All of us at Askonas Holt salute our senior conductor, Bernard Haitink, who celebrates his 85th birthday today. Bernard has been a Harold Holt and subsequently an Askonas Holt artist for over fifty years. He is still at the height of his powers; in short one of the world’s greatest conductors. A living Legend!
During 2014, landmarks abound for Bernard Haitink. In addition to celebrating his birthday, he will mark next week (13,14 and 15 March) the 50th anniversary of his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker; an orchestra with which he has an especially close relationship, having conducted them almost every season since 1964. His programme will consist of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony; preceded by Mozart’s piano concerto K271, played by a good colleague and friend of the Haitinks, Emanuel Ax. Later in the season he will conduct at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert to mark his professional debut in 1954.
The Royal Opera House is dedicating their 17th March performance of ‘Die Frau ohne Schatten’ to Haitink who of course was the Music Director of Covent Garden from 1987 to 2002. Then later this month, he will conduct Beethoven’s ‘Missa Solemnis’ with the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich.
And so the rest of the year unfolds. Tours to the Lucerne Easter and Summer Festivals with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Visits to London Barbican, Amsterdam and the Salle Pleyel in Paris, also with the COE. The opening concert of the 2014 Salzburg Summer Festival; Haydn’s Creation with the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra. Back in Salzburg the following week for Bruckner 5 again with the BR Orchestra. Two weeks with the New York Philharmonic in May. London concerts with the LSO, plus a trip to Madrid with them.
Bernard Haitink feels a very special bond with young aspiring conductors; this year, his annual Conductor Academy at the Lucerne Easter Festival attracted over 250 applications for a class of 30. Every year he works with the conductors class at the Royal College of Music in London. He derives great pleasure from giving back some of the experience he has accumulated over six decades of conducting in the top flight.
Many congratulations Bernard! Here’s to the next decade! Thank you for all the wonderful concerts you have given us.
MCW and all at Askonas Holt