Bernard Haitink at 90

The everlasting Dutch conductor is 90 today.

He has stood at the head of major orchestras for 65 years and has announced his plan to take a sabbatical after this summer’s engagements.

Haitink remains not only the epitome of the hard-working maestro but a symbol of renewal. He takes a keen interest in students who attend his masterclasses and has been instrumental in furthering several young careers.

Happy birthday, Bernard, and many more!

share this

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
  • A great, calm maestro. But that he has stuck it out all that time, is also because he has been 90 for a very long time.

  • And the danger is that with the inevitable, impending disappearance of these master conductors, a culture of a certain musicianship, style, and class will disappear with them. Happy Birthday to Mr Haitink. I believe Blomsted is also 90. Amazing. May these two celebrate many more.

  • Happy Birthday, Maestro! Thank you for the years of great concerts you have given us in Boston. We’re all hoping that your sabbatical is not permanent!

  • After Previn‚Äôs death last week, only three great conductors from the 1920‚Äôs remain in activity. Blomstedt ( born in 1927 ), D√≥hnanyi and Haitink ( both born in 1929 ). Haitink is my favourite of the three. In fact he is my favourite living conductor tout court.

  • Happy Birthday Maestro! May you live long and remain in good health, so that you can continue to share the joy of music with all of us!

    Incidentally, last night I got the ticket for the Barbican concert celebrating Haitink’s 90’s birthday, which will take place later in March. Dvorak’s Violin Concerto with Isabelle Faust followed by Mahler’s 4th Symphony sound irresistible! There will be the same soprano who sang with Fisher and the Budapest Orchestra last summer at the Proms – she was really good.

    I enjoyed many performances by Maestro Haitink and the Boston Symphony Orchestra many years ago. He is definitely one of my favorite conductors! Happy birthday – as another commentator observed, they don’t make them like this any more.

  • Thank you for posting this rehearsal video. Love the sound.

    I believe the young cellist at the front row at the edge of the podium (0:51) is the great Anner Bylsma, who went on to become a towering figure of the period performance movement.

    • 50 per cent of them are not Dutch, but I imagine many of them have taken the trouble to learn the language. I also suppose some haven’t, as it is so easy to get by in English in the Netherlands.

        • Indeed. The whole orchestra speaks English and newcomers, also if they are Dutch, are requested to communicate exclusively in English. Also their contract is in English, and toilet signs in the backstage spaces as well. Players who, in a moment of linguistic abandon, accidentally descend in uttering Dutch words, see a considerable reduction on their salary slip next month, and if they happen to be a string player, they are also put at the back of the group for 2 weeks. The reason why the KCO players earn so much less than comparable orchestral players at international top orchestras, is because the Dutch players so often cannot resist the temptation to speak their mother tongue at rehearsels.

  • Happy Birthday Maestro!

    We need more conductors like him. I’m forever grateful to be in many of his concerts with Concertgebouw, Boston and New York.

  • I was lucky enough to hear Haintink conduct Parsifal at the ROH about 10 years ago, with Petra Lang as Kundry and Willard White as Klingsor. An unbelievably good performance in which Haitink got more from the orchestra and singers than anyone else I’ve ever heard. A characteristically unfussy and deeply thoughtful reading. If only the director had taken a similar approach…

  • I think he is the greatest living conductor…
    that’s just me.
    It shows that If you have something in your life that you really love doing, that you often live a very long life.

  • He’s truly a living legend!! And in my opinion – World’s best conductor!! Happy birthday Mr. Haitink!

  • “Gentlemen, of course your tempo is better than mine, but you’re with 100 and have 100 different ones… Let’s rather have one bad tempo than 100 good ones.” – Translation form the video. Great example of his humble nature; van harte gefeliciteerd, maestro!

  • Happy birthday maestro. I count myself very fortunate to have seen him several times(including my 1st ring cycle at Covent Garden)

  • ==‚ÄúGentlemen, of course your tempo is better than mine,

    This is like the great Colin Davis line to an orchestra

    “Please don’t rush, how am I supposed to keep up with you ?”

  • The last great Dutch conductor to continue the tradition in Amsterdam. Edo de Waart had some promise early on , but failed to reach that level unfortunately.

  • I heard Maestro Haitink in San Francisco on one of his tours with the Concertgebouw Orchestra.
    The program was uncompromising: the Mahler 7th Symphony.
    No overtures, no concertos, no intermission, no encores. Just the Mahler 7th.
    I was so stunned by the brilliance, profundity, and – my God, the sound! – of the performance that I was unable to applaud. I could barely speak for the rest of the evening.
    It will always remain as one of the most significant musical experiences of my life.
    Happy Birthday, dear, dear, Maestro Haitink !!!!

  • >