Maestro Jaap van Zweden of the New York Philharmonic speaks with Paula Zahn about the deep roots of his love for music and the new season with the orchestra.

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'NYC ARTS.'

I'M PAULA ZAHN AT THE TISH WNETCENTER AT LINCOLN CENTER.

ONE OF THE MOST RENOWNED NEIGHBORS IS THE NEW YORK PHIL HARMONIC FOUNDED IN NEW YORK CITY IN 1842, IT IS THE OLDEST SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA IN THE UNITED STATES AND FOR OVER 175 YEARS HAS PLAYED A LEADING ROLE AROUND THE WORLD.

LAST SEASON, THE PHILHARMONIC WELCOMED JAAP VAN ZWEDEN.

HE BROUGHT AN ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT AND SOME SURPRISES AND HE HAS ENDEARED HIMSELF TO NEW YORK'S CLASSICAL MUSIC ESTABLISHMENT AS WELL AS MEETING THE EXPECTATIONS OF DEMANDING NEW YORK AUDIENCES.

VAN ZWEDEN HAS SERVED AS THE CHIEF CONDUCTOR OF THE NETHERLANDS RADIO PHILHARMONIC AND THE ROYAL FLANDERS ORCHESTRA, BUT IT WAS HIS DECADE-LONG TENURE AS THE MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE DALLAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA THAT BROUGHT HIM TO THE ATTENTION OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.

THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC SEASON OPENS DRAMATICALLY THIS MONTH AND HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE A FULLY STAGED PRODUCTION OF SHOWNBERG'S AND BARTOK'S BLUE BEARD CASTLE AS WELL AS THE WORLD PREMIERE OF THE PHILHARMONIC'S FIRST-EVER COMMISSION OF THE WORK OF PHILIP GLASS.

THE REPERTOIRE THIS SEASON WILL INCLUDE MUELLER, BEETHOVEN, AS WELL AS STEVE REICH, ROB ADAMS AND BJORK.

NEWLY COMMISSIONED WORKS BY ELLA YOUNG, REID AND TANIA LEON IS HIGHLY ANTICIPATED.

RECENTLY, I HAD A CHANCE TO SPEAK WITH THE MAESTRO ABOUT THE DEEP ROOT OF HIS LOVE FOR MUSIC AND THE NEW SEASON WITH THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC.

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WELCOME, JAAP.

IT IS SUCH A PLEASURE TO MEET YOU.

NICE TO MEET YOU.

WHEN YOU WERE A YOUNG CHILD AND YOU PICKED UP A VIOLIN FOR THE FIRST TIME IF YOU HAD ANY IDEA THAT THIS WAS A PASSION THAT YOU WOULD PURSUE FOR YOUR WHOLE LIFE.

FIRST YOU SAY THE PASSION AND THEN ALL OF THE THINGS AFTER THAT CAME BY NATURE.

AT THE TIME I PICKED UP THE VIOLIN IT WAS JUST FOR LAUGH, THE INSTRUMENT AND THE MUSIC.

IF YOU WOULD HAVE ASKED ME WHEN I WAS 7 YEARS OLD AND PLAYING THE VIOLIN FOR MANY HOURS THAT I WOULD END UP BEING A MUSIC DIRECTOR AND THEN THE MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE NEW YORK F PHILHARMONIC, WAS THERE NO PLAN.

THERE WAS JUST A LIFE FOR MUSIC.

WHAT WAS YOUR MUSIC LIFE IN AMSTERDAM?

MY FATHER STILL IS A PIANIST AND HE WAS ALWAYS PLAYING WITH GYPSY VIOLINISTS, AND I WOULD BE AT HOME LISTENING TO THAT, AND I WOULD BE SO MESMERIZED BY THESE INSTRUMENTS, THE VIOLIN THAT I JUST ASKED FOR THE INSTRUMENT TO PLAY IT.

IT'S INTERESTING THAT IT SPOKE TO YOU AT SUCH AN EARLY AGE.

BEFORE YOU EVEN UNDERSTOOD THESE COMPLICATED EMOTIONS THAT WE ALL DEAL WITH.

