Edo de Waart, 80 today

Edo de Waart, 80 today


norman lebrecht

June 01, 2021

Once assistant to Bernard Haitink at the Concertgebouw, De Waart’s career has shuttled between the US and Australasia with episodes in  the Low Countries.

His positions include:

Rotterdam Phil, 1973-79

San Francisco SO,  1977-85

Minnesota Orch, 1986-95

Netherlands Radio 1989-2004

Sydney Symphony, 1993-2003

Hong Kong Phil, 2004-12

Milwaukee SO, 2009-2017

Antwerp Symphony, 2011-16

New Zealand SO, 2016-21.




  • Concertgebouw79 says:

    Important to write also about his years as oboe at the Concertgebouw. I supposed he participated to some great Philips records in the 60’s with Haitink or Szell.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      I first became aware of him as head of the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, in a series of sparkling recordings of Mozart’s music for winds. San Diego is lucky to have him as principal guest conductor. Happy 80th, Maestro!

    • David K. Nelson says:

      And mention of his years as oboe with the Concertgebouw also should bring mention of his time as member, and then conductor, of the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, and those splendid Mozart recordings they made for Philips. I think the earliest de Waart recording with orchestra in my collection, however, might be the Viotti Violin Concerto #22 and a Michael Haydn Concerto in A with Arthur Grumiaux and the Concertgebouw. Still one of the best ways to hear Viotti’s most famous Concerto, and I only wish he and Grumiaux had recorded more of them.

      We in Milwaukee were darned lucky to get so many years with de Waart.

  • Plush says:

    Greatly improved the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. New chairs, new sound with more precision and expression. Bravo!

  • Rachelle Goldberg says:

    I first saw him conducting the Netherlands Wind Ensemble at Dartington in the 70s and also the Concertegebouw. More recently with the Houston Symphony Orchestra.

  • Chris in New York says:

    Let’s not forget that de Waart was also an assistant to Bernstein and led the Netherlands Opera for several years. A distinguished career of a great orchestra builder, more concerned with the music than with stardom. Bravo!

  • R. Brite says:

    Just slightly more posts than wives.

    • David says:

      Didn’t someone get car bumper stickers printed in San Francisco when he was chief there “Honk if you haven’t been married to Edo”? Happy birthday maestro 😉

    • ernestlow says:

      He was previously married to Roberta Alexander, Sheri Greenwald and Ruth Welting!

  • MacroV says:

    I’ve seen DeWaart a couple times:

    – In Connecticut with the Sydney Symphony.
    – In Amsterdam with the Radio Philharmonic
    – In Montreal with the OSM (twice)

    None were performances of a lifetime, but all were wonderful bits of music-making with excellent orchestras. And he probably doesn’t get the credit he should for his time in San Francisco, following Ozawa and when around 1980 it became to some degree a new orchestra – splitting off from the Opera after it moved to Davies Hall. And for championing John Adams and others.

  • fflambeau says:

    A great one. Congratulations.

    “He is Music Director Laureate of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, chief conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, an Artistic Partner with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and music director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. De Waart studied oboe, piano and conducting at the Sweelinck Conservatory, graduating in 1962.”

    I’ve heard him on numerous occasions talk with his successor in Milwaukee, Ken-David Masur, whom he seems to treat as a son. He was a close friend of legendary conductor, Kurt Masur.

  • Gerald says:

    Next week he will conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in four concerts of music by Mozart and Wagner.

  • Piston1 says:

    The ultimate example of a certain kind of 20th-century conducting career, where some extremely technically-gifted conductor goes from one high-paying, high-flying international job to the next, getting hired as an “orchestra-builder” and then never lasting out a decade, moving on to the next extremely lucrative position. Compared to Haitink, Jochum, van Beinum — even the justly-disgraced Mengelberg — does it really amount to anything, other than a healthy bank balance?

  • Patrick Gillot says:

    In Hong Kong we were extremely lucky to have Édouard de Waart and Jaap van Zweden in a quick succession. Thank you Holland!

  • Pedro says:

    I remember hearing Rosenkavalier several years ago at the Bastille. Boring. Luckily we also had Fleming and Graham.