Jac van Steen
• Born 1956
Often appears with
Conductor Jac van Steen has been a fixture of the orchestral scene in his home country and has been active in Germany and Britain as well. He is also a noted educator.
Van Steen was born in 1956 in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. He attended the Brabant Conservatory in Tilburg, studying orchestral and choral conducting as well as music theory. By the age of 30, van Steen had already obtained an important professional position: he became the conductor and music director of the Nijmegen Bach Choir in 1986, remaining in that post until 1990. From 1989 to 1994, he served as the music director of the Dutch National Ballet. Since that time, van Steen has conducted virtually all of the significant symphony orchestras in the Netherlands, including the Residentie Orkest, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the country's major broadcast orchestras. With the Residentie Orkest, he was noted for championing contemporary music programming works by the likes of Iannis Xenakis, Olivier Messiaen, and Krzysztof Penderecki.
Van Steen also began to gain a positive reputation in Germany after serving as a guest conductor with the Bochum Symphony from 1992 to 1994. From 1997 to 2002, he was the chief conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony, and from 2002 to 2005, the chief conductor and general music director of the Staatskapelle Weimar and the associated Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar, and also of the Musikkollegium Winterthur. Van Steen has gone on to conduct a variety of major German orchestras, including the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, and the MDR-Sinfonieorchester Leipzig. In Britain, he has led several major orchestras on a regular basis, including the BBC Symphony (making his debut with that group at the Proms in 2000), the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, and the Britten Sinfonia, with which he has made several recordings.
Van Steen has made more than 30 recordings with various orchestras. In the early 2000s, he made a number of recordings for the NMC label with the BBC Symphony, focusing on contemporary British music. He has also recorded for MDG, Somm, and other labels. His recordings on Somm have featured the Britten Sinfonia and include a 2020 release of music by Saint-Saëns and Henrique Oswald. Van Steen has been on the faculty of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague since 1992, teaching conducting.