Jan Willem de Vriend is the chief conductor and artistic director of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra since 2006 and the artistic director of Combattimento Consort Amsterdam.
Combattimento Consort Amsterdam devotes itself to the music of about 1600 to 1830. Since its founding in 1982, it has performed virtually throughout the world as well as on many CDs, DVDs and television productions. For decades, Combattimento Consort Amsterdam has had its own concert series at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in which many entirely unknown – and mostly unpublished – pieces are performed alongside more familiar works. In addition to having served as concertmaster with various ensembles, De Vriend developed a career as a conductor. Opera conducting has come to play a significant role. He has led Combattimento Consort Amsterdam in unknown operas by Gassmann, Rameau, Heinchen and Haydn, among others, as well as familiar operas by such composers as Monteverdi, Handel, Rossini and Mozart. For the opera houses of Lucern, Strasbourg, Barcelona and Enschede, he has conducted operas by Handel, Mozart, Verdi, Strauss and others.
Since De Vriend was named chief conductor, the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra has become a notable phenomenon on the Netherlands’ musical scene. It has presented semi-scenic performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss and Mendelssohn. There were premieres of works by Offenbach, Say and Mahler. And by substituting period instruments in the brass section, it has developed its own distinctive sound in the 18th and 19th century repertoire. Recently, the orchestra caused quite a stir by performing music by Schumann at festivals in Spain. It is currently recording Beethoven’s complete symphonies conducted by De Vriend. Its long Mahler tradition is being continued in recordings and tours.
In addition to being the chief conductor of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra , De Vriend is the regular guest conductor of the Brabant Orchestra. He has conducted many distinguished Dutch orchestras, in-cluding the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and The Hague Philharmonic Orchestra.
De Vriend is also a welcome guest internationally and has conducted orchestras in China, Germany, Austria, Italy and France.