Maestro, 92: You have to make the best of such crises

Maestro, 92: You have to make the best of such crises


norman lebrecht

March 18, 2020

Herbert Blomstedt, regretting the loss of concerts, has been speaking to a journalist, Georg Rudiger, from his home in Lucerne:

At the age of 92, you belong to the risk group most at risk from the coronavirus. How restricted are you in your life?
Not at all. I live a completely normal life, feel fit and have an uninhibited zest for action.

On Thursday the Berliner Philharmoniker played under Simon Rattle in the empty Berlin Philharmonie – the concert was broadcast free of charge as a live stream in the Digital Concert Hall. What do you make of it?
I think it’s very nice. Many orchestras are now streaming their concerts so that they can reach even more audiences worldwide. In two weeks I will presumably conduct a concert with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm with Mozart’s C minor mass – there will probably be no concert audience either. It’s a little strange, but we’re used to it. The rehearsals also take place without an audience. Nevertheless, we are highly concentrated and look forward to playing with each other.

How does the audience in the hall influence the interpretation?
The basic concept is not changed. But the audience has a very big influence on the concentration of the orchestra. The atmosphere in the hall can vary a lot. Total silence is a tremendous inspiration for us.

Most crises also have a chance. Do you see an opportunity in the corona crisis?
We now have a lot of time to think. You always have to make the best of such crises. Complaining or grieving does not help. Every crisis is an opportunity for improvement…

Read on here.


  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    He is someone I would pay attention to. In his 92 years he would have witnessed some of the most significant crises, including the greatest of all wars.

  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    “every crisis is an opportunity for improvement” -this philosophy has enabled Maestro Blomstedt to live 92 glorious years.

  • Schoenberglover says:

    A living legend, please stay at home and look after yourself rather than risking your health at this difficult time.

    • Tamino says:

      It might very well be that for an energetic soul like him staying at home for too long yields a higher risk than traveling to and performing with other musical souls in empty concert halls.

      • Peter San Diego says:

        The travel is much riskier than the rehearsals, if one takes care not to get too close to the brass (lots of water droplets in the air).

  • Esther Cavett says:

    He is a wonderful man. Bless him !

  • Heini says:

    Can I recommend his recent Bruckner 4 with the Berlin Phil, available free at the moment on the Digital Concert Hall?Wonderful!

  • Steve Proser says:

    Really? They’re going to crowd 200 people together on a stage in two weeks? That seems rather unlikely to me.

  • Ilio says:

    Hope Swedish Radio isn’t planning to put all those musicians at risk by putting them on a crowded stage.