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Bernard Johan Herman Haitink CH KBE (born March 4, 1929) is a Dutch conductor.
Haitink was born in Amsterdam and studied music at the conservatoire there. He played the violin in orchestras before taking courses in conducting under Ferdinand Leitner in 1954 and 1955. He became Second Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Union Orchestra in 1955. He took the post of Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in 1957. His conducting debut with the Concertgebouw Orchestra (now the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) was on November 7, 1956, substituting for an indisposed Carlo Maria Giulini. After the sudden death of Eduard van Beinum, Haitink was named 'First Conductor' or the Concertgebouw Orchestra on 1 September 1959. He became Chief Conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1961, and shared that position jointly with Eugen Jochum until 1963 (other reports have stated 1964). Haitink then served as sole Chief Conductor until 1988. In 1999, he was named the Honorary Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
He 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 and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden from 1987 to 1998. From 2002 to 2004 he was chief conductor of the Dresden Staatskapelle. In April 2006, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra announced that Haitink would be the CSO's new Principal Conductor beginning with the start of the 2006-2007 season, in September 2006. Haitink is an Honorary Member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1995-2004, when he took on the new title of Conductor Emeritus.
As a guest conductor, the orchestras with which Haitink has appeared the most frequently in the recent past are the Orchestre National de France and London Symphony Orchestra, in addition to his long associations with the Vienna Philharmonic and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestras.
In 1977 he was awarded an honorary knighthood in the Order of the British Empire (KBE) and in 2002 he was created an honorary Companion of Honour (CH).
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 and the complete piano concertos of Beethoven and Brahms with Claudio Arrau notable among his recordings.
Haitink has five children from his first marriage to Marjolein Snijders. He and his fourth wife, Patricia, have a home in Switzerland.
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