At 82, Seiji Ozawa remains a superstar at home in Japan

Posted on: January 10, 2018

“Twenty-nine years. That’s how long Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa led the Boston Symphony Orchestra,” beginning in 1973, reports Andrea Shea at Boston radio station WBUR on Monday (1/8). “In Japan, the now-82-year-old maestro is revered like a sports or rock star … ‘like the heyday of Michael Jordan,’ [said] BSO managing director Mark Volpe … In 1960, BSO music director Charles Munch … invited the young musician to what’s now the Tanglewood Music Center…. Ozawa excelled…. He also caught the eye of the charismatic New York Philharmonic leader Leonard Bernstein, who took Ozawa under his wing…. Japanese music critic Hiroo Tojo … called Ozawa a ‘superstar that Japan created.’ But when the BSO broke the white, European conductor mold by hiring him, it also carried deep, symbolic meaning on the other side of the globe, in a country devastated by WWII…. Among Ozawa’s superpowers is his ability to … conduct [scores] from memory. But of course Ozawa is mortal. In 2010 he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer… He wasn’t able to [attend] the BSO’s recent Tokyo concerts…. Among his ongoing initiatives at home is the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy, founded in 2000.”

Posted January 10, 2018