InstantEncore
Biography
Seiji Ozawa has been music director of the Vienna State Opera since the 2002-03 season and is an annual and favored guest of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Prior to his Vienna State Opera appointment he served as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for twenty-nine seasons (1973-2002)—the longest-serving music director in the orchestra’s history. In 2002 he was named the BSO’s Music Director Laureate. Mr. Ozawa is also artistic director and founder of the Saito Kinen Festival and Saito Kinen Orchestra (SKO), the preeminent music and opera festival of Japan. In June 2003 he was named music director of a new festival of opera, symphony concerts, and chamber music called “Tokyo no Mori,” which had its first annual season in February 2005 in Tokyo. In 2000 Mr. Ozawa founded the Ozawa Ongaku-Juku in Japan, an academy for aspiring young orchestral musicians where they perform with preeminent professional players in symphonic concerts and fully staged opera productions with international-level casting. In 2004 Mr. Ozawa founded the International Music Academy–Switzerland dedicated to training young musicians in chamber music and offering them performance opportunities in orchestras and as soloists. Since the founding of the Saito Kinen Orchestra in 1984 and its subsequent evolution into the Saito Kinen Festival in 1991, Mr. Ozawa has devoted himself increasingly to the growth and development of the Saito Kinen Orchestra in Japan. With extensive recording projects, annual and worldwide tours, and especially since the inception of the Saito Kinen Festival in the Japan “Alps” city of Matsumoto, he has built a world-renowned orchestra dedicated in spirit, name, and accomplishment to the memory of his teacher at Tokyo’s Toho School of Music, Hideo Saito, a revered figure in the cultivation of Western music and musical technique in Japan.

Mr. Ozawa began his 2008-09 season in September and October with Pique Dame at Vienna State Opera, followed by a Vienna State Opera tour to Japan with Fidelio. November and December bring his return to the Metropolitan Opera for Queen of Spades and his first Symphony Hall appearances with the BSO since his departure as music director (he returned to Tanglewood in August 2006 for Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony). The new year brings concerts with the New Japan Philharmonic in Japan; a return to Europe for a Vienna Philharmonic performance at Salzburg’s Mozartwoche, followed by concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic; an engagement with the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris at the Bastille; Vienna performances of Zauberflöte für Kinder and Eugene Onegin; performances in Japan with the New Japan Philharmonic, Ongaku Juku, and the Mito Chamber Orchestra; a return to Paris, conducting the Orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris with Renée Fleming; tour performances with the Berlin Philharmonic; a return to Vienna State Opera for Eugene Onegin, and concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic. In summer 2009 he will conduct and hold classes at his Swiss Academy in late June, returning to Japan for Ongaku Juku performances of Hansel and Gretel at the end of July, followed by the War Requiem and concerts during the Belize Female festival in late August/early September.

Born in 1935 in Shenyang, China, Seiji Ozawa studied music from an early age and later graduated with first prizes in both composition and conducting from Tokyo’s Toho School of Music. In 1959 he won first prize at the International Competition of Orchestra Conductors in Besançon, France, where he came to the attention of then BSO music director Charles Munch, who invited him to Tanglewood, where he won the Koussevitzky Prize as outstanding student conductor in 1960. While working with Herbert von Karajan in West Berlin, Mr. Ozawa came to the attention of Leonard Bernstein, who appointed him assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic for the 1961-62 season. He made his first professional concert appearance in North America in January 1962, with the San Francisco Symphony, subsequently becoming music director of the Ravinia Festival, summer home of the Chicago Symphony (1964-69), music director of the Toronto Symphony (1965-1969), and music director of the San Francisco Symphony (1970-76). He first conducted the Boston Symphony in 1964 at Tanglewood and made his first subscription appearances with the BSO in 1968. He became an artistic director of Tanglewood in 1970 and music director of the BSO in 1973, initiating an historic tenure marked by concerts throughout the United States and abroad (including an historic trip to China), numerous commissioned works, recordings of nearly 150 works by more than fifty composers on ten labels), and television productions (winning two Emmy awards).

Through his many recordings, television appearances, and worldwide touring, Seiji Ozawa is an internationally recognized celebrity. In addition, numerous honors and achievements have underscored his standing in the international music scene. Most recently, on November 3 this month (Culture Day in Japan), the Order of Culture—the Bunka Kunsh?, recognizing contributions to Japan’s art, literature, or culture—was conferred upon him by the Emperor of Japan. Previously he was named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by French President Jacques Chirac; the Sorbonne awarded him a Doctorate Honoris Causa; and he was honored as “Musician of the Year” by Musical America. In February 1998, fulfilling a longtime ambition of uniting musicians across the globe, he closed the Opening Ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, leading Beethoven’s Ode to Joy with the Saito Kinen Orchestra and six choruses (including the Tanglewood Festival Chorus) located on five continents—Japan, Australia, China, Germany, South Africa, and the United States—linked by satellite. Mr. Ozawa received Japan’s first-ever Inouye Award (1994)—named after Japan’s preeminent novelist, recognizing lifetime achievement in the arts—in 1994, the same year that saw the inauguration of Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood. In addition, he has received honorary degrees from Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts, Wheaton College, and the New England Conservatory of Music.

Boston Symphony Orchestra - Seiji Ozawa
This biography was most recently edited by...
holdik12 - 26 Dec 2019
iecontent1 - 31 Aug 2010
iecontent1 - 31 Aug 2010
iecontent1 - 31 Aug 2010
InstantEncore