On August 1 2010 Michael Schønwandt has assumed the position of chief conductor of the Radio Chamber Philharmonic. He is the successor of Jaap van Zweden who has held this position from 2005 until 2010. As off the 2008-2009 season Philippe Herreweghe has been principal guest conductor. Former chief conductors Frans Brüggen and Jaap van Zweden were named conductor emeritus of the Radio Chamber Philharmonic in 2007 respectively May 2011. As off the 2010/11 season James MacMillan has taken up his position of principal guest conductor. Assistant conductor in the 2012-13 season is Wouter Padberg.
Frans Brüggen is one of the foremost experts in the performance of eighteenth and early nineteenth century music. Brüggen studied flute, recorder and musicology in his native Amsterdam. He achieved international acclaim as a recorder player and at the age of 21, he was appointed professor at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague and later held position as Erasmus Professor at Harvard University and Regent's Professor at the University of Berkeley. Yet, as Luciano Berio wrote, he is "a musician who is not an archaeologist but a great artist." In 1981 he founded the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, which consists of sixty musicians representing nineteen countries. The orchestra assembles three times each year to tour. Members of the orchestra are specialists in eighteenth and early nineteenth century music and perform on period instruments, or on contemporary copies. The orchestra’s wide-ranging repertoire recorded for Philips Classics includes works by Purcell, Bach, Rameau, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn. Many of their recordings have received international awards.
Frans Brüggen's conducting activities in recent seasons have included collaborations with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica dell 'Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony.
In October 1992 Frans Brüggen became the joint principal guest conductor, together with Simon Rattle, of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with whom he recorded works by Bach and Haydn for Philips Classics. In 1997 he was the recipient of the Unesco International Music Prize.
His operatic engagements included Mozart's Mitridate, Re di Ponte, in Zürich, and Gluck's Orfeo with the Opéra de Lyon. In January 2001 he conducted a production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Teatro Real in Madrid. From 1998 to 2000 he was joint principle guest conductor of the Orchestre de Paris. In December 2001 he made his debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducting the first three Beethoven Symphonies at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Highlights of recent seasons find Maestro Brüggen conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra; Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra; the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Frans Brüggen continues extensive touring and recording activity with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. Brüggen is awarded the UNESCO International Music Prize 1997 and the 2007 VSCD Oeuvre Prize. In September 2010 he was awarded by Queen Beatrix personally the Honour Medal for the Arts and Sciences of the Order of the House of Orange.
Principal guest conductor
Philippe Herreweghe was born in Ghent, Belgium. He studied piano at the local Conservatory before going on to study medicine and psychiatry. During his years at university, he founded the Collegium Vocale, a group that caught the attention of Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt who invited him to join them in a recording of the complete Cantatas of Bach.
Philippe Herreweghe has created several ensembles that have achieved considerable recognition and made more than sixty recordings on the Harmonia Mundi label: l’Ensemble Vocal Européen, Collegium Vocale Gent (Bach and his forerunners), la Chapelle Royale (French Baroque music), the Orchestre des Champs- Elysées (Classical and Romantic music) and the ensemble Musique Oblique.
Philippe Herreweghe has appeared as guest conductor of ensembles including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra.
Maestro Herreweghe served as Artistic Director of the Saintes Festival from 1982 to 2002 and has accrued diverse honors including European Musician of the Year in 1991 and Cultural Ambassador of Flanders 1993. Philippe Herreweghe was awarded the order of Officier des Arts et Lettres in 1994, named Doctor Honoris Causa of Louvain University in 1997 and appointed Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur in 2003. In October of that same year he was knighted by the King of Belgium.
James MacMillan was appointed principal guest conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic in September 2010. He succeeds Peter Eötvös, who held the post of chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra from 1994 to 2005 and went on to serve as permanent guest conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic. MacMillan conducts at least three productions each season which feature his own works and other twentieth- and twenty-first-century repertoire. Like his predecessor, he brings together all the qualities of an internationally renowned conductor and composer. MacMillan is also one of the most frequently performed composers today.
Over the last few years, the ensembles of the Netherlands Broadcasting Music Center have performed and recorded various works by him under his baton. The recently released BIS CD featuring recordings of Visitatio sepulchri and Sun-Dogs have won unanimous acclaim in the music press. Regular releases of new recordings are scheduled for the coming years; these include the percussion concerto Veni, veni, Emmanuel and The Confession of Isobel Gowdie. With the latter work, MacMillan acquired an international reputation in 1990. Ever since, his music has been performed by many of the world’s leading orchestras, conductors and soloists, including the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Slatkin, the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Andrew Davis, the Detroit Symphony under the direction of Neeme Järvi and the Los Angeles Philharmonic led by Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Born in 1959, MacMillan studied piano and trumpet, and began composing as a teenager. He studied music at the University of Edinburgh and composition at the University of Durham. He went on to teach at the University of Manchester for some time. Following the successful premiere of Tryst in 1990, he was appointed composer of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Between 1992 and 2002, MacMillan served as artistic director of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Music of Today series. He is active as a conductor all over the world. From the 2000–01 season up until his appointment with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, MacMillan worked as both a composer and a conductor with the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester. He was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2004.
After his studies in Amsterdam and New York, Jaap van Zweden was named concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the age of 19. Alongside this post, he built up an impressive career as a solo violinist. He took his first steps as a conductor in 1995; a short while later he debuted in Carnegie Hall and toured many places in Europe as well as other parts of the world, including Japan and South America. In August 2005 Jaap van Zweden was appointed chief conductor of the two classical orchestras of the Netherlands Broadcasting Music Centre in Hilversum: the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic. He and the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra recently met with a warm reception to their concerts in the Singapore Sun Festival and the BBC Proms. In the 2008-09 season Jaap van Zweden accepted a position as Music Director with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and as chief conductor of the deFilharmonie in Belgium.
(photo: Marco Borggreve)
As a guest conductor, Jaap van Zweden has conducted prestigious orchestras around the world: the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Göteborg Symphony Orchestra, the Sinfonieorchester des Westdeutschen Rundfunks, Orchestre National de France, Münchner Philharmoniker, Oslo Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. His debut with The Cleveland Orchestra was excellently received. He is also engaged as guest conductor of the Atlanta Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Philadelphia Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Alongside the symphonic repertoire, opera has also played an important role in Van Zweden’s career. In the past season he conducted Fidelio by Beethoven and La Traviata by Verdi, and in concertante form, Vanessa by Barber in the Concertgebouw with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. He made his opera debut with the Nederlandse Opera and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. For his Wagner debut he conducted the widely lauded concertante performance of Lohengrin with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Choir and vocal soloists in the Concertgebouw. Afterwards he conducted very successful performances of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Parsifal with the same broadcasting ensembles in Amsterdam. All performances are recorded and released by QuattroLive (Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger) and Challenge Records Int. (Parsifal).
Jaap van Zweden and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic are recording Bruckner’s symphonies for the Octavia and Challenge Records International labels. Symphonies 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9, since released, have been very well received in the press. Mahler's Fifth symphony has been recorded with the London Philharmonic and Sjostakovitsj' Fifth with deFilharmonie. With the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Jaap van Zweden recorded symphonies of Tsjaikovski and Beethoven. In August 2010 he recorded piano concerto's of Mozart with the Philharmonia Orchestra and David Fray.
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.