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Adventist musician receives a top Swedish civilian honor

‘Seraphim Medal’ recognizes ‘outstanding contributions within Swedish music’

Adventist musician receives a top Swedish civilian honor

Adventist musician Herbert Blomstedt, left, was awarded Sweden’s Seraphim Medal last week for his contributions to the country’s musical and cultural landscape. Here, the veteran conductor accepts the Weniger Award for Excellence at the church’s Loma Linda University Campus Church in January. [file photo by Larry Becker]

Seventh-day Adventist conductor Herbert Blomstedt’s home country of Sweden is recognizing the veteran musician for his notable career.

Blomstedt was recently awarded the Seraphim Medal by King Carl XVI Gustaf. A June 15 announcement from Sweden’s Royal Palace stated that Blomstedt was recognized for “highly outstanding contributions within Swedish music.” 

The medal is one of the country’s highest civilian honors. Bestowed directly by the king, it recognizes “outstanding services of a humanitarian nature or of general benefit to society,” according to the Swedish Royal Court.

“I am of course delighted,” Blomstedt told the Adventist Church’s Swedish Union, adding that while he typically downplays such recognition, this time is an exception.

Blomstedt conducted his first performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1954. During his career, he held posts as chief conductor of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, the Danish and Swedish Radio Symphony orchestras, Dresdner Staatskapelle and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

Over the years, Blomstedt has generously contributed to the Adventist Church’s musical landscape, as well as its education system. Blomstedt also used his public spotlight to share his faith in God.

“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,” said Bertil Wiklander, president of the church’s Trans-European Division.

“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,” Wiklander said.

Blomstedt was unable to attend the June 15 medal ceremony at the Royal Palace of Stockholm due to a prior conducting appointment. The 85-year-old continues to maintain an active career.

In September, Blomstedt will conduct the final concert at the Baltic Sea Festival in Stockholm.