Hendrik A. Essers, 78, a longtime area musician, music teacher, and retired conductor of the Washington Civic Ochestra, died Aug. 15 of a stroke at his home in Boulder, Colo.

Born in Holland, Mr. Essers came to this country as a teenager and attended the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore for a number of years.

In the early days of the National Symphony, Mr. Essers came to Washington and became principal violinist and assistant conductor under Hans Kindler, founder of the orchestra.

Mr. Essers left the National Symphony to teach music in the public schools, taking over as director of instrumental music at Woodrew Wilson High School for many year.

He was active in the Music Educators National Conference and the American String Teachers Association, becoming president of each for the Washington area. For several years he taught and conducted at the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Mich.

In 1946, Mr. Essers began conduction the Wachington Civic Orchestra, which he helped to reorganize after World War II.

He also gave occasional violin and viola recitals. He taught privately at the Washington Musical Institute and continued his private teaching after he retired and moved to Bethesda. In recent years he had lived with his wife. Florence, in Boulder.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Essers is survived by a son, Hendrik A Jr. of Baltimore and a daughter, Jenny of Vancouver, B.C.