Jaap van Zweden (Dutch: [ja:p fan zwe:dən]; English: [jap van zwɛɪdən]) (born December 12, 1960) is a Dutch conductor and violinist.
Van Zweden was born in Amsterdam, North Holland. His father, a pianist, encouraged him to begin violin studies at age five, and he studied music in Amsterdam. At age 15, he won the Oskar Back violin competition; this allowed him to attend the Juilliard School in the United States, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay.
In 1979, at age 18, Van Zweden became one of the two concertmasters of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. He was the youngest violinist ever to assume that position, which he held until 1995. He performed as a soloist with many other orchestras as well.
Van Zweden began to work as a conductor after Leonard Bernstein invited him to lead an orchestra rehearsal in Berlin. He has stated that he learned much about conducting from observing the various conductors who led concerts of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. He conducted smaller ensembles initially, and became a full-time conductor in 1997. His first Dutch conducting post was as chief conductor with the Orkest van het Oosten (Orchestra of the East, or the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra) in Enschede, the Netherlands. He served in this post from 1996 through 2000. Van Zweden was chief conductor of the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague from 2000 until 2005, and he recorded the complete symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven with them. In 2005 he became chief conductor and artistic leader of the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest (RFO; Netherlands Radio Philharmonic) in Hilversum. In February 2007 he extended his RFO contract through 2013. In August 2010, the orchestra announced that Van Zweden would step down from the RFO chief conductorship in 2012 and take the position of honorary guest conductor. Van Zweden served as chief conductor of deFilharmonie (Royal Flemish Philharmonic) in Antwerp from 2008 to 2012.
Outside Europe, Van Zweden made his U.S. conducting debut with the St. Louis Symphony in 1996. His second US guest-conducting appearance was with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in February 2006, a concert that was highly acclaimed. Based on this engagement the Dallas Symphony named Van Zweden their next Music Director after Andrew Litton, effective with the 2008/09 season. His initial contract was for four years, where in the first year he was scheduled to conduct 12 weeks of subscription concerts and then for 15 weeks in the subsequent three years. For the 2007/08 season he held the title of Music Director Designate and conducted three subscription concerts. In October 2009 the Dallas Symphony announced the extension of his contract through the 2015/16 season. In November 2013, the orchestra announced a further extension of his contract through 2019.
Van Zweden first guest-conducted the New York Philharmonic in April 2012. He returned for subsequent engagements in November 2014 and October 2015. In January 2016, the New York Philharmonic announced the appointment of Van Zweden as its next music director, effective with the 2018/19 season, with an initial contract of five years. Van Zweden is scheduled to serve as music director designate for the 2017/18 season. In parallel with this appointment, in January 2016, the Dallas Symphony announced the scheduled conclusion of Van Zweden's Dallas Symphony music directorship at the end of the end of the 2017/18 season, one season earlier than his most recent Dallas contract. With the 2018/19 season, Van Zweden is scheduled to take the title of conductor laureate of the Dallas Symphony, for the period from 2018 until 2021.
In January 2012, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra announced the appointment of Van Zweden as its next Music Director, with an initial contract of four years, starting 1 August 2012. He made his debut as the Music Director of the orchestra on 28 September 2012. In June 2016, Van Zweden extended his contract with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra through the 2021/2022 season.
Since 1983, Van Zweden has been married to the artist Aaltje van Zweden–van Buuren. They have a daughter, Anna-Sophia, and three sons, Daniel, Benjamin and Alexander. The Van Zwedens have a particular interest in autism as their son Benjamin is autistic. In 2000 they set up the Papageno Foundation to provide autistic children with music therapy.