Jaap van Zweden, music director of the New York Philharmonic, has announced plans to move on from his role at the end of the 2023–24 season. The conductor, who has led the Philharmonic since 2018, shared the news with the orchestra at the end of rehearsal on Wednesday. “While I love the NY Philharmonic and look forward to continuing as Music Director over the next three seasons, so much has changed because of COVID, including thoughts about my own future, my life, and my family,” he reflects in a note to musicians obtained by Vulture. “I came to the New York Philharmonic as your Music Director, excited about working with you and committed to ensuring that you get the great home you deserve. As you know, the completely transformed David Geffen Hall will now open in Fall 2022, almost two years ahead of schedule, thanks in large part to our supportive Board of Directors, to Deborah Borda’s leadership, and to Lincoln Center. In life, I think timing is critical: it’s important to know when to say yes and when to move on. With that thought in mind, my inner voice tells me the time is right to conclude my tenure as Music Director at the end of the 2023–24 season.”
The orchestra is currently playing at venues across the city while longtime home David Geffen Hall completes $550 million renovations. Van Zweden’s contract was set to expire in 2023, but he has stayed on an extra year to facilitate the search for a successor, according to the Philharmonic’s president and CEO, Deborah Borda. “The pandemic has changed all our worlds, so I recognize and respect the very personal decision Jaap has made about his future,” Borda said in a message. “It is important that he continues as our partner, working together towards the re-opening of our home — the ‘new’ David Geffen Hall. Jaap’s willingness to extend his contract by an additional year (through the 23/24 season) provides us the time and space to run a search process that is thoughtful and elegant. I know I speak for musicians, board, and staff in expressing our deepest thanks to Jaap.” May we all have the confidence to one day give three years’ notice for our job.