Show what you want with your technique, hands, and body. Don't talk unnecessarily. Have confidence in the musicians, who are more intelligent than you think. Remember this is not an ego trip. And never forget ... everything begins with the score."
Bernard Haitink imparted his words of wisdom to young conductors in his current home of Lucerne, the quaint Swiss city that's half a day's flight from Chicago, where he conducts that city's premier orchestra. There may be no maestro more loved by his orchestra than Bernard Haitink, who has directed big-name groups worldwide, from Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw to the London Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony. Now, at 78, Haitink leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with unmatched precision, but without‹to his players' relief‹the kind of overanalysis that can bog down many a conductor.
"With Mahler," Haitink simply explains, "the emotions are very much on the surface. The conductor must see beyond that surface, but not presume to think that he knows more than Mahler knew."
This May, Haitink brings his exacting, well-tempered passion to Mahler's "Titan" Symphony on the first of two nights with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. Visits from the CSO are always among the orchestral highlights of the Carnegie Hall season, and Haitink‹who assumed the position of Principal Conductor in 2006‹relishes his work with another top-notch band.
"There are many good orchestras, but not many great orchestras," Haitink says." Chicago is really a great, amazing orchestra."