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Dutch conductor Haitink threatens to boycott gala concert over book

Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa
Published: Friday September 29, 2006

Amsterdam- Dutch conductor Bernard Haitink is so angry about a biography about him that he is threatening to boycott an event at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw to mark the 50th anniversary of his first appearance as conductor with its orchestra. The daily Volkskrant reported Friday that the Concertgebouw had withdrawn its cooperation over launching the book, "De klank als handschrift" (Sound as Signature) which details the 77-year-old conductor's long career with the Concertgebouw orchestra.

The book will no longer be distributed at a gala event on November 7 at the famous concert hall.

The Volkskrant said it had learnt of the decision from a confidential letter from the authors, historian Jan Bank and musicologist Emile Wennekes.

Bank said he was mystified by the conductor's decision and that interviews with Haitink during the book's preparation had been conducted in a "pleasant atmosphere."

"Haitink is a great artist, but also an impulsive man. I think, if he would just read the text in peace once more, that he would rethink," Bank said.

Xandra Schutte, a director at the publishers Meulenhoff, noted that Haitink did not like to be confronted with details of his past life or even with old recordings of his work.

Haitink was not available for comment.

© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa