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Our conversation with Seiji Ozawa This is another in a continuing series of programs each of which offers the listener a rare opportunity to hear an eminent musician informally discussing his own career and expressing his thoughts about a variety of topics related to the art of music. The regular participants in these discussions are Aaron Parsons professor of music theory at Northwestern University's School of Music and program annotator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. And George Stone program director for Zenith radio corporation's serious music station WEF family in Chicago. Mr. Parsons and Mr. Stone have as their guest on today's program the brilliant young music director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and of the Ravinia Festival on Chicago's North Shore Seiji Ozawa. Now here is Aaron Parsons. This job's done. We know that you had just returned from Europe coming here to Chicago to start the 30 second Ravinia Festival.
What could you tell us something of these stops that you had in Europe I know one of them was Prague. Spring Festival and I went to a better deal with the pantry and I'm going through London with a lot of thing for me. Last stop was the last car lot and they have they call it got a lot closer. No Oprah 2000. It's English paste and just came back. Those are all symphony concert yes orchestral right. And it brings up a point. Have you conducted any opera. I did I not I didn't do any. I know perhaps I did if what kind of vision which is kind of a funny situation focused on contact and I think that these have been two separate groups. Now if you can hear us you know you were just rather set up in one area and the singers in another because of this will always producer director
stage you're going to do beautiful things with television which who perhaps cannot do. They need space. What opera was that I did to pattern when I did it was full of affairs by and I could lose two hours. Two rows uncovered. And the end. Well that's very interesting. I would imagine it's not as pose some problems. But are you saying he was able to see you on a monitor. Yes. Or they feed me and I can see them too. And we can if you can to be able to show it's not only coming it's nice to be good to question the condition may be better to have yeah but it's not it's not didn't create a new era between you don't have not contacted her and I feel it's very interesting. You're here now for the remainder of the season. And this
is your your fourth season as music director. That's correct. And I couldn't believe it but my math teacher. Yes it was five summers ago that the Mr. Mr. Uppsala came suddenly to Chicago to replace George Petra who was ill at the time I think and showed her trouble and you know that trouble with this. And I thought oh I see. Yeah and you know run you're right it's your right. Yeah bursitis That's right. Do you think this would be a considerable handicap to induct you want to think of this but Vera really is a need for a conductor to mean doing an almost athletic physical condition isn't there. Yes but I think time look an employer conducts beautifully now not to almost He doesn't move anything he doesn't he just contract with little
bit of a hand and his control because it's beautiful. So let's. So when are we a on we have to speak moving and the energy. And you conducted pretty much the same program that I had scheduled for that you that ride because you cancellation it was a very very last moment. I think I was in New York doing nothing very hot summer and I was called by somebody in money to New York and over the weekend and first rehearsal was a Monday so I had to flood here Sunday night but I couldn't get music. Because it was Saturday night or so I went to Mr. Bernstein studio and he secretary give me some of his material. When I overnight with his music taking over another man's program on this kind of short notice was this repertoire that you had done.
