Haitink: Concertgebouw were hasty over Gatti’s dismissal

Haitink: Concertgebouw were hasty over Gatti’s dismissal


norman lebrecht

June 15, 2019

From the meastro’s retirement interview in Volkskrant:

‘I think hasty decisions have been made. In addition, I find it worrying that suddenly everyone disappears from the leadership. Gatti gone, director Raes gone, it’s a complete sale. I understand that some of the musicians now want to take charge of the matter. I welcome that, because if the cliché of the cynical orchestra musician does not apply anywhere, it is in Amsterdam. But an orchestra is never unanimous and then you might get thunder again. I especially hope that the artistic quality does not fall. ”

What do you advise?
‘Find a capable director who coordinates well. I have suggested a few names of people I know and trust. The ability of the musicians is great, but they are the tip of an iceberg. There is a lot of work under water that they cannot do themselves.’

Do you have tips for a new chef?
‘I actually think that the job of chief conductor is becoming obsolete. The famous names from the past, Willem Mengelberg and Eduard van Beinum, spent a lot of time in Amsterdam. These days chefs constantly travel from one orchestra to another.’



  • Jean says:

    Wise man

  • trivisani simone says:

    It was a hasty and wrong decision, indeed.

    • Pedro says:

      And Gatti is conducting four works in Rome next season: Vêpres Siciliennes, Capuletti, Rake’s Progress and Oedipus Rex. Good for Rome. Bad for Amsterdam.

  • Pedro says:

    Just off his last Amsterdam concert. A very special occasion. The Dutch audiences are usually restrained in their applause but not today, and justifiedly so. All of us went wild, sensing that a very long era has ended. The performance went smoothly from beginning to end and the orchestra surpassed itself to give to their former conductor the playing he deserved.

  • anon says:

    Would Haitink’s personal life tell us something about his view of women? He has five children from his first wife, but is now on his fourth marriage.

  • Chris says:

    How refreshing to read of an eminent musician talking plain sense about the current (musical) climate, and how he might see a solution to this particular storm.

    • fflambeau says:

      I found the very brief interview to be extremely short on specifics and often contradictory. For instance, he sees the “chief conductor ship” as becoming obsolete (an interesting idea but not developed) but at the same time he has given potential names of successors. And what does “resonates well” mean?

      He is an effective cheerleader for Amsterdam but is that enough?

  • Edgar says:

    From same interview:

    “Anyone who asks for it will immediately receive an annoyed response. ‘Ah, that whole sabbatical thing. Listen, I’m 90. And when I say I’m taking a sabbatical, it’s because I don’t want to say: I’m quitting. I don’t feel like doing all those official farewell things, but the fact is that I won’t be conducting anymore.’

    ‘You stop?’

    ‘But of course.’ “

    Haitink conducted the Radio Philharmonic, the orchestra with which his career began, in a program consisting of Strauss songs and Bruckner Seven, this afternoon (June 15) – his very last appearance on the Concertgebouw podium.

    Check out the playlists on Dutch Radio4, where this concert will soon be added to the list of very worthwhile music performances which have been broadcast: go to https://www.nporadio4.nl/ – then click on the link “Speellijsten” – once on that page, scroll to the bottom, to “Bekijk alle volledige concerten”, and there take your pick.

  • Rgiarola says:

    The voice of a trully seasoned wisdom! Perhaps he also hows it was very expensive besides hasty. All due to acting after hysterical media hype without carrying about evidences, and above all laws.
    Another slap in the face of political correctness medieval behaviour.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Huh? Even Gatti agrees that it was legal and discreet.

      • Rgiarola says:

        Gatti agreed with the reparation values and public statement paid by Concertgebouw, for a NDA deal. Very expensive NDA, in order to avoid another scandal of a huge mistake by Jan Raes. By the way a dismissed ex-manager of the institution, after all. I’m affraid even after the announcement of Gatti return as a guest, political correctness will deny his legal and moral victory.

  • Maria says:

    Chefs? In English? LOL!

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Chefs? Cooking up a storm at the Concertgebouw??

  • Andrew Thorpe says:

    The Concertgebeow should keep their great tradition of music making at all costs.

    • Pedro says:

      I agree. They should bring back Gatti and more often invite Barenboim, Thielemann, Salonen, Muti, Yannick, Mälkki, Mirga, Chailly, Gergiev, Dudamel, MTT, Nelsons, Pappano, Petrenko…

  • Rob says:

    His Bruckner 7 from the late 60s is the greatest ever recorded by any conductor.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    I hope BH will still conduct the planned London Proms concert with Vienna Phil