Renowned Western classical music composer Bernard Hatink dies at 92

Dutch conductor Bernard Hattink was widely regarded as the best of his generation (Photo Credit: Tolga Ekmen/AFP)

Dutch conductor Bernard Hattink was widely regarded as the best of his generation (Photo Credit: Tolga Ekmen/AFP)

London: Britain’s Askonas Holt said in a statement late Thursday that the Dutch maestro, honored for his reading of Beethoven, Mahler and Brueckner in a career spanning more than 60 years, died at his home in the presence of his family.

Hattink was known for his complacency despite his stardom and a light touch as a conductor who did not oversee the musical contributions of the orchestra he directed. Born in Amsterdam, Heitink played the violin before learning to conduct in the city, making his debut with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in 1954. In 1956, he took the podium for the first time with the Royal Concertgebou Orchestra before becoming its chief conductor. In a relationship that will last more than two decades.

Hightink became principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1967, a position he would hold for more than a decade. He also had a long relationship with Britain’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he served as music director from 1987 to 2002.

As one of the most distinguished conductors in classical music, he led some of the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic.

Askonas Holt said that Hatink made over 450 recordings and was “a passionate mentor to future generations of conductors, generously giving their time to teaching and masterclasses”. Among the many awards bestowed upon him in an illustrious career, he was the recipient of the French Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and was named Commander of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.

He was married four times and had five children from his first marriage.

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