Musical Director of several of the world’s top orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Jaap Van Zweden was the guest speaker at an invitation-only lunch hosted by Dr Philippe Wolgen, CEO of Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals at La Môme in Monaco on Tuesday, April 16.

Mr Van Zweden shared a number of fascinating insights into the inside workings of leading orchestras. During his distinguished career at the apex of classical music, he has worked assiduously to build orchestral teams. He pointed out that accomplished young musicians usually dream of solo glory, while an orchestra depends on a cooperative effort. However, he has never fired a player from an orchestra. “That wouldn’t work, because all the others would wonder if they are next,” he said.

Mr Van Zweden is currently Musical Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Seoul Philharmonic, as well as the New York Philharmonic.

Originally an award-winning and exceptional violinist – he made his first concert appearance at the age of nine – he was introduced to conducting by Leonard Bernstein, who invited him to lead an orchestral rehearsal in Berlin.

Mr Van Zweden and his wife Aaltje van Zweden-van Buuren are at the forefront of treating autism through music. Following the birth of a son with autism, they set up the Papageno Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping children and young people with autism.

The Foundation has two residential facilities in the Netherlands and is about to open its third. Recognised as a leading authority on autism, Aaltje van Zweden-van Buuren was recently invited to make a presentation at Yale University.

PHOTO: Dr Philippe Wolgen, CEO of Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals, Aaltje van Zweden-van Buuren, and Maestro Jaap Van Zweden Ian Brodie