Maybe I think. Anyway I started in school and prayed with them. I think I need a new world thing for me. I don't mean crazy condition I'm here to go and we've got some great I got a little girl as many program. We might talk about school if you don't mind because you know one of the name of the school that is coming into prominence in this country more and more is the whole school you talkee Oh right because we now have so many more musicians active performers and composers in this country from from Japan and it seems that most of them have come through the tohu school and I know that was your alma mater there too for our National Music School Academy. You're the one with only one before the war and about
what. I was the first student for this talk hosts school music. Now who's going to be in Tokyo in Tokyo I'll turn to Tokyo and it started about forty two thirty eight student very small and about five teachers including profits recital with 92 people piano and Mr Shibata with competition. Also my teacher but we stayed in a new star leading critic in Tokyo so musician got kind of started we did their passion kind of great passion that we didn't have money even not you know we would be you know really traded in modern America. No soul beat things to me all big big musician. Concurrent comes this you know this is what in this country would
call a conservatory right that's right. Consequently the name derives from what is your name to have to re person to who know if there was a funny story. If toll is the name of the girls school girls young girls school no. But is the chief lean Dean over this girl's school and I like very much music and will be fired mute risk because I think Ruth futures started without any room or piano because this computer is part of their school. The use of their facilities I'm sure which is why we have a whole lot of power who have to drive our thing and we started and first time we I still remember we got tired of it Dad taught me to read very very old dormitory. Saw a big dust room you know the big bathroom
became like our main room. You're a funny looking. You can nominate new buildings and you think that will be slim was a private school private school called Coco. Yes but I mean also the talk host School of Music has a right it is a private school. Now does the school now have its own facility is very popular as a combined with just two girls with a grimace. You know you mentioned the National University of Tokyo. Yes. Now that also has a rather extensive School of Music I believe that's right they had very early music to music and apartment which we don't have and one near the western music one is Oriental Japanese traditional thing called Japanese traditional music about it. This is only one school for Japanese to traditional music. We of course in this country have had to learn. Opportunity in recent
years to become familiar with music in Japan through the recordings which you hear there by Japan and the harmonica. And there is another the Tokyo symphony is it and how many symphony orchestras are there in Tokyo it seems to me that there must be at least four I think it's about fire over here. Newest one is by Tokyo Metropolitan 50. And we have one orchestra by government radio station. It's used to NHK NHK and another one if you took us in 20 you know how many and I myself often conduct kept out you have an equal castra and this is the orchestra who makes a good record you know that's what I know but you know there are now there's a kind of that I think. And this really is is a fine orchestra. The one we know best of course because we've had most opportunity to hear it new through reality nobody
has this interest in Western music in the Orient generally it seems. But particularly in Japan has this come about largely since the last war or yet was there a greater war I felt before the Argo the one orchestra but. It was not my life. Now how you know. Orchestra music concert. I mean we're standing there including the Giants and forked tongue you know Jaws music became part about life and which is very good for us because after all we didn't have anything so we must be a hunter had something to do with for our life. So some people started with very seriously business next
Sunday until people started that way but I could do a lot for music started and if not I panicked was to take Western music seriously. In your boyhood when there was just one orchestra which played Western music culture was this pretty much what we would call the standard repertoire and the Beethoven the Mozart and the romantics. So OK so play the main Did you only say might be a German title orchestra played great and I thought Beethoven's of brownness more than you know Schumann and then Princeton and coaxed da. Is there a great interest over there in the front garden. Now yes now you know I was there at the time. Oh no it was it was all the traditional music of the wantonness.
Is this new music contemporary music. People are getting more and I just laughed about fix you fix it when you came near me. Then when you were in the ATO whole school there you you started piano and then later you turned to conducting. I you know I really wanted to be a pianist. This is interesting because you know there's one school of thought that thinks that a conductor should have a strong background that you play a string and I'm going to play them. Base database and those who played an orchestra its toehold has already string orchestra. They didn't have the right side of history. You had to earn usual opportunity there so your development as a conductor. Because as I understand it you were at the school for six years.
During those six years you could conduct that string or to Mr. Embury almost every day almost innocuous there because he prefers the sight or food eats chilies to the start of the chalice but became a conductor. And I think one of the best future for spring and also Kentucky he was a pupil before human for human genetics and who died very young he's young. Wasn't he also the teacher one of the soloists who will be appearing with the Chicago Symphony this summer. That's right each other to me. To me generation to me and or so Iraqi I don't know many about interest if you will and there's a question like that. And what can marry someone you don't you know only do so much. Yes and the thing that strikes us I think is the the great number of Japanese players who are now appearing in orchestras all over the world.
That's right funny thing happened when I went there last year went to comparable I'm stood on M Street. I went there with three of my friends all the client which is cool Fred. They played here in Chicago during this last season. And there were at least three if not perhaps half dozen And yes I think I think Mr. I don't have to as in January so they're marvelous reading if you know how many there the one all trained. And there you have re-asked orchestra Barry in radio because for weeks you know what the magical musical theatre course at last the Japanese and soul of a few hundred different sort. You do attribute this to. Schools such as a whole school and the National University in Tokyo they have a strong music department or do you attribute those to the Suzuki.
