December 14 was a memorable day for me, not only for the induction into the MOC Affiliate Network at Harvard Business School, but also for the show at the Carnegie Hall that night. I had a great opportunity to listen to Saito Kinen Orchestra with Seiji Ozawa conducting Symphony No. 1 in C Minor Op.68 by J. Brahms.
This program is the kick-off of the special series “Seiji Ozawa from Japan to NYC”. As I love Saito Kinen orchestra (I go to their annual festival in Matsumoto) and Seiji Ozawa is my hero, I bought the ticket in September, when I found out that they were performing at Carnegie Hall, one of my favorite concert halls in NYC.
As Seiji was still recovering from his back problem, Tatsuya Shimono conducted the first two pieces in his place. The first one was Decathexis, by Atsuhiko Gondai, American premier, and the second piece was piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 37 by Beethoven with Mitsuko Uchida on piano. The last one was Symphony No. 1 by Brahms, which is one of my favorite.
It was reported that Seiji would not be able to conduct all the pieces due to his back problem, and there was a concern whether he could conduct the long piece. (This is the first time since his surgey that he conducted the long piece.)
When he started, however, all of us were captivated. Saito Kinen was fabulous under Seiji. It was passionate, graceful, and so powerful! The audience was euphoric and so was I.
When it ended, we gave standing ovation (what else to expect?) immediately and Seiji (who always appeared with the members of the orchestra rather than at the end by himself) shook hands with every member of the orchestra. He also brought Tatsuya Shimono, Mitsuko Uchida and Atsuhiko Gondai when we kept applauding. I particulalry like his style of learning music together (under his mentor, Hideo Saito, for whom the orchestra is formed and named) and of sharing the joy of music together with his behavior. His style almost reminded me of Prof. Michael E. Porter who has similar philosophy of learning together and exploring. (In fact, he said earlier that day that case teachng is like conducting the orchestra!)
It was such an emotional and inspiring experience for me that I felt so fortunate being there then. I was so overwhelmed that I decided to do everyting possible to reciprocate this type of experience by giving the similar opportunity and experience to younger generation. December 14,2010 was a special day for me.