Bernard Haitink was born and trained in Amsterdam. His conducting career began in 1954 at the Netherlands Radio, where he took part in their intensive conductors’ courses, and where in 1957 he became the Chief Conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. He went on to become Chief Conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra for 27 years. He is now Patron of the Radio Philharmonic, and Honorary Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
He also held positions as Music Director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and as Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He is an honorary member of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and in 2019 was made an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic.
Bernard Haitink has received many awards and honours in recognition of his services to music, including Musical America’s Musician of the Year and the Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been made a Commander of the Order of the Netherlands Lion, and an honorary Companion of Honour in the UK, and received honorary doctorates from the University of Oxford and the Royal College of Music.
After the 2018/19 season, during which he celebrated his 90th birthday and a 65 year conducting career, Bernard Haitink took a sabbatical. He passed away in his London home on 21 October 2021.
photo by Todd Rosenberg