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Serving the orchestra

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-16 08:46

The New York Philharmonic stages two concerts at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing over March 8-9, under the baton of its new music director Jaap van Zweden (left). Japanese-American concert violinist Ryu Goto (middle) also plays in them.[Photo by Wang Xiaojing/For China Daily]

Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden leads the New York Philharmonic in a set of performances in Beijing. Chen Nan reports.

Jaap van Zweden can still recall how he saved extra cash to buy New York Philharmonic tickets when he was studying at the Juilliard School in the United States.

Now, four decades later, Van Zweden, a 57-year-old Dutch conductor, will become the next music director of the New York Philharmonic starting with the 2018-19 season.

Over March 8-9, along with the orchestra, he performed at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

The two concerts, featuring Chinese pianist Wang Yujia and Japanese-American concert violinist Ryu Goto, showcased a diverse repertoire, including Johannes Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15; Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64; Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor and Igor Stravinski's The Rite of Spring.

Speaking about the New York Philharmonic, Van Zweden says: "As an institution and an orchestra, I think it is one of the most famous and best in the world.

"And I am very happy that even before I officially start on Sept 20 as the music director, I can already present the orchestra and myself on this wonderful tour."

The 31-year-old Wang joined Van Zweden's inaugural tour in 2017 and he says "Wang is one of the really fine pianists at the moment".

As for the 29-year-old violinist Goto, whom the conductor performed with for the first time, Van Zweden says "the violinist is very new, and we are always happy and open to meeting new talents, and starting new relationships".

As for his new role, Van Zweden says: "When you look at the history of conductors who have worked with the 176-yearold orchestra, such as Gustav Mahler, Arturo Toscanini and Pierre Boulez, I am stepping into very big shoes. The orchestra has a history and carries the DNA of all those great conductors. The only feeling I have is to be proud and humble. I just serve the music and the orchestra with 100 percent of what I can do.

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