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Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt

Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt and the orchestra in 1959.


Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt was chief conductor from 1955–64. He conducted a total of 229 concerts with the orchestra.

German conductor Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt debuted with the Stockholm Concert Society for a radio production in 1942 (i.e., not a public concert). He then returned on a number of occasions in the early 1950s before he was appointed the orchestra’s chief conductor in 1955.

Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt studied music in Heidelberg and Münster. He also studied composition under Franz Schreker at Berlin’s Hochschule für Musik.

Before arriving in Stockholm, he held several positions in the opera world, as chief conductor of the Hamburg State Opera and then the Berlin State Opera. In 1945, after the war, the British military authorities urged Schmidt-Isserstedt (who did not join the Nazi party) to start an orchestra on Northwest German Broadcasting (NWDR) in Hamburg. Six months later, the orchestra was staffed. After the division of the radio station in 1956, he continued working with the orchestra on Northern German Broadcasting (NDR) and was its chief conductor until 1971.

From 1955–1964, Schmidt-Isserstedt was chief conductor in Stockholm. Already in 1954, he was responsible for the new Contemporary Music concert subscription. He conducted a total of about 170 concerts as chief conductor of the Stockholm Concert Society, and some 60 more as guest conductor. 

In 1959, two concerts were performed in Helsinki led by chief conductor Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt; Sibelius’ Symphonies No. 1 and 2 were performed.

During Schmidt-Isserstedt’s period as chief conductor, more specifically in 1957, the orchestra changed its name to the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Yet another name change, to the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, took place in 1992.