Herbert Blomstedt, Laureate Conductor SRSO
Herbert Blomstedt is without a doubt our most successful conductor “export” from Sweden. He has had many prestigious assignments as a Music Director, for example for the Dresden Staatskapelle between 1975 and 1985, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra from 1985 until 1995, the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, as well as for the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1977 until 1983.
Herbert Blomstedt was born in the USA on 11 July, 1927, of Swedish parents. He did his undergraduate studies at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and the University of Uppsala. He continued his conducting studies at Julliard in New York, studied contemporary music in Darmstadt, and early classical music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. He also continued his studies with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein.
In 1954 – 53 years ago! – he made his debut with the Stockholm Philharmonic and has since conducted his way through every epoch with the same unbiased curiosity.
Mr. Blomstedt became Music Director of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He was the Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1977 to 1982. Since then, Mr. Blomstedt has returned regularly to the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Swedish Radio Choir and given us unforgettable concerts.
As the Music Director of Staatskapelle Dresden from 1975 to 1985, he was on more than 20 tours of Europe, the USA, and Japan, and recorded more than 130 pieces.
As a guest conductor, Mr. Blomstedt has led most of the greatest orchestras of the world, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Concertgebouw Orchestra, München Philharmoniker, Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra.
Today he is Conductor Laureate of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, after having served as Music Director there from 1985 until 1995. In 1996 he went to the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg and succeeded Kurt Masur in Gewandhaus in Leipzig for the 1988/1989 season, an assignment which he left at the end of the 2004/2005 season.
Blomstedt has recorded all of the symphonies by Beethoven and Schubert with the Dresden Staatskapelle. He has recorded the complete works of Carl Nielsen with the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Blomstedt is an expert on Franz Berwald’s music and was an active participant in the publication of Berwald’s collected works, and personally responsible for the publishing of Berwald’s Sinfonie Singulière. Mr. Blomstedt has also performed Berwald’s work with his various orchestras around the world and also recorded Berwald.
He has also specialized in the music of Carl Nielsen and recorded all of his symphonies.
While Mr. Blomstedt has devoted much time to the repertoire of the 18th and 19th centuries, he has also done a lot for contemporary music, always showing a great curiosity in it. He has recorded modern music by Norwegian and Danish composers such as Per Nörgård. He has done many recordings of Swedish composers, including Hilding Rosenberg, Anders Eliasson, Ingvar Lidholm, and most recently Sven-David Sandström’s High Mass with the ensembles in Leipzig in 2005.
Mr. Blomstedt is Sweden’s most internationally well-known conductor and has done much to conduct the sound of Swedish music to people in other countries. He led the inaugural concert here at Berwaldhallen in 1979 with Sven Erik Bäck’s newly written composition Vid havets yttersta gräns.
On May 19, 2006, Mr. Blomstedt, alongside Valery Gergiev, was awarded the title of Honorary Conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra