Holding the acknowledgment as the longest serving music director in the orchestra’s history (29 seasons as Music Director of Boston Symphony Orchestra), Seiji Ozawa is principally known for his broad performances of 19th Western symphonic works. WithBoston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), he has done more than 140 orchestral works of more than 50 composers with 10 music labels, television productions which won 2 Emmy awards, and various commissioned works.
Born in Shenyang, China the first of September 1935, young Ozawa took a private piano lesson studying the works ofBach with Noboru Toyomasu. He then continued his studies to be a concert pianist in Toho Gakuen Music School, Tokyo. In the middle of his studies, he switched his lesson to conducting with Hideo Saito, his most influence on conducting career. He was graduated in 1959 and received the first prizes for conducting and composition from Toho School. In the International Competition of Orchestra Conductors in Besançon, France, where he won the first prize, Seiji Ozawa was invited byCharles Munch to study at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. In Tanglewood, he again won the prize for the most outstanding student conductor of the year. In addition to his exceptional talent in conducting studies, he again received a scholarship to work with Herbert von Karajan in Berlin. This was the moment when Leonard Bernstein asked Seiji became the assistant conductor of theNew York Philharmonic Orchestra.
This was the moment when Leonard Bernstein asked Seiji became the assistant conductor of theNew York Philharmonic Orchestra.
The founder of Ozawa Ongaku-Junu, an academy in Japan for aspiring young orchestral musicians, has made several great appearances with various popular orchestras along his long-period career, namelyChicago Symphony Orchestra, Vienna State Opera, the Opera National de Paris, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Saito Kinen Orchestra (SKO), the New Japan Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and theBoston Symphony Orchestra. His first professional concert was with theSan Francisco Symphony in 1962.
The maestro has been honored by multiple rewards include Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by French President Jacques Chirac, Doctorate Honoris Cause by The Sorbonne,Musician of the Year by Musical America, Japan’s Inouye Award for his lifetime achievement in the arts, and numerous honorary degrees from leading universities. Seiji Ozawa was given an honor to lead the Opening Ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. He performed with SKO and six choruses located in five different continents (Japan, Australia, China, Germany, South Africa, and the United States) that are linked by satellite.
Photo courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchester, 'People's Republic of China' 1979