City News

Seoul appoints Jaap van Zweden as director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra

The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) appointed Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden as the music director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) on Thu, Jan. 12. Jaap van Zweden will succeed Osmo Vänskä and lead the SPO for five years starting from Jan. 2024.

Jaap van Zweden is renowned for his ability of escalating the level of performance in a short period of time, gaining the nickname “orchestra trainer” during his charismatic roles at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (2008–2018) and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (2012–2022).

Van Zweden has also played a major role as the music director of the New York Philharmonic for the reopening of David Geffen Hall. Such experience is believed to be of a great help in building the SPO Concert Hall, which is scheduled to open in 2028. From designing to construction, van Zweden will be providing priceless advice, stating that “The SPO’s new concert hall will be one of the world’s grandest concert halls, surpassing the Philharmonie de Paris in Paris and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo.”

“After a series of rehearsals in the last three days, I am certain that the SPO will rise in international stature,” said van Zweden upon receiving his certification of appointment. He added, “Auditions for the orchestra scheduled in April will let us discover extraordinary talents. I will also put strenuous efforts to make the SPO as one of the leading orchestras by forming a strong bond.” Van Zweden announced his plan of holding a public concert in April when he visits Korea again, inviting the underprivileged including persons with disabilities in line with the city’s municipal philosophy of social inclusion.

Van Zweden added, “As an old friend of Guus Hiddink, I know how much he loves Seoul, and I am well aware of his popularity in Korea. I would love to promote Seoul globally as a cultural ambassador like Hiddink. I look forward to the support of the SMG and the SPO.”