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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2018 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Return of Seiji Ozawa

Seiji Ozawa, the internationally acclaimed conductor whose career has been interrupted by a battle with esophageal cancer, is the subject of a fascinating interview in today's New York Times.
Seiji Ozawa.

The 75-year old Japanese maestro previously served as the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, holding the Boston post for 29 years. He is also the former chief conductor of the Vienna State Opera, although he was forced to cancel all of his 2010 appearances for medical reasons.

Mr. Ozawa's career began as music director of the Toronto Symnphony Orchestra, helping to put that ensemble on the musical map. A pupil of Leonard Bernstein's, his distinctive skill with the romantic works of Beethoven and Mahler made him a podium star. And his interactions with students at the BSO's Tanglewood campus made him a beloved figure.

Although continued frail health has forced Mr. Ozawa to cancel his remaining concerts for 2010, he plans to return to Carnegie Hall in 2011 to conduct Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. He cannot walk for more than five minutes at a time, and has to sit down to conduct.

This month also marks the release of a career retrospective for Mr. Ozawa, the Anniversary boxed set on Decca. Mr. Ozawa made many recordings for Philips during the classical music "CD boom" of the 1990s. However, with the folding of the Philips label, a lot of these are out of print. The eleven-disc set features Mr. Ozawa's readings of Strauss' Alpine Symphony and Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony, along with major works by Poulenc, Rimsky-Korsakov, Berlioz and Leonard Bernstein. A complete track listing is available here on the Decca Classics website.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.