The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has presented the conductor Bernard Haitink with honorary membership of the orchestra. The presentation was made during rehearsals in Austria ahead of concerts at the Salzburg Festival, the Lucerne Festival and at the BBC Proms when the programme will be Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto (with Emanuel Ax) and Bruckner's Seventh Symphony. The announcement also contained the news that Haitink would ‘then end his active conducting career after 65 years’.
Bernard Haitink, who turned 90 in March, first conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in 1972 and has worked with them in concert more than 100 times and recorded with them often. 'This honorary membership is an expression of our deep and long-standing artistic ties. We look back with pleasure upon many great moments together," said Daniel Froschauer, the Vienna Philharmonic's Orchestral Chairman.
Bernard Haitink was given Gramophone's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 and among the tributes we published was one from 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.'
The Vienna Philharmonic/Bernard Haitink Prom is on Tuesday, September 3 at 7.30pm and will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.