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Herbert Blomstedt’s Dream Began When He Heard Classical Music on the Radio

Herbert Blomstedt has conducted orchestras all over the world.

Conductor Herbert Blomstedt’s life has been fueled by music for over eight decades. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, he says an early listening experience was the spark.

Conductor Herbert Blomstedt talks with WRTI's Susan Lewis about how music relates to the rest of life.

Herbert Blomstedt conducts The Philadelphia Orchestra in a concert featuring Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique on WRTI on Sunday, April 5th at 1 PM on 90.1 and streaming online, and Monday, April 6th at 7 PM on HD-2 and our classical stream.

That was the most beautiful music I had ever heard. I dreamt of that sound.

Radio script:

[MUSIC: Reger, Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Mozart]

Susan Lewis: In 1935, on vacation in the woodlands of Sweden, seven-year-old Herbert Blomstedt listened every Sunday morning to concert broadcasts on his grandparents' radio.

Herbert Blomstedt: And once they played a piece I had played on the piano. [Sings] And here it was for orchestra. And I thought, it sounds very wonderful!

[MUSIC: Reger, Variations on a Theme by Mozart]

SL: The sounds were Max Reger’s Variations on a Theme by Mozart played by the Dresden Staatskapelle.

HB: That was the most beautiful music I had ever heard. I dreamt of that sound. I didn’t dream of standing in front of that orchestra, but it happened 30 years later. I was music director of that orchestra. So even without some special dreams, sometimes unexpected things happen.

SL: Blomstedt was also music director of the San Francisco Symphony, as well as orchestras in Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. He has recorded extensively, and guest conducts all over the world.

HB: I think music is the best expression of all facets of life. Extreme sadness, despair, comfort, trust, hope, love, and peace can be expressed in music. It makes music such a rich, emotional, and intelligent experience.