Humble maestro turns 90, still working six days a week

Humble maestro turns 90, still working six days a week


norman lebrecht

July 10, 2017

Herbert Blomstedt will be 90 tomorrow.

A Seventh Day Adventist, he does not work Saturdays.

But for the rest of the week he has rarely an idle moment.

Last week he toured Bruckner’s 5th symphony with the NDR Elbphilharmonie in Lübeck, Rendsburg and Neubrandenburg. Next week he’s with the Bamberg Symphony in Bamberg, Würzburg, St. Stephan Dom in Passau and Bruckner’s old church St. Florian in Linz.

Between August and Christmas he will conduct 36 concerts with the Gewandhaus, Danish National Symphony, NHK, Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio, Swedish Radio and the Vienna Philharmonic.

Happy birthday, Maestro B!



  • Ungeheuer says:

    A resounding Happy Birthday to the Maestro

  • Rgiarola says:

    Happy Bday. He is a real master

  • Alexander says:

    yay 😉

  • MacroV says:

    But he performs on Saturdays, rationalizing that it’s not really work.

    So does he ever not work?

    • Nick says:

      I was going to ask – how can anyone become a major conductor for many, many decades and be able to avoid working on Saturdays? It seems impossible.

      • Suzanne says:

        He did lose concerts periodically in his career when he refused to rehearse on Saturdays. But it did not hurt him in the long run.

        • Chris says:

          He will give concerts on Saturday as he does not consider that work but will not rehearse on that day.

  • Raymond says:

    Seventh Day Adventists observe the Sabbath from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.

  • Kris Helsen says:

    Always thought Haitink at 88 was the oldest still active big name conductor but overlooked Blomstedt

  • Elizabeth says:

    Herbert Blomstedt is one of the most masterful and humble conductors in the world. He is a rare gem, and a wonder to watch in rehearsals as well as in concert. I first met him in Bamberg, and shadowed him during his triumphant return to France with the Orchestre de Paris after a 20-year hiatus. The results were simply mesmerizing. Long live the maestro!

  • David says:

    As a not-too-interesting aside: I heard Maestro Blomstedt conduct the Bamberg Symphony in Buckner 7 about 25 years ago. I remember that concert as the first two movements were really slow, extraordinarily slow. My wife turned to me in the 3rd movement stating that the 3rd movement was a gift from Bruckner, I can’t really disagree.

  • Jean says:

    I believe that Mr. Blomstedt said in an interview recently that he would conduct a concert on Saturday because it is all for God’s glory. He would not consider it as sin but rather as something similar to directing a religious service.