by AT News Team
Herbert Blomstedt was to be presented the Seraphim Medal by the King of Sweden on Friday (June 15). In the egalitarian style of Scandinavia, the King will have to wait, because Blomstedt is a busy conductor of symphony orchestras around the world even at 85 years of age. The medal is in recognition of his "exceedingly outstanding contributions to Swedish musical life and culture" according to a statement from the royal staff.
This is the highest honor in Sweden. King Carl Gustaf 16 has only awarded it to 12 individuals since 1973. The last time, in 2008, it was given to Sture Linner, United Nations diplomat and scholar. And in 2004 it was awarded to Hans Blix, the jurist and public official.
No Seventh-day Adventist has achieved greater stature in the world of music than Blomstedt. He is Sweden’s most successful conductor. He first performed in 1954 as conductor of the Royal Philharmonic. Over the years he has served as conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, the Danish and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestras, and the Dresdner Staatskapelle in Germany. He has also been a guest conductor for many other orchestras in Europe, the United States and across the world.
Blomstedt was the son of Pastor Adolf Blomstedt, a well-known ordained minister in the Adventist Church in Sweden. He has generously supported both music and education in the Adventist Church around the world. Earlier this year, he was honored by Loma Linda University for his contributions.
Blomstedt told the Swedish Union Conference paper, "I am of course delighted, but I have become used to not paying much attention to such corruptible things as my old colleague Eugen Jochum in Munich would say, 'It ends up in the metal container.' However this time it is pure gold."
"This is an outstanding recognition of the genius of the artist and his contribution to Swedish culture,” said Pastor Bertil Wiklander, president of the Trans-European Division of the denomination and former leader of the Adventist Church in Sweden. “We who know Herbert personally also know how he has always seen his music as a way to bring glory to God and as a witness to the grace and majesty of our Creator.”
Pastor Wiklander has known Blomsted personally since childhood. He commented on the “numerous times [the musician] has had the opportunity of publicly confessing his faith in the Word of God, as a Seventh-day Adventist, in circumstances where we seldom have any voice. He has more than once testified to how the secret of his success is his Christian faith, and, in particular, the blessing of the Sabbath which has brought him rest and recreation in a life of work that often has destroyed the health of his colleagues. I am thankful to God that his life and contributions have been recognized in this way."
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sweden has about 3,000 adherents in a population of 9.5 million. There are 37 local churches, a junior college and a publishing house.
Based on reporting by Rainer Refsbäck and the TED News Service