Obituary: Masuko Ushioda, violinist and teacher, 71

Posted on: June 6, 2013

In Tuesday’s (6/4) Boston Globe, Jeremy Eichler reports the death of violinist and New England Conservatory faculty member Masuko Ushioda on May 28 at the age of 71. The cause of death was leukemia. Eichler writes, “At the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1966, where she won a silver medal, one listener who took particular notice was a young American cellist and fellow competitor named Laurence Lesser.… The two married in 1971 and moved to Boston three years later for faculty positions at New England Conservatory, where Lesser later served as president from 1983 to 1996.” Born in Shenyang, Manchuria, in 1942, Ushioda graduated from the Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, where she was “deeply influenced by the famed Japanese conductor and cellist Hideo Saito, who attracted a circle of talented young Japanese musicians deeply engaged with Western classical music.” Among them was the pianist and aspiring conductor Seiji Ozawa, with whom Ushioda “maintained a lifelong musical friendship.… Ozawa and Ms. Ushioda played central roles in the orchestra later founded to honor Saito’s memory, known as the Saito Kinen Orchestra.” In her later years, Ushioda “performed regularly with [Japan’s Saito Kinen and Mito Chamber orchestras], and frequently on NEC’s First Monday series in Jordan Hall, curated by Lesser. Her final public concert was in that series on Nov. 5, when she led an ensemble of colleagues in Brahms’s String Sextet in B-flat. She learned of her acute illness the following morning.” 

Posted June 6, 2013