Portrait Herbert Blomstedt

Herbert Blomstedt

© J. M. Pietsch
General Management

Noble, charming, sober, modest. Such qualities may play a major role in human coexistence and are certainly appreciated. However, they are rather atypical for extraordinary personalities such as conductors. Whatever the general public’s notion of a conductor may be, Herbert Blomstedt is an exception, precisely because he possesses those very qualities which seemingly have so little to do with a conductor's claim to power. That he disproves the usual clichés in many respects should certainly not lead to the assumption that he does not have the power to assert his clearly defined musical goals. Anyone who has attended Herbert Blomstedt’s rehearsals and experienced his concentration on the essence of the music, the precision in the phrasing of musical facts and circumstances as they appear in the score, the tenacity regarding the implementation of an aesthetic view, is likely to have been amazed at how few despotic measures were required to this end. Basically, Herbert Blomstedt has always represented that type of artist whose professional competence and natural authority make all external emphasis superfluous. His work as a conductor is inseparably linked to his religious and human ethos, and his interpretations combine great faithfulness to the score and analytical precision, with a soulfulness that awakens the music to pulsating life. In the more than sixty years of his career, he has acquired the unrestricted respect of the musical world.

Born in the USA to Swedish parents and educated in Uppsala, New York, Darmstadt and Basel, Herbert Blomstedt gave his conducting debut in 1954 with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and subsequently served as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic, the Swedish and Danish Radio Orchestras and the Staatskapelle Dresden. Later, he became Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Chief Conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig. His former orchestras in San Francisco, Leipzig, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Dresden as well as the Bamberg Symphony and the NHK Symphony Orchestra all honoured him with the title of Conductor Laureate. Since 2019, he is a Honorary Member of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Herbert Blomstedt holds several Honorary Doctorates, is an elected member of the Royal Swedish Music Academy and was awarded the German Great Cross of Merit with Star. Over the years, all leading orchestras around the globe have been fortunate to secure the services of the highly respected Swedish conductor. At the high age of 95, he continues to be at the helm of all leading international orchestras with enormous mental and physical presence, verve and artistic drive.

11. June 2023 - 11:00

Hamburg, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg - Großer Saal

Johannes Brahms: Konzert für Violine und Orchester D-Dur op. 77
Carl August Nielsen: Symphonie Nr. 5 op. 50 F 97

Info & Tickets

17. June 2023 - 20:00

Bad Kissingen, Regentenbau

Franz Adolf Berwald: Symphonie Nr. 4 "Naive"
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Symphonie Nr. 3 a-moll op. 56, 'Schottische'

Info & Tickets

18. June 2023 - 17:00

Bamberg, Konzerthalle Bamberg

Franz Adolf Berwald: Symphonie Nr. 4 "Naive"
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Symphonie Nr. 3 a-moll op. 56, 'Schottische'

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  • "Niemand, der nicht Respekt empfunden hätte für die Eleganz einer Alterswürde, die nichts vorgibt, was nicht ist. Und wie er dann dirigierend auf dem Stuhl saß, wie er flog mit der Musik, ein schwebender Göttervogel am strahlenden Himmel der Nacht! Wie filigran, fein und transparent, hervorgebracht mit nichts als den Fingern und diesem hellwachen Geist und bezwingender Menschenfreundlichkeit so jugendfrisch wie am ersten Tag sein Schubert zum Leuchten kam! ... Es wurde einem ganz pathetisch zumute, denn alt und jung wurden eins und wurden reine Menschlichkeit in einer Musik über allen Worten. Es war zum Niederknien. So sehr, dass am Ende im Saal alle standen. Für Schubert, gestorben mit 31. Für Herbert Blomstedt, bald 96. Für eine Utopie, die plötzlich fast erreichbar wirkte: Eine Welt ohne Gegensätze, versöhnt in der Schönheit der Menschlichkeit."
  • "Blomstedt lässt ausmusizieren, ausbreiten, verweilen in der idealen Welt dieser Bilder evozierenden Sinfonie. Weil es ihm aber gleichzeitig gelingt, mit dem Orchester Spannungsbögen hin zu Entrückung, Verdichtung, Steigerung und Stillstand zu ziehen, trat der Umstand allseitiger Bannung ein. Die berühmte Stecknadel, man hätte sie fallen hören. […] Letztlich leitet Blomstedt in Ehrfurcht all seine Vorgaben aus dem Wert der Musik an sich ab und daraus, dass der kostbare Moment des Erklingens unwiederbringlich ist. So kam das Denkwürdige, Auratische dieses Münchner Abends zustande. Eine Krönung – nicht nur für Bruckner."
    Rüdiger Heinze: "95 und kein bisschen dirigiermüde", in: Abendzeitung, 17.1.23
  • „Under Blomstedt, the music seemed to be fully alive and of the moment, and he did press that vigor through the orchestra. […] The performance had the mark of the conductor’s experience. The playing had an energy and foucs that flowed, powerful but effortless. One appreciated the artistry of how the conductor shaped each phrase, the subtle pushing and pulling, and as these accumulated one felt their effect unfold as the shape of each movement came into view and finished with great satisfaction.”
  • Blomstedt’s conception is expansive, distilling a breathtaking stillness: Schubert as visionary, dreaming the Romantic symphony into being. ... Blomstedt’s Eighth and Ninth, ... infuse a lifetime’s collected wisdom, experience and affection into a rather special recording.
    David Threasher, Gramophone, 09/2022
  • The music-making of elderly conductors can sometimes be either lofty or slow, sometimes both. Neither quality applies to Blomstedt. ...his conduting in old age radiates both flow and glow. Blomstedt does not force or underline the music, he releases it. But the attentiveness to pulse, phrasing and dynamics are unflagging. There is something to learn from his handling of every transition in the score.
    The Guardian
    Martin Kettle, The Guardian, 28.05.2022
  • Blomstedt ist das genaue Gegenteil eines Manipulators. Er setzt auf Unmittelbarkeit, verzichtet auch gern auf den Stab, dirigiert am liebsten ohne Pult - auf Augenhöhe, nahbar. Mit seiner menschlichen Offenheit beim Musizieren erreicht er die Herzen. Gerade die Verletzlichkeit des Alters hat diese kommunikative Stärke noch sichtbarer gemacht.
    Bayerischer Rundfunk
    Bernhard Neuhoff, Bayerischer Rundfunk, 04.06.2022
  • His conducting strives to create a space in which the numinous world can be accessed right here on Earth. And even while performing, he seems to find an almost boyish sense of wonder in the art form's elemental radiance. Many musicians talk the talk of humbly serving music, but Blomstedt appears to mean it. He has lived this approach. And orchestras can tell the difference.
    Boston Globe
    Jeremy Eichler, Boston Globe, 18.02.2022

Lothar Schacke

Lothar Schacke

Director, General Management
+49 89 44488790
Eva Oswalt

Eva Oswalt

Operations Manager
+49 89 44488796