Ozawa, Seiji

Ozawa, Seiji sā´jē ōzä´wä [key], 1935–, Japanese conductor, b. Japanese-occupied Manchuria. A graduate of the Toho School of Music, Ozawa became the first Japanese conductor to gain recognition in the West, winning competitions in Europe and the United States. In 1961 he was hired by the New York Philharmonic as an assistant conductor. He was director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (1965–70) and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (1970–73) before he served as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1973 to 2002. He left Boston to become principal conductor (2002–10) of the Vienna State Opera. Interested in performing unfamiliar works, Ozawa is noted for the breadth of his repertoire and the clarity, sensitivity, and precision of his technique. Ozawa also co-founded (1984) the Saito Kinen Orchestra to give a series of concerts commemorating his mentor, Hideo Saito, and in 1992 the annual Saito Kinen Matsumoto Festival (now the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival) was established to perform summer concerts in Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan.

See Ozawa (documentary, 1985).

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