October 24, 2023

96-Year-Old Adventist Conductor Wins Important Award

Herbert Blomstedt honored with the Opus Klassik Award for his lifetime’s contributions.

Adventistischer Pressedienst, and Adventist Review
Herbert Blomstedt with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. [Photo: Amrei-Marie, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

On October 8, at a gala event at the Berlin concert hall in Berlin, Germany, classical music artists received the Opus Klassik Award. Among the winners was the 96-year-old conductor Herbert Blomstedt, who received the award for his life’s work. The gala was broadcast by the Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF) and is available in the ZDF media library until November 11.

Due to illness, Herbert Blomstedt was unable to accept the award in person. The presenter of the award ceremony, Désirée Nosbusch, wished him a speedy recovery on behalf of those present.

Other winners of this year’s Opus Klassik include Anne-Sophie Mutter, who celebrated her sixtieth birthday this year, the Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, and accordionist Martynas Levickis. Various up-and-coming talents were also among the award winners.

Conductor of Renowned Orchestras for 70 Years

At 96 years of age, Herbert Blomstedt is the oldest internationally performing conductor and his deep devotion to classical music is considered tireless. “Without the spiritual energy of the conductor, music loses soul,” he told the North German Broadcasting Corporation (NDR) in a 2022 interview.

For more than 70 years, Blomstedt has performed with the world’s most renowned orchestras and has become one of the most respected conductors of our time through his interpretation of works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Bruckner. In February 1954, Blomstedt made his debut as a conductor with the Stockholm Philharmonic. He later served as chief conductor of major Scandinavian orchestras such as the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Danish and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestras, the latter until 1983.

From 1975 to 1985 he was chief conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden. For the next ten years, he was music director of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. From 1996 to 1998 he was chief conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg. From 1998 to 2005, he conducted the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig.

Also, in 2023, Blomstedt conducted several concerts in Germany, including in Hamburg, Dresden, Leipzig, Cologne, Bamberg, and the final concert of the Rheingau Music Festival with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig at the Eberbach Monastery near Eltville on September 2. He also conducted in other world renowned cities, including Chicago.

Blomstedt, a lifelong member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is concerned not only about music itself but also about cultivating international cultural relations. He was twice awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2003, he received the Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and on November 10, 2022, the Grand Cross of Merit with Star for his life’s work. Throughout his life, he has received other important awards around the world. The Opus Klassik was a further recognition of his contributions.

The original version of this story was posted on Adventistischer Pressedienst.