Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Markus Stenz is chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra as of the 2012-2013 season. Stenz will take over from Jaap van Zweden, who remains affiliated with the orchestra as honorary guest conductor.
Markus Stenz has a strong reputation as an interpreter of the contemporary symphonic repertoire and music dramas. He is considered an especially important advocate of the music of Hans Werner Henze and has premiered several of the German composer’s operas. Stenz is also highly regarded for his performances of Classical and Romantic works: Beethoven, Bruckner, and especially Mahler and Wagner. In addition, he is a distinguished opera conductor with many international engagements. Finally, he has shown great commitment in recent years to the use of new media.
Markus Stenz was born February 28, 1965, in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler and studied at the Cologne Academy of Music with Volker Wagenhein and at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa.
Stenz is the chief conductor of the Cologne Opera and Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne till the end of the 2013-2014 season. Before this he was the chief conductor and music director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, principal conductor of the London Sinfonietta and artistic director of the Montepulciano Festival. As a guest conductor, he has led such European and American orchestras as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philhamonic Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhaus Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, Minnesota and Seattle. His extensive involvement with modern music has led to a steady relationship with the Ensemble Intercontemporain.
Stenz is also known internationally as an opera conductor. He has led performances by the English National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. In the 2009-2010 season he conducted the full Ring des Nibelungen cycle by Wagner in Cologne and led the world premiere of Detlev’s Caligula at the Frankfurt Opera. In November 2009 he made his debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago with Janácek’s Katya Kabanova. Stenz has a special connection with the music of Hans Werner Henze and has conducted the premieres of several of his operas. In April 2002 he led the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Choir and solo vocalists in the Dutch premiere of Henze’s The Bassarids at a Saturday Matinee concert. Other opera engagements have brought him for example to the Salzburg Festival, La Scala, Stuttgart State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Barvarian State Opera in Munich and the Hamburg State Opera. In the 2010-2011 season he led the Cologne Opera in Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen at Expo 2010 in Shanghai and Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Beijing.
Stenz recorded Mahler’s complete symphonies and Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Gürzenich Orchestra for the OehmsClassics label. He also worked with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on CD recordings of works by Moritz Eggert, Colin Matthews, Theo Verbey and Detlev Glanert. Among his other recording projects were Helmut Lachenmann’s Ausklang and Strauss’s Alpine Symphony with Ensemble Modern.
After Henze’s The Bassarids, Stenz led the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in performances of the suite version of The Tempest by Thomas Adès and Earth Dances by Harrison Birtwhistle (June 2006), de Sankt-Bach-Passion by Mauricio Kagel (December 2008), and the complete version of The Tempest (May 2009). In April 2011 he conducted the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Choir in the Dutch premiere of Walter Braunfel’s Te Deum.
In the 2011-2012 season he conducted Henze’s L’Upupa und der Triumph des Sohnesliebe, Glanert’s Caligula and Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied.
Jaap van Zweden is Honorary Chief Conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Radio Chamber Philharmonic, the two classical orchestras affiliated with the Dutch Broadcasting Music Center. Jaap van Zweden is currently Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra as of the 2012-2013 season.
Jaap van Zweden was born in 1960 in Amsterdam and began his musical life as a violinist before moving from stage to podium.
(Photo: Marco Borggreve)
Jaap van Zweden began his violin studies at the Amsterdam Conservatory and at nineteen, he became the youngest concertmaster ever of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. As soloist, van Zweden performed under such conductors as Haitink, Dorati, Kondrashin, Bernstein, Giulini, Solti and Chailly but then started his conducting career in 1995. From 1996 to 2000, he held the position of Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra in Enschede with whom he made his Carnegie Hall debut.. From 2000 to 2005, he was Chief Conductor of The Hague Philharmonic (Residentie Orchestra). Projects with this orchestra have included performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio and the recording of the complete Beethoven symphony cycle for Philips Classics. From 2005 to 2011 he was Chief Conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Radio Chamber Philharmonic.
Apart from an extensive symphonic repertoire, opera also plays an important part in Jaap van Zweden’s career. During recent seasons, he has conducted La Traviata and Fidelio with the Nationale Reisopera in Holland and Samuel Barber’s Vanessa in a concert performance at the Concertgebouw with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. He made his debut with the Netherlands Opera conducting Madama Butterfly. With the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and the Netherlands Radio Choir he gave highly acclaimed concert performances of Wagner's Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Parsifal in the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam).
In recent seasons, Jaap van Zweden has worked with orchestras such as the Gothenburg Symphony, WDR Cologne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Munich Philharmonic, Oslo Phiharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Highlights from last seasons included working with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony Orchestras and a mini-residency in Birmingham with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. He made debuts with the London Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Philadelphia Orchestra and return visits to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Danish Radio Symphony. He also made very successful subscription debuts with the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony.
