Two distinguished visitors come to Davies Symphony Hall this week and the next. First, Herbert Blomstedt will conduct the San Francisco Symphony in a program of Haydn and Beethoven tomorrow through Saturday. Then in back-to-back series, the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra, one of the most venerable music institutions of the world, will follow on Sunday and Monday with performances of symphonies of Dvorak and Beethoven, led by conductor Ricardo Chailly.
Herbert Blomstedt is a familiar face around these parts: born in the US, he emigrated as a toddler to Sweden, where he mostly grew up. He is the SF Symphony Conductor Laureate and used to be its music director from 1985 to 1995. Yeah, that's a quarter century away, but he was already a celebrated maestro then, and he's in his 80s now. After San Francisco, and among other multitudinous achievements, he held the same post with the Leipzig Gewandhaus. Who else held the position? Felix Mendelssohn, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter. It's good company to be in. With his American and European influences and experiences, Blomstedt was a natural person to ask about both the SF Symphony and the Gewandhaus orchestras.