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August 31, 2010

A greeting to Seiji Ozawa on the conductor's 75th birthday

Seiji Ozawa, who turns 75 today -- Wednesday, Sept. 1 -- has been slowly returning to the limelight since being sidelined by esophageal cancer in January and, lately, by sciatica.

Although it appears that he still has a way to go toward full recovery, it's great to see that he has concert dates on his calendar again. He's scheduled to be on the podium next week to lead a movement from Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings at a festival next week in Japan, and he's still expected at Carnegie Hall's JapanNYC festival in December.

Ozawa, the former, longtime music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is one of the world's most respected music-makers; the chorus of well-wishers has been large and loud since news of his illness broke.

The Boston Symphony is gathering birthday greetings on the orchestra's Facebook page, and, over the weekend at the Tanglewood Festival, musicians and staffers of the orchestra, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and audience members sang "Happy Birthday" to Ozawa (see photo).

I've put together a birthday salute of videos below, starting with

a terrific drive through the finale of Bartok's "Concerto for Orchestra," and moving on to a little frivolity appropriate to a celebratory occasion -- the conductor's "pretty great performance" with the Muppets, and a young Ozawa as a contestant on "What's My Line" in 1963:




Posted by Tim Smith at 7:10 PM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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