Jaap van Zweden has been awarded the Concertgebouw Prize 2020. Given annually, the prize recognises those who have contributed to the profile of the Concertgebouw concert house.
The Dutch conductor has a long history with the Amsterdam venue and its resident orchestra, having served as concertmaster from 1979 until 1995. Since swapping his violin for a baton, Zweden has held roles with Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Filharmonie van Vlaanderen, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic.
“Jaap van Zweden has been closely associated with the Concertgebouw from an early age,” said managing director Simon Reinink, in its citation. “As a child of Amsterdam he has performed there several times, winning the Oskar Back Competition in 1977, was concertmaster of the Concertgebouw Orchestra from the age of nineteen and later acted as conductor with various orchestras.”
Van Zweden will receive the prize at Concertgebouw’s Mahler Festival in May 2020. During the festival he will conduct the New York Phil in Mahler’s Symphony No 1 and Symphony No 2.
It has also been speculated that van Zweden could soon make a more permanent return to Amsterdam, with The New York Times writing that he is in the running to be Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s next music director.
Previous winners include violinist Janine Jansen, mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli and conductor Bernard Haitink.