Goodbye, Seiji-san

One of my great teachers passed away. I took part in his seminars many times in Kyoto for a few years about 20 years ago. One day, he showed a young conductor how he invites string players to start “Elegie.” He was sitting next to me, and I felt his deep emotion for the music in the small music room. The pianists played the maestro’s favorite, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, like an orchestra there. Seiji Ozawa preferred to be called by his first name, not “maestro.” But none of the participants called him “Seiji” because we knew that he not only had the best technique of any conductor in the world but also that he got up without fail before dawn every day to perfect his music.