Bernard Haitink

Born 1929

Bernard Haitink



Bernard Haitink’s conducting career began 62 years ago with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in his native Holland. He went on to be Chief Conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra for 27 years, as well as Music Director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  He is Patron of the Radio Philharmonic, and Conductor Emeritus of the Boston Symphony, as well as an honorary member of both the Berlin Philharmonic and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.

2016 marked the 50th anniversary of Bernard Haitink's first appearance at both the BBC Proms and the Lucerne Festival.  These occasions were celebrated with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Proms, and both the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Lucerne. He also toured with the European Union Youth Orchestra, of which he is Conductor Laureate, marking the 40th anniversary of their creation. The 2016/17 season begins with the Berlin Philharmonic and will see him continuing his close association with the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich and Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras. He will also revisit L'Orchestre Nationale de France, Orchestra Mozart, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and conduct Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the orchestra and chorus of La Scala, Milan.

He is committed to the development of young musical talent, and gives an annual conducting masterclass at the Lucerne Easter Festival.  This season in addition he gives conducting classes to students at the Hochschule der Kunst, Zurich, and leads performances with the orchestra of the Royal College of Music.   

Bernard Haitink has an extensive discography for Phillips, Decca and EMI, as well as the many new live recording labels established by orchestras themselves in recent years, such as the London Symphony, Chicago Symphony and Bayerischer Rundfunk.  He has received many awards and honours in recognition of his services to music, including several honorary doctorates, an honorary Knighthood and Companion of Honour in the United Kingdom, and the House Order of Orange-Nassau in the Netherlands.

Text and images courtesy of Askonas Holt