Herbert Blomstedt: a timeline

Conductor Herbert Blomstedt wearing tails on stage during concert, audience on the background

Not many conductors have enjoyed a career as extensive as Herbert Blomstedt’s. He was 18 when the Philharmonia was founded, and 23 when the Royal Festival Hall was opened.

Before Herbert Blomstedt joins us again at the Royal Festival Hall on 26 May, we look back at a career like no other.


Born on 11 July in Massachusetts, USA, to Swedish parents


The family moves to Sweden


Starts learning the piano


Starts learning the violin


Philharmonia Orchestra founded – our first concert takes place on 27 October

1945 – 1955

Studies in Stockholm, Uppsala and Salzburg; also spends time at The Juilliard School in New York, and learning from Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood


The Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall opens as part of the Festival of Britain


Makes conducting debut with Stockholm Philharmonic; appointed to his first Principal Conductor post with Norrköping Symphony Orchestra

1962 – 1968

Principal Conductor of Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra

1967 – 1977

Principal Conductor of Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra

1975 – 1985

Principal Conductor of Staatskapelle Dresden

1977 – 1982

Principal Conductor of Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra


Santtu-Matias Rouvali, the Philharmonia’s current Principal Conductor, born in Lahti, Finland

1985 – 1995

Music Director of San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

1996 – 1998

Principal Conductor of NDR Symphony Orchestra


Diego Incertis Sánchez, our Joint Principal Horn, currently the youngest member of the Philharmonia, born in Valladolid, Spain

1998 – 2005

Music Director of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig


Conducts the Philharmonia for the first time, in a performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh


Awarded the Seraphim Medal, one of Sweden’s highest honours, to add to his honours from Germany, Austria and the USA

2016 – 2019

Conducts the Philharmonia in London, Madrid, Canterbury, Basingstoke and Bath


Santtu-Matias Rouvali appointed Principal Conductor of the Philharmonia


Welcome to this week’s concert!

Herbert Blomstedt conducts the Philharmonia on Thursday 26 May at 7.30pm in Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony and is joined by Maria João Pires for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23.


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