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Seiji Ozawa | Martha Argerich: Bio

Born 1935 in Shenyang, China. Seiji Ozawa studied piano from a young age, and after graduating from Seijo Junior High School, he went on to study conducting under Hideo Saito at the Toho School of Music.

In 1959, he won first prize at the International Competition of Orchestra 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 nationally as well as 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 visited China again, this time with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In addition to orchestra performances, he facilitated significant cultural and musical exchanges through discussions and teaching sessions with Chinese musicians. He has since continued to build a strong relationship with China.

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 Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna, l'Opéra National de Paris, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Opera di Firenze, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

In Japan, Ozawa formed the Saito Kinen Orchestra with Kazuyoshi Akiyama in 1984 to commemorate their late mentor, Hideo Saito. The orchestra held greatly successful concerts in Tokyo and Osaka and went on to tour Europe in 1987, 1989, and 1990. In 1991, it performed concerts in Europe and America and was received with great accolades. These activities lead 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. From 2015, the festival has entered a new stage as the "Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival".

Ozawa has been particularly focused on education. The Chamber Music Academy Okushiga had 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 founding 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 February 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 April 2016, he was named an Honorary Member of the Berliner Philharmoniker.

Current Activities:

Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival (OMF) 

Mito Chamber Orchestra 

Seiji Ozawa Music Academy – Opera Project 

Ozawa International Chamber Music Academy Okushiga 

Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland

 

Martha Argerich was born in Buenos Aires. From the age of five, she took piano lessons with Vicenzo Scaramuzza. In 1955 she went to Europe with her family, and received tuition from Friedrich Gulda in Vienna; her teachers also included Nikita Magaloff and Stefan Askenase. Following her first prizes in the piano competitions in Bolzano and Geneva in 1957, she embarked on an intensive programme of concerts. Her victory in the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1965 was a decisive step on her path to worldwide recognition. 

Martha Argerich rose to fame with her interpretations of the virtuoso piano literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. But she does not regard herself as a specialist in "virtuoso" works - her repertoire ranges from Bach through Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy and Ravel, to Bartók. 

Martha Argerich has worked as a concert pianist with many famous conductors. She has also attached great importance to chamber music ever since, at the age of 17, she accompanied the violinist Joseph Szigeti - two generations older than herself. She has toured Europe, America and Japan with Gidon Kremer and Mischa Maisky and has also recorded much of the repertory for four hands and for two pianos with the pianists Nelson Freire, Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich, Nicolas Economou and Alexandre Rabinovitch. Martha Argerich has performed at Gidon Kremer's festival in Lockenhaus, at the Munich Piano Summer, the Lucerne Festival and at the Salzburg Festival, where she gave, for instance, a recital with Mischa Maisky in 1993. 

She appeared with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic at the 1992 New Year's Eve Concert with Strauss's Burleske and also at the Salzburg Festival at Easter 1993. May 1998 saw the long-awaited musical "summit meeting" between Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky and Gidon Kremer. On the occasion of a memorial concert for the impresario Reinhard Paulsen, the three artists came together in Japan, where they performed piano trios by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky (recorded live by DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON). In March 2000 Martha Argerich gave her first great solo appearance in almost 20 years in New York's Carnegie Hall. 

Martha Argerich has close ties with DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON, dating back to 1967. She has recorded prolifically during this period: solo works by Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt and Schumann; concerto recordings of works by Chopin, Liszt, Ravel and Prokofiev with Claudio Abbado, Beethoven with Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Stravinsky's Les Noces with Leonard Bernstein. Her recording of Shostakovich's First and Haydn's Eleventh Piano Concertos with the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn conducted by Jörg Färber was crowned with the Tokyo RECORD ACADEMY AWARD in 1995 and that of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra was awarded the CD COMPACT AWARD in 1997. 

She has also dedicated herself to chamber music, and has recorded works by Schumann and Chopin with Mstislav Rostropovich, and cello sonatas by both Bach and Beethoven with Mischa Maisky. She has made numerous successful recordings with Gidon Kremer, such as violin sonatas by Schumann and works by Bartók, Janácek and Messiaen (PRIX CAECILIA 1991), and Mendelssohn's concerto for violin and piano with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Their recording of Prokofiev sonatas and melodies received the 1992 Tokyo RECORD ACADEMY AWARD, the DIAPASON D'OR 1992 and the EDISON AWARD 1993. One of their most outstanding recording achievements was that of the complete Beethoven violin sonatas (Nos.1-3: RECORD ACADEMY AWARD 1985), which was concluded with the release of the Sonatas op. 47 "Kreutzer" and op. 96 in 1995. Among her more recent releases is the above-mentioned live recording of piano trios by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky with Mischa Maisky and Gidon Kremer. 

Martha Argerich takes a great supportive interest in young artists. In September 1999 the first International "Martha Argerich" Piano Competition took place in Buenos Aires - a competition which does not only carry her name but in which she is president of the jury. In November 1999 the second "Martha Argerich Music Festival" took place in southern Japan, with concerts and masterclasses being given not only by Martha Argerich but also by Mischa Maisky and Nelson Freire among others. 

Seiji Ozawa | Martha Argerich

Beethoven Symphony No. 1 and Piano Concerto No. 1

Decca Classics

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1 Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21 - Adagio molto - Allegro con brio  
2 Andante cantabile con moto  
3 Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace  
4 Adagio, Allegro molto e vivace  
5 Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op. 15 - Allegro con brio  
6 Largo  
7 Rondo. Allegro scherzando  

Grammy-winning icons Martha Argerich and Seiji Ozawa record an album for the first time together. Their Decca album features Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 and Piano Concerto No. 1, performed with the Mito Chamber Orchestra.

Crossover Media Projects with: Seiji Ozawa | Martha Argerich