This season, the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy will present Die Fledermaus, once again utilizing the Metropolitan Opera production that the Academy performed to great accolades in 2016. In reprising this entertaining and glorious opera, many cast members will return and join us to sing Eisenstein and other main roles under the direction of David Kneuss. This is a highly suitable work for the Academy students to study opera, and the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra will once more this year comprise young musicians who passed rigorous auditions in Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea.
Since establishing the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy in 2000 with the support of Ken Sato (then-president of ROHM Co., Ltd.), I have been working with my trusted Saito Kinen Orchestra colleagues to teach young musicians through the production and performance of operas. This season will mark our 20th year. For students, developing an opera under the guidance of our coaches alongside a peerless opera director and singers of the highest quality will be an experience that greatly impacts their lives as musicians.
Once again this year, we will also invite children from more than 50 elementary schools in Kyoto to share with them the joy of experiencing opera first-hand.
This project is unparalleled in the world, both as an educational project and also as an opportunity for young musicians to immerse themselves in a world-class production featuring the finest singers. I earnestly hope you will come to see this opera of ours, as it will overwhelm you with the joy and energy of its music.
Seiji Ozawa, Director and Artistic Director of Seiji Ozawa Music Academy
Seiji Ozawa Profile
Born 1935 in Shenyang, China. Seiji Ozawa studied piano from a young age, and after graduating from Seijo Junior High School, went on to study conducting under Hideo Saito at the Toho School of Music.
In 1959, he won first prize at the International Competition for Young Conductors held in Besançon, France, and was invited the next summer to Tanglewood by Charles Munch, who was a judge at the competition and music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the time. He proceeded to study under Karajan and Bernstein and went on to serve as assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Ravinia Festival, music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and music director of the San Francisco Symphony. In 1973, he became the 13th music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where his tenure of 29 years was the longest in the history of American orchestras.
As music director of BSO, he built the orchestra’s reputation internationally, with successful concerts in Europe in 1976 and Japan in March 1978. In March 1981, BSO toured 14 cities in America to commemorate its centennial and then executed a worldwide tour in fall of the same year, with stops in Japan, France, Germany, Austria, and the United Kingdom. It went on to perform in Europe in 1984, 1988, and 1991, and Japan in 1986 and 1989, all to great acclaim. In 1978, Ozawa was officially invited by the Chinese government to work with the China Central Symphony Orchestra for a week. A year later in March 1979, Ozawa brought the Boston Symphony Orchestra to become the first American orchestra ever to visit China, facilitating significant cultural and musical exchanges. He has since continued to build a strong relationship with China. He has also taken the San Francisco Symphony to Moscow (the USSR at the time) in June 1973 to perform with Mstislav Rostropovich.
In autumn 2002, Ozawa became music director at Wiener Staatsoper, a position he held until spring 2010. His reputation and popularity are enormous in Europe, where he has conducted many orchestras including the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Vienna Philharmonic. He has also appeared in prominent opera houses such as l’Opéra in Paris, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Opera di Firenze, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
In Japan, Ozawa conceived the Saito Kinen Orchestra to commemorate his late mentor, Hideo Saito. Formed with Kazuyoshi Akiyama and other colleagues, the orchestra held greatly successful concerts in Tokyo and Osaka in 1984 and went on to tour Europe in 1987, 1989, and 1990. In 1991, its concerts in Europe and America were received with great accolades. These activities led to the inception of Ozawa’s artistic dream in 1992: the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto. Ozawa became director of this international music festival, a role that continues to this day. SKO continued to tour, with overseas concerts in 1994, 1997 and 2004. In 2015, the festival entered a new stage to become the “Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival.”
Ozawa has been particularly focused on education. The Chamber Music Academy Okushiga evolved from the Saito Kinen chamber music study group sessions that started in 1997, and in 2011, this became the non-profit organization Ozawa International Chamber Music Academy Okushiga, Asia, to provide opportunities to outstanding students from countries in the region. Ozawa also founded the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Opera Project in 2000 and the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra Project in 2009, working actively to cultivate young musicians through performance. In 2005, he established the Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland to educate European music students. Ozawa has also worked closely with the Mito Chamber Orchestra since its foundation in 1990, serving as general director of the orchestra as well as director general of Art Tower Mito from 2013. He has also worked regularly with the New Japan Philharmonic since its founding.
Ozawa has won many awards in Japan and abroad, including: the Asahi Prize (1985); an Honorary Doctorate from Harvard University (2000); the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class (2002); the Mainichi Art Award (2003); the Suntory Music Prize (2003); an Honorary Doctorate from the Sorbonne University of France (2004); Honorary Membership from the Wiener Staatsoper (2007); France’s Officier de la Légion d’Honneur (2008); Foreign Associated Member in the Académie des Beaux-Arts de l’Institut de France (2008); the Order of Culture, which is the highest honor in Japan (2008); Giglio D’Oro by Premio Galileo 2000 Foundation of Italy (2008); the first Japanese national to be bestowed honorary membership to the Vienna Philharmonic (2010); the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association (2011); the Akeo Watanabe Foundation Music Award (2011); and the Kennedy Center Honors (2015). In 2016, the Ravel L’enfant et les sortilèges album conducted by Seiji Ozawa and performed by the Saito Kinen Orchestra that was recorded at the 2013 Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto won the 58th Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. In the same year, he was named Honorary Member by the Berliner Philharmoniker and Honorary Citizen of Tokyo.
Orchestra Project Ⅰ ROHM CONCERT SERIES
Ravel: Ma Mère l’Oye
Beethoven: Symphony No.7 in A major, Op. 92
April 6, 2009 Kyoto Concert Hall
April 9, 2009 SUNTORY HALL
April 13, 2009 Tianjin Grand Theatre, Tianjin
April 15, 2009 National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing
April 17, 2009 Shanghai Grand Theatre, Shanghai
Artistic Director, Conductor: Seiji
Orchestra: Seiji Ozawa Ongaku-juku Orchestra
Presented by: Seiji Ozawa Ongaku-juku / VEROZA JAPAN Company Ltd.
Tianjin Daily News Group (Tianjin)
National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijning)
Shanghai Grand Theatre (Shanghai)
SPonsored by ROHM Co., Ltd.
Produced by VEROZA JAPAN Company Ltd.
In cooperation with AIR NIPPON AIRWAYS CO., LTD.
Supported by Kyoto Concert Hall (Kyoto City Cultural Promotion Foundation) (Kyoto performance)
Orchestra Project Ⅰ ROHM CONCERT SERIES