A new biography of the Dutch conductor Anton Kersjes suggests that he was running neck and neck with Bernard Haitink for public acclaim at the Concertgebouw in the 1960s.
Kersjes (1923-2004) founded his own orchestra, the Kunstmaandorckest, later known as the Amsterdam Philharmonic. He said of Haitink: ‘He stimulates me to work harder.’ He invested heavily on Dutch talent through a fund established with his wife, Margaret, who inherited a cocoa fortune.
It may be that great wealth took the edge of Kersjes’s ambition. He conducted less as he grew older and lost his fame.
Bernard Haitink, still conducting, will turn 90 next week.