By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
His family confirmed that Haitink died Thursday at his home in London, aged 92, after a life-leading renowned orchestra in London, Amsterdam, Chicago, and Dresden.
Heitink, whose career spanned 65 years, won many awards and was a significant figure in the Dutch and British classical music scene.
Even in his final months at the podium, his performances with the London Symphony Orchestra were described as “ravishing.”
Haitink made more than 450 recordings, and commentators said he saw his job to embrace orchestras without suffocating them.
His management company said that one of the most celebrated conductors of his generation had died peacefully at his home.
Born in Amsterdam in 1929, he started his musical career as a violinist after spending much of his childhood under Nazi occupation.
The Nazi era was particularly frightening for Haitink as his mother, Anna, was half-Jewish. His father, Willem, a civil servant, was held for three months in a concentration camp with about 100 others as retaliation after a Nazi bookshop was bombed.
It was in the Netherlands where Bernard Haitink forged his reputation as a conductor in the still tricky postwar era.
His big break came with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic orchestra, and within six years, he was asked to take charge of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.
For 27 years, he was chief conductor, famed for his performances of Mahler and Bruckner. The Concertgebouw said on Friday it mourned the loss of its “beloved, honorary conductor.”
“When he takes up the baton, it’s as though the electricity is switched on,” his wife Patricia once told media. “When it’s over, he’s confronted with himself again.”
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