AS YOU SEE, SOMETIMES, YOUNG CHILDREN WHEN THEY ARE REALLY ATTACHED TO MUSIC, TO CLASSICAL MUSIC OR ANY MUSIC, I WOULD SAY, FOR ME, AT LEAST, IT IS A MEMORY.

EVERYBODY ALWAYS WANTS TO KNOW WHERE IS IT COMING FROM?

THAT'S THE MYSTERY, YOU KNOW, OF MUSIC.

I COULD NOT TELL YOU WHY I WAS JUST MESMERIZED BY THE VIOLIN CONCERTO BY BEETHOVEN.

I CAN SAY IT OPENED MY HEART, BUT THAT'S ALL WE CAN SAY, AND IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT KIND OF MUSIC IT IS.

I MEAN, IF YOU HEAR BRUNO MARS OR IF YOU HEAR LADY GAGA OR YOU HEAR A BEETHOVEN SYMPHONY.

IT DOESN'T MATTER.

IF YOU ARE TOUCHED IN YOUR HEART THAT IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT.

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YOU ULTIMATELY TOOK IT VERY SERIOUSLY AND YOU ENDED UP COMING TO JUILLIARD WHEN YOU WERE JUST 16.

WAS THAT AN OVERWHELMING EXPERIENCE FOR YOU AT THAT AGE TO BE IN THIS BIG CITY.

I WON THE COMPETITION AND THAT COMPETITION MADE IT POSSIBLE THEY COULD TRAVEL AND I COULD STUDY FOR ONE SEASON AT JUILLIARD.

THE BEGINNING WAS ALSO QUITE LONG, TO BE HONEST.

IF YOU HAVE YOUR INSTRUMENT AND YOUR MUSIC, THAT IS ALREADY A LOT.

AND THEN YOU WENT HOME TO BECOME THE CONCERT MASTER AT THE AGE OF 19.

WHAT A STUNNING ACHIEVEMENT.

IT WAS VERY INTENSE AND THAT WAS A HUGE STEP.

I DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT FROM IT BECAUSE I LEARNED THE VIOLIN CONCERTOS AND I WAS ONLY FOCUSED ON ONE INSTRUMENT AND THAT WAS THE VIOLIN AND CERTAINLY I WAS PART OF A HUGE MACHINE WHICH IS CALLED AN ORCHESTRA.

I WOULD SAY AS A HUMAN BEING I WAS NOT REALLY READY.

AS A VIOLINIST, 100%. AS A HUMAN BEING I COULD HAVE HAD SOME MORE YEARS IN THE WORLD.

AT SOME POINT YOU AND LEONARD BERNSTEIN'S PATHS CROSSED.

YES.

WHAT HAPPENED?

WELL, HE CAME TO THE ORCHESTRA AND HE WAS CONDUCTING SYMPHONY, AND SO WE WENT ON TOUR AND WE WENT TO A HALL IN BERLIN WHERE HE ASKED ME IF I COULD CONDUCT.

HAD YOU EVER CONDUCTED BEFORE?

NEVER.

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN HE ASKED YOU TO CONDUCT?

OH, I WAS SO SCARED.

TO SAY NO TO HIM WAS DANGEROUS.

HE DIDN'T LIKE THAT.

SO I TOLD HIM, OF COURSE, I WOULD DO IT, BUT DON'T EXPECT ANYTHING FROM IT.

HE SAID NO, IT'S FINE, BUT THE HALL IS REFURBISHED AND I WANT TO HEAR HOW IT SOUNDS NOW.

I ACTUALLY CONDUCTED A LITTLE BIT.

HOW DID YOU DO?

NOT GOOD, BUT HE -- AND THAT'S WHAT HE SAID.

THAT WAS PRETTY BAD, BUT HE SAID YOU SHOULD TAKE IT SERIOUSLY BECAUSE I SAW SOMETHING THERE.

YOU COULD BE SOMEBODY WHO FEELS VERY AT HOME IN FRONT OF AN ORCHESTRA.

SO BESIDES LEONARD BERNSTEIN'S INSPIRING YOU TO BECOME A CONDUCTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY WAS HIS IMPRINT ON THAT PART OF YOUR CAREER?

