The Maestro Sings, Speaks, Delights

by Jay Nordlinger

My guest on a new Q&A is Herbert Blomstedt, the venerable Swedish conductor. Actually, he was born in America, in 1927, to Swedish parents. The family returned to Sweden when the conductor-to-be was two. He has conducted all over the world, with tenures in Dresden, San Francisco, and elsewhere.

His dad was a Seventh-day Adventist missionary. Maestro Blomstedt is of this same faith, and does not rehearse on Saturdays. He once told an interviewer — I love this statement — “Really, there’s nothing so sensational about being religious. A great many people are.”

Maestro Blomstedt is guest-conducting the New York Philharmonic this week, and I sat down with him in his dressing room at Lincoln Center. We talked about his upbringing, his relationships with composers — especially his bond with Beethoven — and many other things.

He does a little singing in this podcast, to make musical points. That is one of the delights of this hour. The whole hour is a delight, featuring a rare artist and human being. The music-minded will like it especially, I’m pretty sure. But who knows? It’s available to all. Blomstedt is a communicator to all.

Again, the Q&A is here.

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