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The Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa was born in China when it was occupied by Japan. Originally, he intended to be a pianist but a finger injury in a school rugby match ended that ambition. He studied under Herbert von Karajan and was engaged by Leonard Bernstein as assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic. Between the years of 1964 and 1973, he directed a variety of orchestras, becoming music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1973. In a Vogue article published on April 1, 1970 about nine young conductors, Ozawa was noted for his cool hair-rising precision. Ozawa remarked “only the conductor counts” and “my baton is all I have.” Besides his twenty-nine year tenure at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in 2002 Ozawa would follow in von Karajan’s footsteps and be named as principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera.
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