Bernard Haitink

In memoriam Bernard Haitink

(4 March 1929 - 21 October 2021)

Bernard Haitink was patron of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.

On 19 July 1954 Bernard Haitink conducted the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time in a public concert. From 1957 to 1961 he was chief conductor of this orchestra. Then he left for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, where he was chief conductor until 1988.

La Damnation de Faust
After his chief conductorship Bernard Haitink returned several times to the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 1970s he conducted Bruckner's Fourth Symphony; in 1999 he conducted the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Groot Omroepkoor during a performance of Berlioz' La Damnation de Faust, of which legendary concert a CD was released in 2011. In 2014 he was a guest of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra with Mahler's Fourth Symphony.

Foreign relations
After finishing his chief conductorship in Amsterdam, Haitink led the Royal Opera in London for over 14 years. He was also Music Director of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As a guest conductor he regularly works with leading orchestras, including the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic.

In 1991 Haitink received the Erasmus Prize and in 1998 he was awarded the Medal of Honour for Arts and Sciences in the House Order of Orange. In 2002 the British Queen awarded him the title of Honorary Companion of Honour. In March 2007 he was awarded the Concertgebouw Prize. He is also conductor emeritus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Honorary Fellow of the Berliner Philharmoniker and an honorary member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. For his extensive discography he received the Edison Classical Oeuvre Prize in 2016.

Standing up against budget cuts
After the announcement of the austerity measures of the Rutte 1 cabinet in the autumn of 2010, Bernard Haitink made a strong plea for the preservation of the ensembles of the former Netherlands Broadcasting Music Centre and in particular the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. The ties with the former principal conductor of the orchestra, which were thereby established, led to the offer of patronage. On 20 December 2012, Haitink happily declared his willingness to accept the patronage.

End of his career
In 2017, Haitink presented the annual Concertgebouw Prize to the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Groot Omroepkoor in Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In June 2019, he concluded his career in the Netherlands with a concert in the NTR ZaterdagMatinee with Bruckner's Seventh Symphony.

Bernard Haitink

Bernard Haitin - Photo by Simon van Boxtel

Radio Philharmonic Orchestra

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