That's quite a story. We were in Berlin, in this concert hall that had been rebuilt, and Lenny was conducting Mahler 1. He said, "I would love to go into the hall and listen a little bit to the orchestra. Jaap, can you conduct the opening?" I said, "I've never conducted in my life." He said, "Yes, you can do it."
So I went up and conducted the opening. I know it was a disaster, but afterward he said to me, "You know, I saw something there. I think you should develop this a little more than you think."
How did you start conducting?
After reading this great Dallas Morning News profile, count us in the Jaap Van Zweden fan club now: the new Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra not only considers Opera Chic's beloved Lenny as a mentor, he is inspired by our great Maestro Giulini, but he is also a humanitarian (he supports a foundation to bring music therapy to autistic children) who totally looks like our favorite bada$$ of a superhero, Ben Grimm aka "Teh Thang".
And hey, he used to be Konzertmeister of the Concertgebouw, the coolest title for any profession this side of being part of the Wu-Tang Clan.
Due to all these great qualities we forgive Jaap-Van for being a fan of Nikolaus "Teh Horse Tranquilizer" Harnoncourt, aka the Taxidermist of Classical Music (he never saw a score he couldn't gut and render completely glassy-eyed, lifeless and reeking of formaldheyde /end rant).
Honestly, Opera Chic is only familiar with Jaap-Van's Beethoven Cycle, an interesting set that reminded her a bit of a young Abbado -- with that nervous, driven, and at times indescribably tender Beethoven. A young man's Beethoven, indeed.
But let us then welcome another great European conductor to Texas -- he follows some of Opera Chic's all time favorites, like Paul Kletzki and Georg Solti in Dallas and Ferenc Fricsay and John Barbirolli in Houston.