Former San Francisco Symphony conductor, La Sierra clinician to receive award
January 24, 2012
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) La Sierra University music student Cody Breyer will have a unique opportunity this Saturday, to perform for the world-acclaimed conductor whose namesake scholarship fund granted Breyer an award this school year.
Breyer may seek a little advice should he personally meet Dr. Herbert Blomstedt, the famed conductor laureate of the San Francisco Symphony and former La Sierra workshop clinician. “[I’m] excited to possibly meet him …and to ask him how he got to where he is today, and what were his inspirations so I can learn from them,” said the student.
Breyer, a Riverside resident and former percussion major who recently switched to classical guitar will play timpani with the La Sierra University Symphony Orchestra conducted by John Carter during a performance at 4 p.m., Jan. 28, at the Loma Linda University Church. The concert honors three recipients of the annual Charles Elliott Weniger Awards for Excellence. The honorees include Blomstedt, whose prominent career involves directorships of orchestras around the world and whose numerous awards and recognitions include two Grammys for the San Francisco Symphony’s recordings.
Mrs. Alcyon Fleck, co-founder of International Children’s Care in Vancouver, Wash., and Dr. Howard V. Gimbel, internationally renowned ophthalmologist at Loma Linda University Medical Center, will also receive Weniger awards.
All three awardees will be recognized during the 9 and 11:45 a.m. services at the Loma Linda University Church on Jan. 28. Following the afternoon orchestra concert, the recipients will speak about their awards during an annual meeting of the Weniger Society at 4:30 p.m. During this event Blomstedt will give a talk on his career as a classical musician and an Adventist, titled, “Present Truth in Music.” All services will air on the Loma Linda Broadcasting Network. Admission to all events is free.
The annual Charles Elliott Weniger awards are granted to Seventh-day Adventist educators, physicians, humanitarians and others noted for qualities of inspiration, motivation and excellence. The Weniger Society seeks to recognize persons who have portrayed character and commitment in their personal lives and professions, traits exemplified by the life and service of Charles Weniger, a highly respected professor in Seventh-day Adventist schools. La Sierra University and Loma Linda University are part of the worldwide school system of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.
Maestro Blomstedt has a long-standing history with La Sierra University. Each summer from 1970-1985, he traveled from Dresden, East Germany, where he conducted the Dresden State Opera Orchestra, to the La Sierra campus to hold the Herbert Blomstedt Institute of Orchestral Conducting master classes. La Sierra University offers the Herbert Blomstedt Endowed Scholarship in recognition of his contribution to the university and to assist outstanding young performers who enroll as music majors.
Blomstedt served as the San Francisco Symphony’s music director from 1985 until 1995. Under his direction the orchestra gained worldwide acclaim, touring Europe, Asia and the United States and performing festival concerts in Salzburg, Edinburgh, and Lucerne. The symphony’s recordings on the London label captured top awards, including France’s Grand Prix du Disque, Britain’s Gramophone Award, and two Grammys. Between 1975 and 1985 he directed the Dresden Staatskapelle and led the group on its first tours of the United States as well as directed numerous lauded recordings. Blomstedt has also held positions as music director of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Danish Radio Symphony, and Swedish Radio Symphony.
He continues to be in great demand as a guest conductor of top orchestras around the world. On Jan. 19, 20 and 21, at the age of 84, he directed the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center in three concerts of works by Ludwig van Beethoven with Leif Ove Andsnes on piano. Writes music critic David Patrick Stearns in The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Philly.com, “…the professorial Blomstedt isn’t fading into old-age mellowness; instead, he has acquired forceful intensity.”
Blomstedt made his conducting debut in 1954 with the Stockholm Philharmonic after studying at Tanglewood in 1953 with Leonard Bernstein and receiving the coveted Koussevitsky Conducting Prize. He has appeared as guest conductor with many of the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the NHK Symphony of Tokyo. He has received many honors, including membership in the Royal Musical Academy of Stockholm, where Beethoven was a member, and many honorary doctorates.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University