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After Recent York, Jaap van Zweden Will Lead Seoul Philharmonic


Jaap van Zweden, the Recent York Philharmonic’s music director, surprised cultural leaders and audiences last 12 months when he announced he would go away his post in 2024, saying the pandemic had made him rethink his priorities.

Now he has began outlining his post-Recent York plans: He’ll begin a five-year contract as music director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in January 2024, the ensemble announced on Sunday.

Sohn Eun-kyung, the Seoul Philharmonic’s chief executive, said in an announcement that van Zweden would help “upgrade” the standard of the ensemble and switch it right into a “world-class orchestra,” in response to South Korean news media reports.

Van Zweden, who was in Hong Kong where he serves as music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

His publicist, Mary Lou Falcone, said: “That is about constructing something — the constructing of an orchestra, as he did in Hong Kong. That’s what he does.”

The move is one other unconventional selection by van Zweden, 61, an intense and meticulous maestro from the Netherlands who got here to Recent York in 2018, only to have his tenure interrupted by the pandemic, which forced the Philharmonic to cancel greater than 100 concert events and impose painful budget cuts.

While the Seoul Philharmonic is amongst Asia’s most distinguished ensembles, it has struggled lately with financial problems and management woes. The present music director, the Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä, recently announced he wouldn’t renew his three-year contract when it expires later this 12 months.

Van Zweden, who served as music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra before coming to Recent York, was at one point, while leading the Dallas ensemble, America’s best-paid conductor, earning greater than $5 million in a single season.

Van Zweden agreed to step down from his post in Recent York after the 2023-24 season, a 12 months later than he had initially planned, to present the orchestra time to settle into David Geffen Hall, scheduled to open in October after a $550 million renovation, and to look for a successor. His six-year tenure can be the shortest of any Philharmonic music director since Pierre Boulez, the French composer and conductor who led the orchestra for six seasons within the Seventies.

He’ll leave his post in Hong Kong within the spring of 2024, after 12 years, and assume the title of conductor laureate.

In an interview last 12 months, van Zweden said the pandemic had prompted him to reconsider his relationship with the Recent York Philharmonic, in addition to together with his family, which he rarely got to see during his time on the road. He said he felt it will be the correct moment to maneuver on, with the orchestra set to maneuver into its latest home.

“It isn’t out of frustration, it’s not out of anger, it’s not out of a difficult situation,” he said on the time. “It’s just out of freedom.”

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