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Bernard Haitink is wrongly pigeonholed as an Austro-German specialist. There's much more to this great conductor than that

By Martin Kettle   April 2009

If I was the sort of person who kept a record of every concert I have ever been to—and I’m not—I’d have a pretty good idea that the conductor whose work I have heard more often than any other would be Bernard Haitink. He marked his 80th birthday in March with two London concerts by the Royal Concertgebouw orchestra of Amsterdam; the dates had been blocked out in my diary for months.

You would have to be nearly as old as Haitink to remember an era when the Dutchman was not a central figure—arguably the central figure of his age—in…

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