Obituary: conductor Bernard Haitink, 92

Posted on: October 22, 2021

“Bernard Haitink, one of the preeminent conductors of our time, has died aged 92,” states an unsigned article in Friday’s (10/22) Gramophone (U.K.). Haitink died at his home in London on Thursday. “The Chief Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for 27 years, a former Music Director of The Royal Opera, London and of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, a Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and conductor of more than 450 recordings, his legacy is immense…. Haitink was born on March 4, 1929 in Amsterdam, in which city he was to study violin and conducting at the Conservatory. He made his conducting debut with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in 1954 … The following year … [he] first conducted the Concertgebouw Orchestra. In 1959 … he was named First Conductor of the orchestra: he was 30. … In 1963, became the Orchestra’s sole Musical Director. For the next 25 years—until stepping down in 1988—he would develop one of those celebrated conductor-orchestra relationships that was, thankfully, enshrined on disc.” Haitink was appointed principal guest conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1995, and named conductor emeritus in 2004. “A further period saw him taking on two major positions: as Chief Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden (2002-4) and Principal Conductor of the Chicago Symphony (2006-10). Since then he went on to develop close relationships with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe…. In 2019 … he announced his retirement after 65 years at the podium.”