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Inauguration of Herbert Blomstedt Collection at the Gothenburg University Library


Herbert Blomstedt Herbert Blomstedt, one of the world’s pre-eminent conductors, has donated his collection to Gothenburg University Library. The opening ceremony will take place on Thursday 21 May. Herbert Blomstedt talks about his lifelong commitment, collecting books, entitled Lying head to toe with Shakespeare.

The Herbert Blomstedt Collection is substantial, filling around 500 metres of shelf space. It consists of music literature, sheet music, manuscripts and facsimile editions of old manuscripts as well as works of fiction.

The collection also includes a unique collection of music from the 18th century, which was once housed at the castle Östanå Slott in Sweden’s Uppland province. The collection is open for study and research purposes, and can be searched for in the Library Catalogue. The most valuable materials are kept in the library’s rarities room.

For more information about the Herbert Blomstedt Collection contact senior librarian Anders Larsson: + 46 31–786 1713 or e-mail


The collection reveals Blomstedt’s broad interest in music, art, literature and science. His book collecting has been important in helping him to better understand the cultures and countries he works within, including Norway, Denmark, Germany and the US. The collection begs the question of what influence Blomstedt’s broad cultural interest may have had on his artistic development.

Herbert Blomstedt

Herbert Blomstedt was born in 1927 in Massachusetts, USA, to Swedish parents. After a few years, his family returned to Sweden. He considers Gothenburg, in particular, to be his home town and he received his first training in music here. His violin teacher, Lars Fermæus, who was also a concert leader in the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, had an especially important influence on him.

Blomstedt studied at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and also studied musicology at Uppsala University. He later studied conducting under Igor Markevitch, Leonard Bernstein and others, as well as studying contemporary music in Darmstadt, Germany and baroque music and performance praxis at Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. He made his début with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in 1954.

In 1999, he was appointed an honorary doctor at the University of Gothenburg’s Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts and has assisted in planning the Master’s Programme in Symphonic Orchestra Performance (Swedish National Orchestra Academy) at the university’s Academy of Music and Drama.

World-famous Conductor

Herbert Blomstedt has served as chief conductor for the following orchestras:
1954-1962 Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
1962-1968 Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
1967-1977 Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra
1975-1985 Dresden Staatskapelle
1977-1982 Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
1985-1995 San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
1996-1998 NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg
1998-2005 Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

He is also an honorary conductor for a number of orchestras and has received many prizes and awards. In 2012, Blomstedt received the Seraphim Medal from Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf in honour of his ‘most outstanding services to Swedish music’. He has served as an elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music since 1965. In celebration of Blomstedt’s 80th birthday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Music founded the scholarship Herbert Blomstedtstipendiet, which is awarded every second year to a young conductor.