Seiji Ozawa, a Charming, Transformative Conductor, Dies at 88

Seiji Ozawa, a Charming, Transformative Conductor, Dies at 88

Music|Seiji Ozawa, a Charming, Transformative Conductor, Dies at 88



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He led the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 29 years, toured broadly and helped dispel prejudices about East Asian classical musicians.

Seiji Ozawa, a formally dressed man with a mound of gray hair, furiously conducts an orchestra.
Seiji Ozawa conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Corridor in 1997. He led the ensemble for 29 years.Credit score…Chang W. Lee/The New York Instances

Seiji Ozawa, the high-spirited Japanese conductor who took the Western classical music world by storm within the Nineteen Sixties and ’70s after which led the Boston Symphony Orchestra for nearly 30 years, died on Tuesday at his dwelling in Tokyo. He was 88.

The trigger was coronary heart failure, in accordance with an announcement launched on Friday by Veroza, his administration workplace.

Mr. Ozawa had skilled years of well being issues starting in early 2010, when he was recognized with esophageal most cancers. He by no means absolutely rebounded from most cancers surgical procedure or from again issues that have been made worse throughout his restoration, and he was hospitalized with coronary heart valve illness later in life.

Mr. Ozawa was essentially the most outstanding harbinger of a motion that has remodeled the classical music world over the past half-century: an amazing inflow of East Asian musicians into the West, which has in flip helped unfold the gospel of Western classical music to Korea, Japan and China.

For a lot of that point, a widespread prejudice even amongst educated critics held that though extremely educated Asian musicians might develop consummate technical facility in Western music, they might by no means obtain an actual understanding of its interpretive wants or a deep feeling for its emotional content material. The irrepressible Mr. Ozawa surmounted this by dint of his outsize persona, thoroughgoing musicianship and sheer onerous work.

Along with his mop of black hair, his boyish demeanor and his seemingly boundless power, he captured the favored creativeness early on.

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