HKPO names Jaap van Zweden the new music director

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra names Dutch conductor and violinist Jaap van Zweden the new music director to succeed the outgoing fellow Dutchman Edo de Waart.

Van Zweden cannot attend the announce event in person. He speaks to the press and the congregation via a live video link across several time zones.

He has conducted the HKPO several concerts in the past few years. Looking ahead to the new season, he says he will introduce more Chinese composers work into the programme. While being asked about his view on education programme, he mentions to invite young composers to write for the orchestra.

Another ambition announced is touring: South America and Europe. It will build the orchestra a more global profile.

Edo de Waart has strong favours over Richard Strauss and, soon after his establishment, Gustav Mahler. Van Zweden says he will not explicitly rule out Mahler from the programmes — just as he is going to conduct more in the US. However he will also develop a more diversified programme, citing Dmitri Shostakovich and Felix Mendelssohn. He has conducted Shostakovich Eighth some years back.

He skillfully avoids to answer if he is relocating to Hong Kong. His predecessor has rebuffed Hong Kong’s air quality and moved out. With 16 weeks heading Dallas Symphony Orchestra he is expected to frequently fly over the Pacific (or perhaps, the Atlantic too).

Jaap van Zweden photo © Cheung Chi-wai

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