Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Deborah Dickson, Susan Froemke, Ellen Hovde, 1985, 66 min
A backstage look at one of classical music's best-
known yet least understood figures. Ozawa has been
music director of the Boston Symphony since 1973,
and as one of the world's top maestros he appears in
such musical capitals as Berlin, Paris and Milan. Yet the
first East Asian to succeed in a quintessentially Western
art form remains solidly Japanese in temperament and
outlook. It is this contrast of cultures-and its effect on
his music making-that makes him such a provocative figure.
Ozawa studied conducting with Hideo Saito, who had been
a pupil of Cellist Emanuel Feuermann in Germany. He said
that if you know music and have no tradition, then you must
go to Europe, remembers Ozawa. Today Ozawa uneasily
straddles both worlds. The exemplar of success in classical
music, in Japan he is a role model to thousands of young
performers. In the West, old questions about how deeply he
understands music continue to dog him.
Given the continuing influx of Asian performers, Ozawa's
perspective is one worth heeding. Western music is like
the sun, he says. All over the word, the sunset is different,
but the beauty is the same. Maybe there is a way to make
a marriage between this Oriental blood and Western music.
Premiered at US Film Festival