Bernard Haitink breaks with the Concertgebouw Orchestra

Dutch conductor Bernard Haitink will no longer conduct his home orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam.

Haitink, who will be 85 on Wednesday, was conductor-in-chief from 1961 to 1988 and has been honorary conductor since 1991.

The world famous conductor told the Parool he is very upset that the orchestra’s management did not involve him in last year’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

‘They totally ignored me and I’m afraid I’m not big enough to ignore the slight,’ he told the paper. ‘I felt humiliated and was embarrassed – for them. They appear to be completely uninterested.’

Haiitink said he tried to hand back his honorary conductor title but was told by the management that was not possible.

His relationship with the musicians in the orchestra remains good. ‘They said: you don’t conduct the management; you conduct us. But if there’s absolutely no communication, then it stops.’


Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation