From 1906 to 1922 he was Artistic Director and chief conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony, the first full-time professional orchestra in Sweden. In this capacity, he organized many performances of music by contemporary Scandinavian composers. Briefly, in 1909, he held the position of director of music at Uppsala University, where he was succeeded in the following year by Hugo Alfvén.
Wilhelm Stenhammar died of a stroke at 56 years of age in Jonsered in the historic province of Västergötland. He is buried in Gothenburg.