According to Japanese online news sources, two-time Grammy Award pianist Mitsuko Uchida (68) appeared on stage at Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival in Nagano this year.
Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival (OMF) was founded by Seiji Ozawa (82), conductor and former music director of internationally acclaimed orchestras such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Sanfransisco Symphony Orchestra. He was also the recipient of Grammy Award last year.
According to Japanese media sources, Ms. Uchida performed Beethoven’s third piano concerto under the baton of Mr. Ozawa on September 8th and 10th, the final day of the festival.
The program started with two orchestral masterworks by Edward Grieg and Richard Strauss played by Saito Kinen Orchestra. The entire program link is here
Prior to this event, Ms. Uchida had canceled her solo recital program on September 4th for the same festival, due to her injury on the lower back during her stay in Salzburg.
However, she flew over to Japan several days after and successfully performed for the nights with Mr. Ozawa.
The media sources said Mr. Ozawa was mostly on a stool while conducting, but stood up once in a while when the climax arrived. I could easily imagine his dynamic conducting style had not change at all since his youth, even after going through medical treatments for his health.
In correspondence, Ms. Uchida performed with powerful, expressive, yet sensitive touch.
I clearly remember her performance when I saw her at Carnegie Hall this past March. She depicted classical-period pieces in such beautiful and sensible manner. Especially, her phrasing of each piece was beyond words.
The ovation after the program lasted for about 20 minutes! I am sure all of the audiences had longed for this premium opportunity ( I do think they are super lucky to be able to witness the great moment).
The last time they played together was over a decade ago. And now, unfortunately it has become more difficult for Mr. Ozawa to conduct on stage because of his health condition.
I was thrilled to know this news that two great masters finally played together after a long silence. For me personally, Ms.Uchida Mitsuko and Mr. Seiji Ozawa are the first names to come to my mind as the most internationally acclaimed Japanese born musicians. I hope this OMF 2017 will not become the last stage for both of them playing together.
The last time they played together was over a decade ago. And now, unfortunately it has become more difficult for Mr. Ozawa to conduct on stage because of his health condition. I hope this OMF 2017 will not become the last stage for both of them playing together.
Also, I vow to Mr.Uchida’s professionalism and humbleness to music. She could have canceled the whole programs and stayed in Europe, but I suppose her respect to the long-time colleague made the trip happen.
Just in case you have not heard Mitsuko Uchida’s piano performance, here are some reference. (Please click on the images on this page to show the details for purchasing, if you would like) Very unfortunately, I could not find any recording of Mitsuko Uchida and Seiji Ozawa together in market. If you know any, please let me know!
Media references (only in Japanese ):
Chunichi Web (中日新聞web)