His conducting debut with the Concertgebouw Orchestra was on 7 November 1956, substituting for Carlo Maria Giulini. After the sudden death of Eduard van Beinum, Haitink was named first conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra on 1 September 1959. He became principal conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1961, and shared that position jointly with Eugen Jochum until 1963, when Haitink became sole principal conductor. In the early 1980s, Haitink threatened to resign his Concertgebouw post in protest at threatened reductions to its government subsidy by the Dutch government, which could potentially have led to the dismissal of 23 musicians from the orchestra. The financial situation was eventually settled, and Haitink remained as chief conductor until 1988.
In 1999, he was named the honorary conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Outside of the Netherlands, Haitink was principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 1967 to 1979. Haitink also served as the music director at Glyndebourne Opera from 1978 to 1988. He held the same position at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden from 1987 to 2002, where he was praised for his musicianship, but received criticism for the degree of attachment to the entire organisation. From 2002 to 2004, he was chief conductor of the Dresden Staatskapelle. His original contract with Dresden was through 2006, but Haitink resigned in 2004 over disputes with the Staatskapelle's Intendant, Gerd Uecker, on the orchestra's choice of successor. As a guest conductor, Haitink has served as principal guest conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1995 to 2004, when he took on the new title of conductor emeritus.
In addition, he has appeared with l'Orchestre National de France and London Symphony Orchestra. In the early 2000s, he recorded the complete Beethoven and Brahms symphony cycles with the London Symphony Orchestra live in concert; the releases were part of the orchestra's influential venture into self-produced recordings on the "LSO Live" label. The Beethoven cycle in particular won several awards. Haitink has also continued his long associations with the Vienna Philharmonic and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Haitink is an honorary member of the Berlin Philharmonic. In April 2006, after an acclaimed two-week engagement in March 2006 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), the CSO appointed Haitink to the newly created position of principal conductor, effective as of the 2006-2007 season. The duration of the contract is four years. Haitink had declined an offer from the CSO to be music director, citing his age. With respect to this contract, Haitink stated that "every conductor, including myself, has a sell-by date." In 1977, he was awarded an honorary knighthood in the Order of the British Empire (KBE). In 2002, he was created an honorary Companion of Honour (CH).
Musical America named Haitink its 2007 Musician of the Year. Haitink has conducted a wide variety of repertoire, with the complete symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, Dmitri Shostakovich, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and the complete piano concertos of Beethoven and Brahms with Claudio Arrau notable among his recordings. In November 2006, the CSO announced a new radio and recording initiative, the first CD recording release of which was taken from Haitink's performances with the CSO in October 2006 of the Symphony No. 3 of Gustav Mahler. This recording was released in May 2007. Haitink formally stated in a 2004 article that he would no longer conduct opera, but he made exceptions in 2007, directing three performances of Parsifal in Zurich in March and April and five of Pelléas et Mélisande in Paris (Théâtre des Champs-Élysées) in June.
He stated in 2004 that he did not plan to conduct again at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. However, an April 2007 announcement stated that Haitink would return to the Royal Opera in December 2007, with the same Zurich production of Parsifal, and he fulfilled this engagement. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more