Born in the U.S. to Swedish parents, the now 87-year-old HERBERT BLOMSTEDT began his musical education at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and at the University of Uppsala. He later studied conducting at the Juilliard School in New York, contemporary music in Darmstadt, and renaissance and baroque music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. He worked with Igor Markevitch in Salzburg and Leonard Bernstein in Tanglewood.
60 years ago, in February 1954, Herbert Blomstedt made his debut as conductor with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. He has served as chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic and the Swedish and Danish Radio Orchestras. From 1975 to 1985 he was chief conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden and toured over 20 European countries, the U.S., and Japan. He continues his collaboration with this orchestra and was awarded their Golden Badge of Honour in 2007.
Herbert Blomstedt is Conductor Laureate of the San Francisco Symphony, where he served as Music Director from 1985 to 1995. Throughout his tenure he and the Symphony repeatedly appeared to critical acclaim at major European concert venues and festivals including Edinburgh, Salzburg, Munich, and Lucerne. From 1996 to 1998, Maestro Blomstedt was Music Director of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg. In 1998 he assumed the position of Music Director of the Gewandhausorchester in Leipzig, a post which he held until 2005. As Honorary Conductor of this orchestra, he returns to Leipzig regularly. Four more orchestras awarded him the title of Honorary Conductor: NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan, the Danish National Symphony, the Swedish Radio Symphony, and the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to these commitments, he continues guest conducting the world's most pre-eminent orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 2011, a late debut saw him performing with the Vienna Philharmonic; this was the beginning of a regular collaboration which was continued on a cruise and and with concerts in Vienna and at the Salzburg Festival; further concerts are being planned.
Herbert Blomstedt’s extensive discography includes over 130 works with the Dresden Staatskapelle, among them all the symphonies of Beethoven and Schubert, as well as the complete orchestral works of Carl Nielsen with the Danish Radio Symphony. With the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra he recorded exclusively for Decca; several of the numerous recordings received major awards; the complete cycles of the symphonies of Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen enjoy reference standard. In 2014, Decca released a 15-CD box The San Francisco Years, offering a representative selection of Herbert Blomstedt’s tenure in San Francisco.
Several labels have documented his collaboration with the Gewandhausorchester. For Decca, he recorded works of Brahms, Bruckner, Hindemith, Mendelssohn and Richard Strauss; other releases include Sandström’s High Mass for Deutsche Grammophon and Mendelssohn’s Elijah for RCA Red Seal. The German label querstand offers a selection of live concert recordings covering his tenure in Leipzig; a box set of the complete Bruckner symphonies was released in 2012 to much critical acclaim and also won an International Classical Music Award. His most recent release for this label is Beethoven’s Missa solemnis.
Herbert Blomstedt received several Honorary Doctorates and is an elected member of the Royal Swedish Music Academy. In 2003 he was awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit.