Congratulations to Bernard Haitink—the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s principal conductor from 2006 until 2010 and a frequent guest conductor—the recipient of this year’s Gramophone magazine award for lifetime achievement!
On the magazine’s website, several of Haitink’s colleagues offered tributes, including Emanuel Ax: “Bernard Haitink has been an inspiration to all of us in the world of music. He has combined never-ending search for truth in the works he conducts with the ability to make each performance sound inevitably right. It has been an incredible privilege for me to share a few steps on his musical journeys, and to witness his devotion and insatiable curiosity for all composers.” And Sir András Schiff added: “Bernard is unique because, of all the conductors I know, he has the least ego. It’s like a breath of fresh air! The way he loves music, and respects and reveres great composers, and how he sees his role, is exactly as it should be: as a medium between the composer and the players and the listeners.”
James Jolly, Gramophone‘s editor-in-chief wrote: “Had Bernard Haitink not conducted another note after stepping down as principal conductor of Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1988, his position as one of the world’s great conductors would have been secure enough. . . . But he went on [and is enjoying a] glorious Indian Summer that shows no sign of drawing to a close. . . . As the Grand Old Man of the conducting world, his love for the music remains palpable and we’re delighted to honor him with this special award.”
Congratulations, Maestro Haitink!