Friday, February 9, 2024

RIP Seiji Ozawa

James R. Oestreich, Seiji Ozawa, Captivating Conductor, Is Dead at 88, NYTimes, 2.9.2024.

Mr. Ozawa was the most prominent harbinger of a movement that has transformed the classical music world over the last half-century: a tremendous influx of East Asian musicians into the West, which has in turn helped spread the gospel of Western classical music to Korea, Japan and China.

For much of that time, a belief widespread even among knowledgeable critics held that although highly trained Asian musicians could develop consummate technical facility in Western music, they could never achieve a real understanding of its interpretive needs or a deep feeling for its emotional content. The irrepressible Mr. Ozawa surmounted this prejudice by dint of his outsize personality, thoroughgoing musicianship and sheer hard work.

With his mop of black hair, his boyish demeanor and his seemingly boundless energy, Mr. Ozawa captured the popular imagination early on.

H/t Tyler Cowen

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"Kojo no tsuki" has nothing in particular to do with Ozawa, but it is the Japanese equivalent of "America the Beautiful" and so seems appropriate to the occasion.

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