Bernard Haitink


Bernard Haitink’s conducting career began 61 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.
During the 2015 summer festival season Bernard Haitink performed at the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic, opened the Lucerne Festival with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, and gave further performances at the Lucerne Festival and The Proms with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.  The 2015/16 season begins with the London Symphony Orchestra, with whom he performs three programmes at The Barbican followed by a tour to Japan.  During autumn 2015 he conducts the Chamber Orchestra of Europe performing the Schumann symphonies and concertos in Amsterdam, Lugano and Vienna.  Amongst the orchestras he revisits this season are the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras.  He also makes his debut 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 of the Hochschule der Kunst, Zurich, and the Juilliard School. 
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.
September 2015

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Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award - Bernard Haitink

Few conductors have enjoyed such a rich and varied recording career as Bernard Haitink. In fact, it is unlikely there will ever again be a similar achievement. For well over 50 years, Haitink has made recordings, mostly for Philips, but also for EMI and Decca.

There is a complete discography of his 26 year tenure as Music Director with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He has recorded the Bruckner Symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Ring Cycle with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the Mahler Symphonies three times in Berlin, Vienna and Amsterdam, Strauss operas with the Staatskapelle, Dresden, and a thorough recording documentation of his period as Chief Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and as Music Director at Glyndebourne. 

Even now as the global record industry wanes, and major orchestras develop their own record labels, we can still listen to his many recordings with the Chicago Symphony, Staatskapelle Dresden and of course with LSO Live.

So we salute Bernard Haitink's glorious career, so well documented in his enormous wealth of recordings.


Bernard Haitink received many wonderful tributes on the night from fellow musicians, orchestras and record labels. For a full list please click here.

'Bernard Haitink has been an inspiration to all of us in the world of music ... He has combined never-ending search for truth in the works he conducts with the ability to make each performance sound inevitably right.' Emanuel Ax

'We first met when he was the Principal Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and we did, first in concert and then in recording, all the Beethoven concertos. Needless to say, it was an enormous pleasure; not only did he know them inside out, but he was also dedicated to a real collaboration: neither dictating an interpretation, nor slavishly following - but a natural give and take. His is an innate modesty that puts him always at the service of the music and the composer. 

From those early days, we continued to work together with many different orchestras and many different venues. No matter if we were playing with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Albert Hall, the Boston Symphony in Carnegie Hall, or the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in his (former) home town of Lucerne, he demanded the same high standards and the most dedicated music making.' Murray Perahia

'Listening to him in a concert or rehearsal is a lifetime masterclass in how sensitive sound can be: he doesn't ‘make’ sound, he lets sound arise – always elegant, round, flowing, transparent and clear within a vision for the long line.' David Afkham

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