We are pleased to announce the official program of the 2019 Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival (OMF), which returns for its 28th season this year. This summer, the Saito Kinen Orchestra (SKO) will team up with maestro Fabio Luisi for his fifth season at OMF. Mr. Luisi is second only to Festival Director Seiji Ozawa in the number of times he has performed with the SKO at the Festival, and his bond with the orchestra has grown stronger each time. The orchestra will feature Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (Titan), which was masterfully rendered by Ozawa and SKO in 2008, and Franz Schmidt’s Symphony No. 4, which will be heard at OMF for the first time. Mr. Luisi will stand at the podium a total of four times this year, conducting not only the orchestra concerts, but the opera performances as well.
Conducting another orchestra concert will be Diego Matheuz, who was showered with accolades at Matsumoto last year also. The spirited Venezuelan conductor, who recently performed with the SKO at the Deutsche Grammophon 120 Special Gala Concert in December 2018, will start off his program with Sensemayá, which was composed by fellow Latin American Silvestre Revueltas of Mexico. This will be followed by Mozart’s Haffner Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony. His powerful performances with the SKO of Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies No. 4 (2011) and No. 5 (2018) have heightened our anticipation for No. 6, which is considered to be Tchaikovsky’s final masterpiece.
The Saito Kinen Orchestra will be in the orchestra pit for the opera production for the first time in four years. The conductor and SKO are already greatly looking forward to bringing to Matsumoto the production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin that was premiered by the internationally popular director, Robert Carsen, at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.
A new highlight this year will be the Orchestra Concert with Peter and the Wolf. This symphonic tale, for which Festival Director Ozawa has conducted and narrated in the past, will be presented together with orchestra classics such as the Overture to Le nozze di Figaro and Ma Mère l’Oye. Radek Baborák, an internationally-acclaimed horn player who is more familiar with his SKO colleagues than anyone else, will conduct at the Festival for the first time with this concert. The tremendously popular actor Tsuyoshi Muro will serve as narrator, and the picture book author and Slovakia resident Nana Furiya will provide illustrations for this exciting stage production. The entire family is sure to enjoy this program.
For the first time in ten years, the OMF Chamber Music Study Group will offer the Liedduo Recital for voice and piano, welcoming Mitsuko Shirai as a teacher. Studies will focus on German lied and results of the camp/lessons at Okushiga Kogen will be presented in recitals.
We are also planning three chamber concerts that offer high-quality chamber music. The Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland, which is an embodiment of Ozawa’s educational philosophy, was met with thunderous applause for their performance last year and will return to Japan for Chamber Concert I. Young, promising musicians, who are participating in the Academy for the first time after passing highly competitive auditions in Europe, and senior members, who are now flourishing as soloists and concertmasters around the world, will perform string quartets. Alumni of the Okushiga music study groups will join in for the string orchestra. Chamber Concert II will bring audiences ample delight with the harmonies of wind instruments. The virtuosos of the oboe section, which forms the core of the SKO winds, will perform a much-anticipated trio at Matsumoto. Chamber Concert III is also not to be missed, with Brahms: String Sextet featuring Takayoshi Wanami, who has performed as a soloist, been a member of SKO since 1990, and performed many times under the baton of the late Hideo Saito.
We will bring a richly diverse program to the summer in Matsumoto again this year. We look forward to seeing you soon.
In consideration of Festival Director Seiji Ozawa’s recent physical condition, we have decided to forego the program initially planned with Ozawa and Mitsuko Uchida. We deeply apologize to those who were looking forward to this. Ozawa was unable to be in Matsumoto last year, but he is tremendously enthusiastic about being in Matsumoto this summer to supervise all programs, including the orchestra concerts, opera, chamber music concerts, educational programs, and open events. He also looks forward to seeing the audience and everyone in Matsumoto.