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Documentaries // Art, Culture & Music

SEIJI OZAWA, THE LIVING SPIRIT OF MUSIC


52'
2016


VERSION(S)
French and International

SUPPORT(S)
HD

PRODUCER(S)
CAMERA LUCIDA

DIRECTOR
Olivier Simonnet

At the age of 80, Seiji Ozawa is one of the last living legends of a bygone golden age of conducting. A pupil of Charles Munch and Herbert von Karajan, he was Leonard Bernstein’s assistant before taking over as director of the prestigious Boston Symphony Orchestra, which he led for thirty years.
This generation, which knew Richard Strauss, Bela Bartok and Toscanini, remains that of the rediscovery of the "great works" and the dissemination of what is now called "Classical music". It was the time when a conductor could be a star. They had their eccentricities – but they were also forgiven a great deal.
Seiji Ozawa is different: coming from Asia, he has maintained a reserve, a respect for the musicians in the orchestras he leads. He also conducts without a baton. Heavily involved in the 20th century repertoire and a much-loved teacher, Seiji Ozawa is universally admired and respected for his passion and commitment.
Dressed in red Nikes and a baseball cap (his other passion alongside music), Seiji Ozawa doesn’t look like a traditional conductor. Although he still hasn’t hung up his tailcoat completely, the maestro has considerably slowed down his activities. Having beaten cancer of the oesophagus, he now has to adhere to a strict routine in order to conserve his energy.
He has agreed to conduct some concerts in honour of his 80th birthday, but his doctors have imposed drastic restrictions upon the rehearsal sessions, limiting them to twenty-minute sessions at the end of the day – rules the maestro doesn’t always respect.


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