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Just in: Haitink is named patron of near-doomed orchestra

The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra narrowly survived this year’s onslaught of government cuts. It was the band that launched Bernard Haitink’s career back in 1954 and he has decided to climb back on its masthead in a bid to secure its survival through the next few tough years. Good move, sir!

Haitink_LFO0046P-lowresphoto: Georg Anderhub/Lebrecht Music&Arts

Press release


Hilversum, 20 December 2012


Bernard Haitink patron of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra

Celebration of 60-year career as a conductor with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014


The renowned conductor Bernard Haitink has accepted a position as patron offered to him by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. After the economic cut-backs were announced by the government in the autumn of 2010, Bernard Haitink worked to promote the ensembles of the Netherlands Broadcasting Music Centre (MCO) and specifically to ensure the survival of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. The current chief conductor of the orchestra, Markus Stenz, feels very honoured that Bernard Haitink has accepted the patronage, viewing it as recognition of the special position of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.


Bernard Haitink started his impressive career in 1954 with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, conducting his first concert before an audience on 19 July of that year. Later (in 1957) he was appointed chief conductor of the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.


This means that in 2014 that particular concert will have taken place 60 years ago. Bernard Haitink and the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra will observe this special 60th anniversary in a way yet to be announced.


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  1. I love Bernard Haitink! The man is fourscore and three years old, and he is “going home”. That is not only impressive, but beautiful. I hope the man lives to be one hundred and nine years old so we can hear his twenty-fifth anniversary concert with his first orchestra.

  2. The BSO and most of the patrons I know in Boston wished he had been our conductor, when Steinberg died and left us in the early seventies. He was asked, as was Colin Davis. I always make sure I can attend when they come back to conduct. The orchestra shines for them.

  3. Good for him.

    But, before we get too overwhelmed, I think it high time some of these top conductors with massive fees and salaries actually returned some of the cash they have made from these institutions, who have paid them millions over their careers, and without whom they would be nothing. Especially considering they often earn more than the whole orchestra in one night.

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