The soulful performance of Saito Kinen Orchestra and Mo.Dutoit with Seiji Ozawa


It has been 10 days since the 2021 Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival announced the cancellation of all performances. The performance of the Orchestra Concert Program B and it’s recording, which Festival Director Seiji Ozawa, Saito Kinen Orchestra, and all the staff have put their heart and soul into, has finally come true today.

9 am. The weather at the venue -Kissei Bunka Hall in Matsumoto City - was slightly cloudy. Members of the Saito Kinen Orchestra arrived at the venue one after another for the final rehearsal at 11:00. Everyone was excited and thrilled for the performance together after two years. Everyone must had felt the happiness of getting together and playing together as SKO. The overwhelming joy will surely be sublimated into the performance.

11 am. The final rehearsal started. The rehearsals under the direction of Charles Dutoit from August 31st for three days were thorough. Mo. Dutoit gave in-depth instructions for each part and created the sound precisely. The media attended the public rehearsal on September 2, was surprised to witness saying “We have never seen anyone giving such detailed instructions to “THE” SKO!". We knew for sure that it was because SKO is able to achieve anything that Mo. Dutoit aims to create. With Mo. Dutoit, who is renowned expert of French works and Stravinsky, the music expression of SKO deepened every second.
They performed the whole program in the last rehearsal and wait for the production at 15:00.

3 PM. SKO members dressed in concert attire gather backstage. Everyone awaits anxiously to go on stage. There are a lot of cameras for recording in the auditorium. Although it is a non-audience performance, the members could see the audience enjoying the concert on the other side of the screen. The stage door opened with a call of "Toi toi toi!" for the success of the performance, then 95 SKO members headed to the stage.

"Ma Mère l'Oye" opened the concert. Mo. Dutoit conducted without the podium with the smallest orchestra formation of the program. Mo. Dutoit moved and conducted freely as if dancing. SKO brilliantly played the rich colors drawn by Mr. Dutoit.
The next program was very different with the largest formation; Debussy "La Mer, trois esquisses symphoniques”. From the sound of waves gently approaching the coast to the swirling tides of the ocean, the ever-changing expression of the sea was expressed in a variety of hues. The image was so vivid that it felt as though the Nagano Prefecture was surrounded by Ocean instead of great mountains.

After the intermission, the third song was Debussy: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune. This is a song highlights each musicians' superb technique. The orchestra gave warm applause to the SKO members when the music is over.
The concert was concluded with Stravinsky’s “The Firebird Suite (1919 version)”.
Although it was once canceled, Orchestra Concert Program B revived like a phoenix, thanks to the passion and determination of the Festival Director, Seiji Ozawa, SKO, and all the staff. Mo. Dutoit and the finest musicians of SKO spun majestic and powerful harmony. Together with the spirit of Mo.Dutoit, the music must have flown to the audience’s heard as a firebird. The soulful performance ended at 16:57.

The SKO bowed to the empty auditorium and waved to the broadcast video cameras after the performance. When the recording light went off, everyone smiled and praised each other, then waved towards the auditorium again to the Festival Director Seiji Ozawa who had been with Mo.Dutoit and the SKO during the performance. Seiji waved back to the stage with joy.

The video recording of the performance will be broadcasted for free of charge on YouTube ONLY twice, from 19:00 on September 3rd (Fri) and from 15:00 on September 5th (Sun) (please check the description below for details). The archive distribution of the recorded video will be available around October.

We would appreciate it if you could help us reaching out to the public to deliver this magnificent performance made possible by all involved.

Performance: Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival Orchestra Concert Program B
Conductor: Charles Dutoit
Orchestra: Saito Kinen Orchestra
Recording Venue: Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan)
Date of Recording: 2021 September 3 (Fri) 3PM (JST)

Ravel: Ma Mère l’Oye Suite
Debussy: La Mer, trois esquisses symphoniques
Debussy: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite (1919 version)

September 3 (Fri) 7 PM (JST):
September 5 (Sun) 3PM (JST):

Stream on Universal Music Japan YouTube Channel
Duration of the performance: Approximately 2 hours
※Only two broadcastings scheduled as of today. The details of Archive Broadcasting is to be announced.

Festival Director Seiji Ozawa arrived in Matsumoto for rehearsals from August 31. He attended the rehearsals daily and listened to the sounds of SKO as they were polished to increase in brilliance under Maestro Dutoit’s baton. He was also able to see the maestro for the first time in years and conveyed his deep appreciation that he came to Japan at such a difficult time.
For Seiji Ozawa’s 86th birthday on September 1, we all celebrated with SKO members playing “Happy Birthday” and bringing a huge cake on stage.
On September 3, the day of the performance, he enjoyed the performance of SKO and Maestro Dutoit from the audience seats. During the final piece L’oiseau de feu, he conducted along to the superb performance of KO and Maestro Dutoit, renewing his hope that we will be able to hold the Festival next year with a full hall.

Festival Director Seiji Ozawa’s comments follow.

With the cooperation of everyone in Matsumoto, I am overjoyed that SKO was able to gather and perform together, even without an audience.
Hearing the live sounds of SKO for the first time in two years brought tears to my eyes.
I am also grateful to my old friend Charles Dutoit for coming at such a difficult time.

Matsumoto is a place that is indispensable to music.
I renewed my conviction of this today.
I look forward to seeing everyone in Matsumoto surely next year, when the Festival will mark its 30th anniversary.

Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival Director

(C)大窪道治_2021OMF_OR66938_sc.jpgDirector Seiji Ozawa watching rehearsal of Saito Kinen Orchestra and Mo. Dutoit at Kissei Bunka Hall on August 31st.