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Hardly any other guest conductor has been associated with the Berliner Philharmoniker longer and more consistently than Bernard Haitink. His debut with the orchestra took place only a few months after the opening of the Scharoun-designed Philharmonie, at a time when the orchestra was in a phase of transformation. The Tagesspiegel predicted after this concert: “It could be that a real Beethoven conductor will grow up in him, which the modern concert hall so desperately needs.”
The critic was to be proved right: In the course of a few years, Bernard Haitink developed into a specialist in the works of the First Viennese School. But not only that. Johannes Brahms, Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler became further fixtures in his repertoire. Bernard Haitink was instrumental in the renaissance of Mahler’s music in the 1960s and conducted his symphonies regularly with the Philharmoniker from the late 1980s onwards.
Dutch-born Haitink conducted the orchestra more than 200 times, not only in the Philharmonie Berlin, but also on tour. The recording of their last joint performance in May 2019 of Anton Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony documents an unrepeatable, authentically captured moment – as a reminder of a unique friendship.