Hailed for the natural ease of his conducting and the compelling insight of his musicianship, James Gaffigan continues to attract international attention and is one of the most outstanding young American conductors working today. In January 2010, he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and from the beginning of this season, will start a regular relationship with the Gürzenich Orchestra, Cologne, as Principal Guest Conductor. This newly created position will include both subscription concerts and regular opera productions with Opera Cologne.
In addition to these titled positions, James is in high demand working with leading orchestras and opera houses throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. In recent seasons, James Gaffigan’s guest engagements have included the Munich, London and Rotterdam Philharmonics, Dresden Staatskapelle, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra (Berlin), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Zurich Tonhalle, Bournemouth Symphony, Camerata Salzburg, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Leipzig and Stuttgart Radio Orchestras, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Sydney Symphony and the Qatar Philharmonic. In the States, he has worked with the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, San Francisco and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Baltimore and National Symphony Orchestras and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
This season, Mr. Gaffigan will make his debut with the Gothenburg Symphony, RSO Berlin and the BBC Symphony. He returns twice to the Munich and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestras, and will also return to the Qatar Philharmonic, MDR Leipzig, and Bournemouth and Iceland Symphonies. In the States, he returns to Toronto, Detroit and Vancouver, as well as the Juilliard Orchestra.
As an opera conductor, James Gaffigan made his Vienna State Opera debut last season conducting La Bohème and was immediately invited back to conduct Don Giovanni this season. Mr. Gaffigan continues his relationship with the Glyndebourne Festival – in 2012, he conducted a production of La Cenerentola and will return for performances of Falstaff this season. He previously led a production of Falstaff for Glyndebourne-on-Tour and returned to the main festival in 2010 to share a production of Così fan tutte with Sir Charles Mackerras. He made his professional opera debut at the Zurich Opera in 2005 conducting La Bohème. In the States, he has conducted Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro at the Aspen Music Festival and The Marriage of Figaro at the Houston Opera.
Born in New York City in 1979, Mr. Gaffigan attended the New England Conservatory of Music and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, where he earned his Masters of Music in conducting. He was also chosen to study at the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and was a conducting fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center.
In 2009, Mr. Gaffigan completed a three-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony where he assisted Michael Tilson Thomas, led subscription concerts and was Artistic Director of the orchestra’s Summer festival. Prior to that appointment, he was the Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra where he worked under Music Director Franz Welser-Möst from 2003 through 2006. James Gaffigan's international career was launched when he was named a first prize winner at the 2004 Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition. He lives in Lucerne with his wife, the writer Lee Taylor Gaffigan, and their daughter Sofia. For more information please visit Jamesgaffigan.com.
Jean Fournet (1913-2008) was Chief Conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra from 1961 - 1978 and Permanent Guest Conductor since 1978. Jean Fournet has played a prominent role in the international world of music for over fifty years. He is regarded as one of the leading experts in the field of French music working closely with the great French composers of the 20th century. The New York Times hailed Maestro Fournet as “the classic defender of the French style”.
Jean Fournet graduated from the Nationale Conservatory in Paris with a coveted “premier prix”. He was Artistic Director of the Opera Comique and a conductor at the Paris Opera until 1957. Maestro Fournet taught conducting at the Ecole Normale de Paris from 1945-1962. Albert Cortot, the eminent pianist was instrumental in Fournet’s appointment. In later years, Fournet directed the NOS Conducting Masterclasses in Hilversum and was jury Chairman of the Besancon International Conducting Competition.
Maestro Fournet first appearances in the Netherlands took place in 1950. He made his debut with both the Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. Jean Fournet was Chief Conductor of the Radio Philharmonic from 1961-1978 and Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra from 1968 -1973. Besides he was active in the musical life of Japan where he was Guest Conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and a frequent director of the Osaka Philharmonic, the Japan Philharmonic and the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Japan.
The Dutch conductor Wouter Padberg, winner in 2008 of the Kersjes Prize for young conductors, studied the piano and choral and orchestral conducting at the Rotterdam Conservatory. He participated in master classes with Vassily Sinaisky, Benjamin Zander and Kurt Masur. In 2008, he participated in the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble’s Ligeti Academy.
After completing his studies, he was as assistant conductor involved with various productions of De Nederlandse Opera and the National Touring Opera. In operas by Wagner, Puccini, Strauss, Jeths, Hamel, Schreker, and Mozart, and others, he worked with Stefan Asbury, Reinbert de Leeuw, Jan Willem de Vriend, Otto Tausk, Ingo Metzmacher and Ed Spanjaard. Padberg has been the musical director of a number of opera productions in recent years, including Candide by Bernstein and Cenerentola by Rossini, through the Resident Artists Programme of the National Touring Opera. He has worked with the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra, Limburg Orchestra, Nieuw Ensemble, Asko|Schönberg, Cappella Amsterdam en the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. Among his furture engagements are an opera by Britten with Opera Trionfo and his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.