Yes this is a concert and I thought I'm re-asking Burien is a student first good student of Mr Astra Dukie and he has a much wider student Toho school to talk to school quite quietly started very small. And his mistress is painted with tickle. He doesn't have many stupid heat. He spends hours for one student. Mostly he must learn to select only good very talented writers and I missed the Juki. I think another approach to student he had. Why drag which he did I think stunt. Nice to meet many many. And he student is like 5 and I think. Well isn't it awesome. Mr. Sousa Yuki's practice to begin pupils without the. Of the rudimentary without notation Livesay learn by rote by ear
to ear so that they learn to play first by ear. No logic no reading here and if you played it. And it's good until you get from certain age you have to study so many things like harmony. Otherwise you simply duplicate recording would you learn from and the nurse can run into dangers and you know but there are so many good one came from you know Keaton and they begin very young don't think I trade letter there no idea who's not you know likely they think that community can be like language speak yes and I just can't speak you can play music. It's total school string orchestra also started really young. Now they have to be orchestras once get through ABC and over the oldest It's about between 15 to 20
including university people and feel class ease about it started about 6:00 you know and always with a pair of matter you know through a calving thing and they play very well. They really do well too. Well now you have the opportunity to out at a whole school to conduct almost daily this year. And I want only one conducting class excluded and I have a modest teacher but he you know he's old and he need I say stand tall. Almost every day I could conduct the string orchestra. Eyes are young now because my class orchestra when I was 17 my old classmate string player if you know this well you know because we played together and conducted and this was a rare opportunity.
Yeah yeah. Would you also studied composition you were writing music while you were still a toehold. Right when I started in profitless she bypassed who he was. There you have got a nickel here and really are divine of what you're looking for and I believe you wrote music for films. I thought it was still a student yes was this condoned by the school that you would go I couldn't I couldn't do it openly. No I can tell but. I hope another can read a little bit because lots of time you have to spend and especially with your brand that now it's floor down but until five years ago they make a movie like do they make it OK. You know so many movies you gave me. Yes. So they need each movie needs music. So we got I got a job through the teacher one of the teachers and the first I had two movies I said to him he wrote Kitchener OK OK
straighted I orchestrate and I contact you to get it was in it if you know. Then I did. I think three and a movie you know I get nicer before I hear it. Why didn't the school allow you to do this interferes with your studies yes because of the timing too. If I do Summertime about creation time might be all right. But carried to school time is almost impossible. When did you find this congenial work. Film School and do you like it. Yes I loved it. And also it was good to me because the night before I dragged her music next day I could conduct the same piece with smokers and not to be futile because her few jokes about you know you I can hear by myself in the contract which is good and a good study focused Ray should not control. For contemporary political outlook on
counterpoint on total minds or those data you have to do another tiny part. Orchestration and to know Ethan It is very clear that you pursued compositions and you left school. I tried to three times but I couldn't continue to long and I still am so what do I have to spend all my time to my conducting study and reading the new school new it's called competition for United. I know you you learn the whole school when 1059 and you are headed for Europe right now I believe you. You went on a Japanese cargo ship from Tokyo. How do you know it was not there you know that sounds weird. Wrestling business fun it was really fun I think it's probably me thought if I got best time my life that that three
month to month over 63 days in the boat had got about 50 boys including Captain and no passenger or you were the only me only present and we went through stopping. S times yeah. Filipe you know it's like music and I thought what would you do with him. We stopped you lonely little island stuck with Singapore can bomb be Sudan you know and I know you went around the hot spots and you know I've been through the stuff. Faith when you came through so as you know I think I'm dreaming and physically and I see you know who he is because for that time still we have a problem for younger people. We get out from Japan to
go to Europe or America. It's not beauty. You mean obtaining a ransom note on the levy that put money you know different money. You think 300 is a value against yesterday. For instance American boys if you work three summers maybe they're forced on what you might call to Europe for two months. You know I've beaten $5 three player thing you can do that good for Japanese student impossible. If you can family member get through you can a human with enough money you know so we can try our country too. So expensive to go anywhere. So I got scholarships but I didn't get money for the transportation so I had to duties and I was lucky enough to get the support I got. Good Japanese made scooter motor motorcycle motor scooter that a Honda. No now Honda didn't give me
an I got a rabbit scooter race. Kind of slow. Strong like a very slow I get so jealous when I 3 Vesper let you carry you know those two barium baited so prick so fast who knows you know it was not that fast and yours was out a rabbit rabbit rabbit. Yeah just me and the animal it was what I describe as No. I think that you were transporting in one of these two friends to serve as a model. They set up a sales agency there's a motor scooter in France. Want to sell Norton and for my to their order can be eight I suppose five thousand the blow show for sure. Go sure and Mark and everything. I don't think I did the right because you know I gave all those people or three youngsters in the name of Biden's
good. But I get so many question I I don't so I was very good. Look you can take everything. Patent patents and mechanical are going to be accurate manipulation of those measuring about 2 days I can put completely forget that. And before everything out one piece and I can put together again. So I did a few things thing but now I don't I didn't do anything but they gave me the machine for your own use them hater you and they gave me I think $300 for doing and guess first and passing out the brochures that you gave to small jewel. Well soon after you got to Paris you entered the international conductor's competition right. There are those charges Mish was a guest conductor there and he was one of the judges at this competition right.
