This 2019 performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No.7 was part of Bernard Haitink’s farewell concerts before his official retirement.
The Dutch conductor retired in June of 2019 at the age of 90, after a 65-year conducting career.
The symphony was one of Haitink’s “most beloved works” and he performed it with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic (NPO) — the ensemble he conducted his first public concert with when he was 25 years old.
The farewell concerts were played in the Netherlands, with the live CD recording made at Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, as part of the NTR Saturday Matinee Series.
“Haitink gave his last concert this weekend,” the Concertgebouw posted on social media afterwards. “One more time he stood in front of [NPO], where his career once began. After about 2000 times on the podium he said goodbye to The Concertgebouw and the Dutch audience. Legendary, emotional and unforgettable.”
Born and trained in Amsterdam, Haitink’s conducting career took off in 1954 with NPO, where he participated in their conductors’ courses. In 1957, he became NPO’s chief conductor.
Later, he served for 27 years as chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO). He is currently an NPO patron, RCO honorary conductor, honorary member of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic, and conductor emeritus of the Boston Symphony.
His past roles have included music director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, and Chicago Symphony.
Haitink received awards and honors such as Musical America’s Musician of the Year and Gramophone Lifetime Achievement Award. He was additionally made a Commander of the Order of the Netherlands Lion; honorary Companion of Honour in the UK; and received honorary doctorates from the University of Oxford and the Royal College of Music.
To purchase and listen to the CD, click here.