Haitink suffers Chicago fall

Haitink suffers Chicago fall


norman lebrecht

October 26, 2018

The veteran conductor was reported in the Chicago Tribune to have collapsed on stage last night after Beethoven’s second piano concerto. He recovered quickly and will continue his series.

The Chicago Symphony has just issued the following statement:

Following the end of last night’s performance, Maestro Haitink did not in fact “collapse,” but he did lose his footing on the step back up to the podium during the applause. Thankfully, there was no damage done and he looks forward to the remaining CSO performances.

Haitink had a similar fall in Amsterdam four months ago and recovered very quickly.



  • NYMike says:

    The older we get, the more balance problems we have.

  • Dave says:

    He fell after Bruckner 6 finished. During the ovations, he seemed to fall when he was going to take the podium to acknowledge the audience. Fortunately some violin players, who were also standing for the applause, were able to keep him from taking a hard hit. He still landed on the floor and laid there for a minute or so, but it was a huge relief when he was able to stand up and walk out with the help of someone from the CSO stage staff. He returned on his own to loud cheers, and that was that. It was a scary moment! Very glad he’s reportedly doing fine.

  • opus 131 says:

    He did not fall after the Beethoven, which was before intermission. He fell after a brilliant performance of Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony. Despite his age and frailty, he is still in the first rank of conductors world wide. Happily, he was able to receive well wishers after the concert.

  • Jonathan Dunsby says:

    They’re different, no ? Amsterdam was a fall, this was a missed step. Rather a dramatic headline I think

  • Rgiarola says:

    Take care Maestro!

  • Tough old bird. Love the guy. Stay well, Maestro. Legend.

  • Donald Hansen says:

    He tripped on the podium step following Bruckner’s 6th Symphony, not after the Beethoven which had been performed earlier in the evening.

  • sordino says:

    Maestro Haitink fell at the end of the Bruckner Symphony 6, the last work on the program, not the Beethoven. He tripped on the first step of the conductor’s podium while taking his second bow. From the perspective behind the orchestra, he seemed to be saying “I’m fine, I’m fine”, whether in Dutch, English or whatever language he was speaking. He was helped off stage, and appeared immediately after for two more bows, this time triumphantly brandishing his walking cane above his head to show he was fine.

  • Philip Farina says:

    Leonard Bernstein did a belly flop off the podium after a performance with the Vienna Philharmonic in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall around 1976.

    • kevin r. says:

      Incorrect. It was Feb. 1984. I was there in Orchestra Hall and saw the whole thing. You have everything right except the date. I still have the program. The concert was Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony and the Brahms Second Symphony. He was rushed to the hospital that evening with a minor bruise to the sternum from his gold medallion necklace. And it was indeed pretty close to a belly flop.

  • Olassus says:

    Glass of water needed beforehand.

  • Philip says:

    A second fall of this nature is worrying and I’m sure all wish Haitink well. He has, in truth, been shaky on his legs for some time. Cannot those concert halls who secure his services make it easier for him? No-one wishes to see another, possibly worse, fall. Didn’t Karajan have some platform assistance in his last years?

    • Una says:

      He’s nearly 90! That is what happens when you get old and get as far as 90, conductor or not. Wonderful man and we are so blessed to still have him so active for his age and he has the will to get up there and be there.

  • Anson says:

    Well, suffering a Chicago fall is better than suffering a Chicago winter.

    All kidding aside, warm wishes to Maestro Haitink, who I had the pleasure of seeing in Chicago when he had regular duties there in the interregnum between Barenboim and Muti.

  • BP says:

    The maestro should consider foregoing podiums completely, these falls are dangerous at his age.

  • Pedro says:

    I hope he is fine. He is the greatest living conductor. I have tickets for his concerts in Amsterdam ( December 16, January 24 and June 15 ), Salzburg ( January 26 ) and London ( March 21 ) and expect to go to Munich on February 21 and to Luxembourg on March 5.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      I honestly wonder how much longer he will continue to conduct. Those of us who enjoy him should appreciate him while we still can.

  • Been Here Before says:

    At Andras Schiff’s recital at the Wigmore Hall two weeks ago I passed by Maestro Haitink during the intermission. I was surprised at how frail he appeared, leaning heavily on his wife.

    Maestro Haitink is one of my favorite conductors and I wish him all the best with all my heart. All of us who admire him would like to see him conduct for many more years – however, we have to realize that this is a 90 year old man and even great artists like him can’t beat their age. I wish him good health and to look after himself.

  • Spenser says:

    Best wishes, Maestro….
    May you have a long, happy, and fall-free life!

  • stickles says:

    I am happy to report that Maestro Haitink finished his CSO series Tuesday night with a towering Bruckner 6, an even more impressive account that the previous Thursday evening. He entered the stage without a cane, but used one as he exited. A high stool was provided to him on the podium, as he conducted the inner movements seated. A heartfelt moment followed the Bruckner when the Maestro received a tusch from the brass section. I got some tears in my eyes as well. Best wishes to the Maestro. It is probably wishful thinking to hope to see him again on the podium in North America; sill I have plenty of memories to cherish, last night certainly being one of them.