Conductor Bernard Haitink Turns 85 This Week

The highly esteemed Dutch conductor Bernard Haitink will be 85 on Tuesday, and he’s still going strong in the concert halls and releasing new recordings. On Symphony @ 7 this week on Classical 101, we’ll be featuring some of his recordings spanning more than 30 years, from a Gramophone Award winning disc of Debussy to a Bruckner Ninth recorded just last year.

Haitink was the chief conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam for 27 years, from 1961 to 1988.  A noted interpreter of Bruckner and Mahler (all of whose symphonies he has recorded), he has also recorded the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Vaughan Williams.

Bernard Haitink has held other important posts and has guest conducted many of the world’s great orchestras.  He was principal conductor of the London Philharmonic from 1967 to 1979, served as music director at England’s Glyndebourne Opera and at  the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He also was principal guest conductor of the Boston Symphony from 1995 to 2004, and more recently had a highly acclaimed run as principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

This week, we’ll be hearing Debussy, Bruckner, Vaughan Williams, Beethoven, Shostakovich and more from this fine artist. Haitink doesn’t shows much sign of slowing down, except to say, when turning down the offer to become the Chicago Symphony’s music director, “every conductor, including myself, has a sell-by date.” Well, not yet, according to the rave reviews he continues to receive for his recent recordings and from the many people who attend the sold-out performances.

Happy 85th birthday to a great maestro.

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