Society | Feb 10

Conductor Seiji Ozawa Dies at 88

TOKYO, Feb 10 (News On Japan) - Seiji Ozawa, a globally celebrated conductor, has died. He was 88 years old. According to his office, Ozawa passed away at his home in Tokyo on February 6 due to heart failure.

The funeral has already been conducted with close family members in attendance.

Ozawa was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2010, leading him to cancel all domestic and international performances to focus on treatment. He made a comeback to the stage seven months later.

Born in 1935 in what is now Shenyang, China, Ozawa began his foundational music education in high school under the tutelage of conductor Hideo Saito.

In 1959, he won first place at the Besançon International Conductors' Competition in France. His illustrious career included positions such as assistant conductor for the New York Philharmonic and music director of the San Francisco Symphony, before becoming the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1973, a position he held for 29 years, significantly enhancing the orchestra's international standing.

In Japan, Ozawa founded the Saito Kinen Orchestra in 1984 in memory of his mentor Hideo Saito, organizing an annual music festival in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.

Ozawa was also instrumental in nurturing young musicians through initiatives like the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra Project and establishing a music academy in Switzerland.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Harvard University in 2000, the Japanese Order of Culture in 2008, and became the first Japanese honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic in 2010, among many other accolades.

Source: ANN


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