HE WAS SOMEBODY WHO WAS ALWAYS SEARCHING FOR FREEDOM ON STAGE, BUT HE LEARNED ME THAT FREEDOM YOU DON'T GET.

YOU EARN FREEDOM, AND HOW DO YOU EARN THAT FREEDOM?

TO BE VERY DISCIPLINED.

YOU KNOW, IN A WAY, DISCIPLINE MAKES YOU VERY FREE ON STAGE BECAUSE THEN YOU ARE NOT BOTHERED BY ANY TECHNICAL PROBLEM AND YOU CAN JUST LET THE ENERGY GO AND YOU CAN HAVE JUST THE MUSIC SPEAK FOR ITSELF.

WALK ME THROUGH SOME OF THE MUSICAL SELECTIONS YOU MADE IN THE FIRST SEASON AND THAT SOME PEOPLE AT FIRST BLUSH THINK COULD HAVE BEEN ALIENATING TO A TRADITIONAL AUDIENCE, BUT THAT WASN'T THE CASE.

THE FIRST PIECE WE DID WAS THE OPENING PIECE WHERE SHE WAS ABLE TO HAVE THE AUDIENCE BE INVOLVED WITH THE PIECE WHERE MUSICIANS WOULD BE IN THE AUDIENCE AND MEGAPHONES AND INSTRUMENTS THAT HAD NEVER BEEN USED EVER AND ALSO HAVING THE INSTRUMENTS IN THE ORCHESTRA BEING USED IN A WAY THAT THEY'VE NEVER BEEN USED, MAKING SOUNDS THAT NEVER WAS PLAYED LIKE THIS IN A CONCERT HALL.

IT WAS JUST AN AMAZING PIECE WHICH HE WROTE FOR THE OPENING OUT OF HER OWN WORLD.

YOU'VE MADE A CONCERTED EFFORT TO BRING MORE FEMALE COMPOSERS INTO THE MIX.

MANY OF THEM DESERVED FAR GREATER RECOGNITION THAN THEY'VE GOTTEN ALONG THE WAY.

I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU, AND IF YOU JUST SEARCH FOR A TALENT, THEY ARE THERE.

JULIA WOLF 'FIRE IN MY MOUTH,' THE PIECE THAT SHE WROTE FOR US.

THIS WAS, THINK, A COMPOSITION OF A TRAGEDY THAT WAS IN NEW YORK, A HUGE FIRE WHERE SO MANY YOUNG LADIES LOST THEIR LIVES.

AT THAT TIME ALL OF THE YOUNG LADIES WHO WERE WORKING IN THE FACTORIES WERE IMMIGRANTS.

THE AUDIENCE REALLY FELT CONNECTED WITH THAT TRAGEDY FROM SO LONG AGO AND JULIA WOLF REALLY DID AN AMAZING JOB TO BRING ALL THESE FEELINGS INTO THE MUSIC.

IT SOUNDS LIKE AN ADDED BENEFIT TO COMMISSIONING THIS KIND OF MUSIC IS TO KEEP THE PHILHARMONIC RELEVANT AND THERE'S A LOT OF DISCUSSION ALL OVER THE WORLD TODAY HOW YOU KEEP AUDIENCES COMING TO CLASSICAL MUSIC CONCERTS.

I THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS THAT YOU BRING THEMES, AND BEHIND THESE THEMES THERE ARE STORIES.

STORIES THAT NEEDS TO BE TOLD.

THE MOMENT YOU TELL A STORY.

IF YOU TELL A TORE TO A CHILD OF 7 YEARS OLD OR TO A LADY WHO IS 70 YEARS OLD, NO DIFFERENCE.

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IT MUST BE VERY EXCITING AND ALSO TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY LIKE YOU HAD TO GO OUT AND NOT ONLY COMMISSION, BUT TRY TO FIND 19 OF THE BEST FEMALE COMPOSERS AND TELL ME ABOUT PROJECT 19 AND WHAT THAT IS.

IN 1920 FEMALES GOT THE RIGHT TO VOTE.

