Bernard Haitink announces retirement

Dutch conductor Bernard Haitink has announced his retirement after starting his career over 60 years ago.

90-year-old Haitink announced that he was taking a sabbatical for the rest of the 2019-20 season after he suffered a heavy fall in June 2018 on stage at The Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He will lead concerts this summer with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in Lucerne and the Vienna Philharmonic at the BBC Proms. He will perform his last concert in Amsterdam on 15 June with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra before officially retiring on 6 September.

Haitink was principal conductor of Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra for four years. During his illustrious career he served as music director for 10 years at Glyndebourne, was music director at London’s Royal Opera House for 15 years and principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2006-10.

He is also an honorary member of the Berlin and Vienna philharmonics, along with being conductor emeritus of  Boston Symphony Orchestra and honorary conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Haitink’s last podium appearances will see him conduct Mahler’s Symphony No 5, Schubert’s Symphony No 5, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4 and Bruckner’s Symphony No 7.

Throughout his career, Haitink has received many awards and honours in recognition of his services to music, including Musical America’s Musician of the Year and the Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been made a Commander of the Order of the Netherlands Lion, and an honorary Companion of Honour in the UK, and received honorary doctorates from the University of Oxford and the Royal College of Music.