In 2015 Jan Willem de Vriend was appointed as principal conductor at the Residentie Orkest of The Hague and principal guest conductor at the Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya. From 2017 he is also appointed principal guest conductor or the Orchestre national de Lille.
Between 1982 and 2015 De Vriend was artistic director and violinist of the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, established by himself. This ensemble excelled in known and, more especially, unknown masterpiec
es of the 17th and 18th century belonging to the forefront of Dutch classical music. It achieved a huge success abroad as well; starting with their own series in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, it toured around the world.
Also to be mentioned are the opera productions the ensemble accomplished, based on works by Monteverdi, Handel, Telemann, Bach, Gassmann and Mozart among others. With these operas, directed by the much-acclaimed Eva Buchmann, tours have been organized throughout Europe and America.
A great number of cd’s, dvd’s and tv-recordings exist to document this very productive and intense period. De Vriend continues from then on as full-time conductor and in his many roles as charismatic promotor of classical music.
From 2006 up to 2017 Jan Willem de Vriend was chief conductor at Het Orkest van het Oosten, The Netherlands Symphony Orchestra. Right at the start of his appointment in 2006 as artistic director and chief conductor at the Orkest van het Oosten, he attracted attention with a striking performance of Mahler’s first symphony, in the first, so-called ‘Hamburger version’. The rave reception (Absolutely a must – The Gramophone) resulted in invitations by the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest as well as many orchestras abroad.
Again with the Orkest van het Oosten he completed a very successful series, recorded on cd, of all Beethoven’s symphonies. A new series is planned with Mendelssohn’s symphonies, unjustly rarely performed according to De Vriend. He already recorded his 3rd and 4th symphony on DVD with the Belgian director Pannekoek: a fascinating mix of a video clip and classical music.
As chief conductor in Enschede his lifelong fascination for and experience with opera was bearing fruit. In 2013 and 2014 the orchestra was invited to Sankt Moritz/Basel to perform respectively the Don Giovanni and La Gazetta by Rossini, both with a stage direction by Eva Buchmann. In 2015 Don Giovanni was successfully performed six times in the Netherlands.
From 2008 to 2013 Jan Willem de Vriend worked as guest conductor at the philharmonie zuidnederland. Besides he conducted the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, NDR Orchester, Philharmanie Stuttgart, WDR Orchester, in Hong Kong, Luxemburg, Barcelona and at the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest.
He conducted opera in Swetzingen, Luzern, Straatsburg and Barcelona. For the near future concerts and recordings are scheduled, of course with the Orkest van het Oosten, Residentie Orkest, Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest, Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya and Orchestre National de Lille. But also with the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest.
He is also invited in Berlin (Konzerthaus Orchester), Zurich (Tonhalle), at Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, at Bergen Philharmonic and Kammerorchester Wien.
In 2012 Jan Willem de Vriend won the prestigious ‘Radio 4 Prize’ for his indefatigable promotion of classical music.