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Bernard Haitink, who was born in Amsterdam, celebrated his 90th birthday in March. It was 65 years ago, in July 1954, that Haitink, who had been trained as a violinist, appeared on the podium for the first time to conduct the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra. He made his debut in 1956 with the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, which appointed him Music Director in 1961. For 27 years he had full responsibility there and is currently Honorary Conductor of the orchestra, with which he last appeared in December 2018 in a program of works by Mozart and Bruckner. Haitink has also held leadership positions with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1967–79), the Glyndebourne Festival (1977–88), the Royal Opera House in London (1987–2002), and the Staatskapelle Dresden (2002–04) and has served as Principal Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (2006–10). As a guest conductor, Haitink regularly conducts the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. His interpretations of Bruckner and Mahler have become benchmarks, but Haitink is equally acclaimed for his performances of Viennese Classicism. In recent years at LUCERNE FESTIVAL, Haitink has collaborated with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in cycles devoted to Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann. He has also been closely associated with the Festival as an educator and, from 2011 to 2018, led an annual master class in conducting at Easter. Haitink is a Knight of the British Empire, a Companion of Honour, and a member of the Order of the House of Orange-Nassau. In 2017 he was named Commander of the Order of the Netherlands Lion. The Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics as well as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe have made him an honorary member. Following this summer, Bernard Haitink will end his career: he will give his final concert on 6 September at LUCERNE FESTIVAL.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 17 August 1966 with the Swiss Festival Orchestra in a program of works by Schubert, Martin, and Mahler.