SO WE THOUGHT WHY DON'T WE INVOLVE 19 OF THE MOST INSPIRING FEMALE COMPOSERS IN THE WORLD TO WRITE A PIECE AND TO CELEBRATE THAT AND WE DID THAT OVER TWO SEASONS.

THAT'S FANTASTIC.

LATER ON IN THE SEASON YOU'LL BE EXPLORING THE MUSIC OF GUSTAV MOLER.

WE GOT THE INVITATION FROM AMSTERDAM, ACTUALLY.

EVERY 25 YEARS THEY HAVE A BIG FESTIVAL CELEBRATING MOLLOR AND FOR 100 YEARS NOW THEY INVITED THE BERLIN PHILHARMONIC AND THE VIENNA PHILHARMONIC AND THE ORCHESTRA ITSELF, THINK, AND THEY ALWAYS MADE A CELEBRATION OF ALL HIS SYMPHONIES, AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MAY 2020 WE ARE GOING TO AMSTERDAM, AND TO BE ALSO PART OF THAT REALLY, GREAT MEMORABLE DAY.

CONGRATULATIONS.

THAT'S GREAT.

THANK YOU.

AND NEW YORK IN THE SPRING, THOUGH, YOU'LL BE ALSO EXPLORING THE VERY INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP HE HAD WITH NEW YORK.

OH, LOOK.

HE WAS THE MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC.

I WOULD SAY ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS ONE, OF COURSE, AND AT THE SAME TIME HE LIVED IN NEW YORK UNTIL ALMOST THE END OF HIS LIFE AND WE ARE ACTUALLY CELEBRATING HIM IN PLAYING THE FIRST AND THE SECOND SYMPHONY IN THE UPCOMING SEASON.

WHAT ARE YOU HOPING WILL BE THE MOST IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC?

AS A NEW MUSIC DIRECTOR YOU ARE STEPPING IN BIG SHOES, MUELLER, BERNSTEIN, YOU CAN NAME THEM ALL, ACTUALLY, AND IT'S A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY.

I COME ON STAGE HERE.

I REHEARSE THE PIECE, AND THEN I HEAR A TRADITION OF SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE FORMER MUSIC DIRECTORS WHO CONDUCTED THESE PIECES AND THEN WHAT IS WONDERFUL FOR ME IS I COME WITH MY OWN TRADITION AND THEY COME WITH THEIR TRADITION AND WE MEET IN THE ♪ ♪

SO TRADITION IS NOT JUST SOMETHING WHICH IS THERE AND WE SHOULD JUST OBEY TO IT.

NO, WE CAN CREATE NEW TRADITIONS AND THAT'S WHAT WE ARE DOING ALL OF THE TIME AND THAT IS WHAT IS SO FANTASTIC FOR THE ORC OF THE RA.

I THINK THAT TALENT IS STALLEN.

IT'S THE BEST ORCHESTRA IN A WORLD AND THEY DO IT IN A SPLIT SECOND SO IT'S A VERY OPEN ORCHESTRA BECAUSE AFTER 177 YEARS YOU HAVE A HUGE EGO WHICH IS VERY GOOD BECAUSE YOU ARE THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC AND AT THE SAME TIME YOU HAVE TO JUST OPEN YOUR DOOR EVERY DAY AND SAY, OKAY, WHAT CAN I LEARN TODAY?

THIS IS WHAT I THINK.

IF WE GET UP EVERY MORNING AND WE SAY TO OURSELVES WHAT CAN I LEARN TODAY?

THAT MAKES IT WORTH TO GO TO THE HALL AND REHEARSE.

WE SHOULD ALL BE ABLE TO DEFINE OUR LIVES ON A DAILY BASIS.

WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO LIVE.

LUCKY YOU.

IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU'RE HAVING A REALLY GOOD TIME.

ABSOLUTELY.

WELL, I SALUTE YOU ON SO MANY DIFFERENT FRONTS.

IT IS SUCH A DELIGHT TO MEET YOU AND CONTINUED GOOD LUCK WITH THE WONDERFUL THINGS THAT ARE AHEAD OF YOU.

THANK YOU.

THANK