The world-renowned conductor Seiji Ozawa died of heart failure on Tuesday at the age of 88. The news was announced by his management on Friday.
In 1959, the Japanese-born maestro won first prize at an international competition for young conductors in France.
Ozawa spent time studying with the renowned Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan in Germany before he caught the attention of American maestro Leonard Bernstein. This paved the way for him to become assistant conductor at the New York Philharmonic in 1961.
From there, an illustrious career saw Ozawa lead orchestras across North America, including the New York Philharmonic, the San Fransisco Symphony, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and, most famously, the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
From 1973-2002, Ozawa served as music director of the BSO, longer than any other conductor in the orchestra's 128-year history.
Ozawa was founder and artistic director of Japan's music and opera festival -- the Saito Kinen Festival and also served as musical director of the Vienna State Opera from 2002 to 2010 and was artistic driector and founder of the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan.
Ozawa's accolades and awards were many, including: two Emmys for his television work with the BSO, a 2016 Grammy award, Person of Cultural Merit and Order of Culture bestowed by the Japanese government, and member of the International Music Council.
A private funeral was held earlier in the week, attended by close relatives.
Condolences continue to pour in over social media.
We mourns the loss of our honorary member Seiji Ozawa.— Vienna Philharmonic (@Vienna_Phil) February 9, 2024
Seiji Ozawa, one of the great conductors of our time, has passed away. We look back with gratitude & love on many performances together, especially on tour through Japan. Read the full statement here: https://t.co/wPvAm4F79b pic.twitter.com/ypUloixlaY
Seiji Ozawa was one of the warmest, kindest, and most generous people I have ever had the privilege of meeting.— Andris Nelsons (@andris_nelsons) February 9, 2024
He was a great friend, a brilliant role model, and an exemplary musician and leader. He has been an inspiration to me all my life and I will miss him dearly. pic.twitter.com/38giOe1zPZ
It fills us with incredible sadness that Seiji Ozawa – one of the greatest musical minds of our time and ultimate master of sensuous sound – has passed. His rich and lasting recording legacy on Deutsche Grammophon has spanned over half a century, featured leading orchestras… pic.twitter.com/wd2iftIwna— Deutsche Grammophon (DG) (@DGclassics) February 9, 2024
Deeply saddened by the death of Seiji Ozawa, legendary conductor with a brilliant musicianship.— Angela Gheorghiu (@angelagheorghiu) February 9, 2024
I first met Seiji in 1993 when he was conducting Verdi‘s Falstaff at the @WrStaatsoper, where I was singing Nannetta (1/2) pic.twitter.com/uve16du1Aq