And I went to his concert and I was so impressed and I went backstage asking if he can take me I just couldn't because you never do. He said here if you come to kind of good he can teach on this so I tried to go and then I got help from the Seth Koussevitzky who gave me kind of. And you were there in 1960 going into what you think. And I had a novice teacher again a kind of value her value long term has really you know who is the conductor of the St. Louis was you know losers who will soon be leaving St. Louis as a matter of fact. He was a contemporary of Leonard Bernstein. In fact he and Bernstein were in the same class with if you think he was of insanity. Yes. And they were both very very great talents at that time. Well shortly after this you won another competition didn't you.
Yes barely better. There's a contradiction to be stupid too from kind of you know night recorded with Mr. Grant you wanted me and I'm here if you ever want to live in the white here. I mean he had not offended you that some money and paid orchestra and he hired all because rap for fun kind of north. So it was very good for stupid. We had all consented to conduct. I had about 9 0 0 period and these were all the end of my laboratory sessions you actually had an orchestra to work with right. You know there's been a three young conductor was choose who chose to be acting stupid and kind of the people who didn't get this job at this position.
Just because you can watch this is good to attend the session. Service from what was it like studying with curry powder. What did you learn by working with him he's selected piece I think it was three pieces for once one this year and if you dare to use Sybil use the Fifth Symphony you know you know you shot the long ending and one over the last lead and here it think it's wrong oh but really I have the ear of three of your smaller Yes and one another one was as you said I'm struck us don't want to come although the room until all romantic as you say he said it is dark here he wanted it that way because that was the whole nine months the whole nine months on those three because you are very small I know you can you know how did you do the Empire doesn't lead to marriage.
No selected portion of it was not as you know Ali of the ECB a little street rhetoric and what the entire downhome don't want we can do we have a rehearsal and if you stop to our rehearsal and then he appointed what is wrong now and you have to know exactly what was right. Sometimes you know you can say you know wrong with an intonation or unsound things many things we do and how long were these sessions one session was about three days I think. First there was a piano lesson. We play piano. I scored 80 licks they start with focus for two days. You're listening to a conversation with say he always Our with Aaron Parsons and George snow. We paused ten seconds before station identification.
A conversation with...
Seiji Ozawa, part one
Producing Organization
WEFM (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
Zenith Radio Corporation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the first of two parts, features Seiji Ozawa, Music Director, Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Series Description
Eminent musicians discuss their careers and the art of music. The series is co-hosted by Arrand Parsons of Northwestern University School of Music and George Stone, WEFM program director.
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Host: Parsons, Arrand
Host: Stone, George Steingoetter, 1920-
Interviewee: Ozawa, Seiji, 1935-
Producing Organization: WEFM (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Zenith Radio Corporation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-49-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:44
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Chicago: “A conversation with...; Seiji Ozawa, part one,” 1967-12-04, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 28, 2023,
MLA: “A conversation with...; Seiji Ozawa, part one.” 1967-12-04. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 28, 2023. <>.
APA: A conversation with...; Seiji Ozawa, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from