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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Queen honours conductor Haitink
Bernard Haitink
Haitink is leaving his post at the Royal Opera House
The Queen has awarded Dutch-born conductor Bernard Haitink an honorary Companion of Honour for services to music.

Mr Haitink, who is considered one of the world's greatest conductors, has been musical director at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden since 1988.


Bernard Haitink is one of the great conductors of our time

Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary
He is now set to relinquish the post, and will give his farewell performances on 11 and 13 July.

Commenting on the announcement of the award, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: "Bernard Haitink is one of the great conductors of our time. But that is only half of the story.

"His commitment to the Royal Opera House, and his support for British composers and artists is unwavering. I was proud to have formally recommended him for this award."

Dutch history

Bernard Haitink was born in Amsterdam in 1929 and began his career with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic.

He first toured Britain with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1959.

He went on to become Principal Conductor and Artistic Director at the London Philharmonic. In 1977, he made his debut at the Royal Opera House.
Amanda Roocroft
Haitink helped singer Amanda Roocroft

He has also appeared at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh Festival.

His commitment to his performers is legendary.

Mr Haitink has championed such young singers as Amanda Roocroft, Bryn Terfel, Roberto Alagna and Angela Ghiorghiu.

This is not the first time the conductor's accomplishments have been honoured.

Mr Haitink was awarded an honorary KBE in 1977.

See also:

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