We’re saddened to learn that world-renowned symphony conductor and music director Seiji Ozawa has passed away at the age of 88.
A native of Japan, Ozawa rose to international prominence in the early 1960’s, serving as assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein during the 1961-62 season, and then again from 1964-65. He became become music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra from 1965-69, and then the San Francisco Symphony for most of the 1970’s. But he was perhaps best known as the longest-serving music director in the history of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where he made his musical home from 1973 to 2002.
His role in the world of classical music eventually brought him to the attention of “Sesame Street.” In a 1988 installment of “Pretty Great Performances,” Ozawa, described as “the world-renowned very good sport,” conducted Placido Flamingo, accompanied the Sesame Street All-Animal Orchestra, in a performance of “Italian Street Song” from the Victor Herbert operetta “Naughty Marietta,” which you can watch below:
Ozawa was a prominent force in the orchestral world for decades, and music lovers everywhere are grateful for his work.
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by Matthew Soberman (Matthew@ToughPigs.com)