A life lived in music—what more can anyone ask for? Such was the incredible life of Seiji Ozawa, TSO Music Director from September 1965 to June 1969. The TSO family, and the broader Toronto community, join the world in mourning the deeply saddening loss of one of the foremost conductors of the last six decades, who passed away February 6 at the age of 88 in his Tokyo home.
Maestro Ozawa’s first appearance on the podium in Toronto was as a guest conductor on January 7, 1964. During his tenure as the Orchestra’s fourth Music Director from September 1965 to June 1969, he conducted 210 concerts, toured the orchestra in Canada, the United States and to the Far East, and notably recorded Messiean's Turangalîla in 1968. Seiji Ozawa returned to the TSO as a guest conductor from 1970 to 1996 conducting 22 concerts at Massey Hall, Ontario Place, and Roy Thomson Hall.
Born on September 1, 1935, in Mukden (present-day Shenyang), China, he pursued his musical studies in Japan and Germany. This was followed by early engagements with the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony Orchestra where he went on to serve as their Music Director for 29 years.
Ozawa is survived by his wife Vera, two children, Seira and Yukiyoshi, and grandson Masaki—all of whom continue his artistic legacy in their own unique ways. Our hearts are with his extended family today, and always. Within this solemn moment of our collective grief, the TSO also asks you to join us in celebrating this incomparable life lived in music. Thank you for everything, Maestro Ozawa.