneering event in the local music scene, and pushed the HK Phil's musician to the next level. Fans eagerly anticipate the epic performances in the next three years.” (translated from Chinese)

Kelly Chu, Sing Tao Daily News
February 2015

"(HK Phil 40th Anniversary Gala Concert) Under van Zweden, their (HK Phil's) playing is also fiery and earthy, indeed achieving a higher level."

Ken Smith, Financial Times
June 2014

"(HK Phil with Lang Lang: Brahms’ Variation on a Theme by Joseph Haydn) Jaap van Zweden imbued every phrase with imagination, from misty autumnal landscapes to lickety-split gallops. The violas sounded like warm melting chocolate."

Alexi Alrich, South China Morning Post
April 2014

“Jaap van Zweden has refined the tone of the Hong Kong Phil, and brought it up at least one notch in the richness of its sound. The start to its 40th season as a fully professional orchestra on Friday was very auspicious.”

Alan Yu, www.bachtrack.com
September 2013

“Anticipating a conductor’s fresh stamp on Mahler’s long, neurotic work often disappoints, but Jaap van Zweden clearly delighted Friday’s audience with what he drew from a stage brimming with manpower… The finale proved an authoritative exercise in time management, with van Zweden applying the spurs, notably in passages that look backwards to previously stated material and threaten to impose structural stasis.”

Sam Olluver, South China Morning Post
February 2013

“In his usual charismatic manner, Jaap van Zweden kept a strong hand over the Hong Kong Philharmonic in a polished and perfectly shaped interpretation, clearly delineating each layer of the architecture and giving free rein to solo instruments.”

Alan Yu, www.bachtrack.com
 December 2012

“… Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, which brilliantly illustrated each movement’s structural force, zapping out the extra stops with judicious timing while integrating striking contrasts between the weighty and the wispy. The players sounded on fire at times and were at one with the podium technically and conceptually. More, please maestro.”

Sam Olluver, South China Morning Post
October 2012

“…the orchestra’s firm grip on rhythm added colour to the lovers’ struggle with paternal dominance and the inexorable march towards their tragic destiny (Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto).…It has been suggested that under Jaap van Zweden’s stewardship, the Hong Kong Philharmonic could become the “Berlin Philharmonic of Asia”. By demonstrating a strong affinity with Chinese culture, he has found a clear path towards distinguishing the orchestra from many of its counterparts in other parts of the world.”

Alan Yu, www.bachtrack.com
September 2012

“And the finale laid out its set of variations like a swiftly dealt hand of cards, each with distinctive colour and character…The orchestra (HKPO) responded to van Zweden’s grip on the soul of the piece with an impressively disciplined performance.”

Sam Olluver, South China Morning Post

[with Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra] “Dutch maestro brings out the dynamic subtleties and intricate moments of Austrian’s monumental work while maintaining a firm grasp of its structure…”

Dirk Newton, South China Morning Post
October 2017

[with Cleveland Orchestra] “Zweden, for his part, proved a master chef, lighting and holding a fire under the ensemble without letting the contents spill or spoil.”
“The performance by the music director-elect of the New York Philharmonic was all one could want.”

Zachary Lewis, Cleveland.com
December 2016

[with New York Philharmonic] “Maestro van Zweden molded the piece lovingly, controlling the layerings of sound to perfection and creating an organic whole.”
“An evening, then, that moved from the spiritual to the exhilarating, superbly played, and with a Maestro from whom, it seems clear, we can expect great things.”

Oberon’s Grove
November 2016

[with Chicago Symphony Orchestra] “The Brahms sound and style he espoused Thursday – tempos mobile, colorations varied, sonorities smoothly blended and balanced without a trace of heaviness.”

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
November 2016

[with New York Philharmonic] “Conducting this imaginative and playing this varied don’t appear at Geffen Hall every week.”

Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times
January 2016

[with Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra] “Van Zweden’s interpretation (on Bruchner Symphony No. 1) is second to none in offering freshness and vibrancy while remaining faithful to Bruckner’s markings.”

Christian Hoskins, The Gramophone
August 2015

[with Dallas Symphony Orchestra] "(Mahler 3) Music director Jaap van Zweden had, if anything, an even more masterly command of the piece."

Scott Cantrell, Dallas News
May 2015

[with Dallas Symphony Orchestra] "(Mahler 3) The finale was sheer magic, balanced between urgency and lingering over, and leaning into, juicy harmonic suspensions."

Scott Cantrell, Dallas News
May 2015

[with Chicago Symphony Orchestra] “… and van Zweden marshaled his orchestral juggernaut with exacting control.”

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
May 2014

[with Chicago Symphony Orchestra] “By skillful degrees, Van Zweden built up the aural image of a force almost beyond resistance.”

Lawrence B. Johnson, Chicago on the Aisle
May 2014

[with Chicago Symphony Orchestra] “Van Zweden uncovered a wealth of fine instrumental detail…”

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
May 2014

[with Vienna Philharmonic] “it seemed as if he and the Vienna Philharmonic had made music together for decades: the intention of the conductor and the execution by the orchestra were completely as one. Like rider and horse in absolute harmony.”

Stefan Ender, Der Standard
April 2014

[with San Francisco Symphony] “…the result was nothing less than stunning”

Stephen Smoliar, SF Classical Music Examiner
February 2014

[With LSO] “In Rachmaninov's Symphony No 2 the LSO sounded more Russian than the Moscow City Symphony… But he (van Zweden) did: drawing the music into huge arcs and keeping momentum fierce, he paced things superbly.”

Erica Jeal, The Guardian
February 2014

[With Chicago Symphony] “The sheer intensity of the performance earned him a roaring ovation on a blissfully cool night at the park. What's more, it added another triumph to the notable list of successes van Zweden has achieved with the orchestra downtown since his Chicago début in 2008.”

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
July 2012

[With Chicago Symphony] “I mean it as the highest praise when I say that the Beethoven Seventh Van Zweden and the CSO produced was exceptional enough to efface from memory any number of mediocre readings I've heard over the years…Van Zweden kept each element in harmony with the other, and the orchestra members played as if possessed.”

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
May 2012

[New York Philharmonic Début] “In the Mahler Mr. van Zweden put a higher priority on musical character and dramatic impact than on flawless execution and textured sound.”

Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
April 2012

[With Boston Symphony] “Rachmaninoff’s piece has a well-earned reputation for sounding weighty and distended. Yet van Zweden, conducting with coiled intensity and sharp, clear-cut gestures, made it into something improbably lean and dynamic. Accents were crisp and precise. Melodies that usually wander had shape and definition. Big moments never sapped the music of forward momentum.”

David Weininger, Boston Globe
February 2012

[With Chicago Symphony] “Erupting like a great cry of a wounded heart, the finale was all fire and purpose, built across a wide sound-spectrum, from piercing piccolos and flutes to glowering trombones and tuba. There was a noticeable pulling-back midway through to allow the violins ample space in which to soar; Van Zweden managed this so deftly that the long line never lost direction. After the last jubilant bursts of brass, the audience leapt to its feet in cheers.”

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
December 2011
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