James Taylor leads Boston’s sing-out for Seiji’s 85

James Taylor leads Boston’s sing-out for Seiji’s 85


norman lebrecht

September 01, 2020

It’s a big shoutout for the ex-maestro.




  • Stalls Left says:

    An unforgettable Brahms 1: Ozawa and his Saito Kinen Orchestra. The Proms in the very early 1990s.
    Happy Birthday maestro!

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    Just passed by Tanglewood today. The shed is boarded up and the grounds are empty. Sad for this Labor Day weekend, usually the last BSO Tanglewood performance of the season. Happy birthday Seiji anyway.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Bravo! In spite of all the c__p people have spat out about Ozawa’s reign in Boston, he did a lot of good over those years. His recorded legacy is pretty decent. Boston could have done far worse. Look how quickly Levine flamed out (not that Boston had anything to do with that).

  • Greg Bottini says:

    What a great tribute video! Happy Birthday, Maestro!
    I remember Ozawa at the San Francisco Symphony. One season he performed a Haydn symphony at every concert, and they were brilliant: for the ones I was unable to attend, I made a point of listening to the radio broadcast (which came, as I recall, about a week later).
    He was also very good in the romantic Russian repertoire, and twentieth-century music.
    Too bad that NL didn’t post a photo of Ozawa in his white turtleneck and love beads!

  • Herr Doktor says:

    Happy Birthday, Seiji! Best wishes for good health and more years of music-making.

    I will never, ever, ever forget the Bruckner 9 performance near the end of your tenure in Boston. I caught the last concert in the cycle of performances, and lightning struck that night. It was the single greatest concert I’ve ever heard in Symphony Hall. You honored us all that night, you honored Bruckner, and you especially honored mentor and friend, who I understand had asked you to perform the symphony in his memory after he died. Thank you for that truly great performance. Be well!

    • microview says:

      ‘especially honored mentor and friend’ – would that by H von K (or as NL likes to say, twice a member of the National Socialists party…….)

      • Herr Doktor says:

        That would be Herbert von Karajan indeed, one of the greatest conductors the world has ever known. And if you are concerned that he joined that Nazi party and therefore his music-making should not be listened to, please don’t listen to it. The scholarship on the issue is clear – he did what he did to get a job, and in no way shape or form was he a Nazi true-believer unlike Karl Bohm and many others. If he was a Nazi, why did he marry a woman during the war who was considered Jewish by the regime, at a time when the war’s outcome was anything but pre-ordained? Karajan was largely apolitical his entire life. He was all about the music, all the time. And in order to secure the Aachen job, he had to join the party.

        He did not lead concerts in Auschwitz to buoy the troops.

        • Greg Bottini says:

          Thank you, Herr Doktor, for your reply to the aptly-named microview’s comment.
          I agree with you: HvK WAS one of the greatest conductors the world has ever known.

  • Alexander T says:


  • Ralph Bateman says:

    He is such a well-loved person. God bless him. A great man !

  • Ralph Bateman says:

    ==the ex-maestro.

    He’s still a maestro, you know. Obama is still called Mr President

  • Edgar Self says:

    I was founding member of San Francisco Symphony Chorus, auditioned by assistant conductor Niklaus Wys, rehearsed by three different chorus-masters in that first season before Ozawa took the dress rehearals to perform a rocking Bach “Magnificat”, Berlioz “Te Deum”, and the premiere of Schoenberg’s “Psalm”. I remember best the Grand Pause in the Magnificat’s “Fecit potentiam”, common in Handel but rare for Bach, and the opening of the gates of Heaven to the beat of the timpani and winding trumpet;, and the “Omnes, omnes” chant of generations.

    My memories of Ozaw are as mild and non-interventionist. The San Francisco Municipal Chorus under Hans Leschke filled that function from Alfred Hertz on. Their men recorded Marian nderson’s first version of the “‘Alto Rhapsody” under Monteux before my time, though I sang with them many years.

    I think Oaza was in Boston 25 years, longer than Koussevitzky, maybe too long, through Tanglewood’ changes and departures. He was ten years at Vienna State Opera, surprising me as I hadn’t associated him with opera.

    Anyone reaching 85 with his vita deserves such a tribute. He has been ill. I wish him all good things.

  • Reinagald says:

    I’m surprised Schueter isn’t in this video 😛