Bernard Haitink made his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in March 1976, leading Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso, Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, and Mendelssohn’s Third Symphony. After return engagements in 1997 and early 2006, it was announced in April 2006 that Haitink would become the Orchestra’s principal conductor beginning the following season, as the search for a new music director continued. (In February 2004, Daniel Barenboim had announced that he would step down as music director when his contract expired at the end of the 2005–06 season.)
Haitink led his first concerts as principal conductor on October 19, 20, and 21, 2006, in Mahler’s Third Symphony featuring mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, the women of the Chicago Symphony Chorus (prepared by Duain Wolfe), and the Chicago Children’s Choir (prepared by Josephine Lee). In April 2007, the work was the initial release on CSO Resound, the Orchestra’s new, in-house recording label.
During his four-year tenure as principal conductor, Haitink led numerous subscription weeks in addition to concerts at the Ravinia Festival; in Carnegie Hall; and on tour to Europe and Asia, including the Orchestra’s first concerts in China. Additional releases on CSO Resound included Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony; Mahler’s First and Sixth symphonies; Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben and Webern’s Im Sommerwind; Mahler’s Second Symphony, Poulenc’s Gloria, and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe featuring the Chicago Symphony Chorus (prepared by Duain Wolfe); and Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony, which won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance.
Image above: Bernard Haitink leads Mahler’s Third Symphony on October 19, 2006 (Todd Rosenberg photo)
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