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2024Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival (2024OMF) Official Program Announcement

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2024 Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival (2024OMF) Dates set for August 9 (Fri) – September 4 (Wed)!
Mo. Nodoka Okisawa appointed OMF Principal Guest Conductor

*The festival dates have been changed from the initial announcement.

 As the Saito Kinen Orchestra reaches a milestone of 40 years in 2024, the season of the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival is coming upon us.
 The origin of the Saito Kinen Orchestra (SKO) dates back to September 1984 when conductor Seiji Ozawa conceived the Hideo Saito Memorial Concerts in memory of Hideo Saito, who was his mentor, a great educator, and co-founder of Toho Gakuen School of Music, gathering fellow pupils of Saito who were active as musicians around the world on the tenth anniversary of his passing. SKO went on to tour Europe and the US in 1987, 1989, 1990, and 1991. And then in September 1992, Seiji Ozawa launched the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto as its director. In 2015, the festival was renamed Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival (OMF), and marked its 30th anniversary in 2022.
 To commemorate this 30th anniversary, Festival Director Seiji Ozawa and SKO in collaboration with JAXA broadcasted live orchestra music to the International Space Station (ISS) for the first time in history, making the “ONE EARTH MISSION” a great success. Seiji Ozawa’s final public performance as conductor was delivered to outer space.
 Festival Director Seiji Ozawa passed away in February 2024, but he had been envisioning the future structure of OMF for some time, deciding the conductors and program for this summer in consultation with SKO Advisory Committee members. This season, Nodoka Okisawa and Andris Nelsons will return to Matsumoto. And for the first time in the history of the festival, Ozawa appointed Nodoka Okisawa as OMF principal guest conductor; she will continue to build a relationship with SKO moving forward.
 Andris Nelsons will conduct an ambitious program featuring the Brahms complete symphonies. This program was proposed by Nelsons in consideration of the history of SKO, while embodying Ozawa’s expectations. The Brahms complete symphonies were performed during the early SKO tours starting in the 1980s and are pivotal repertoire that shaped the direction of SKO.

 The following are comments left by Festival Director Seiji Ozawa at the end of January 2024.

I cannot believe that it has been 40 years since the Saito Kinen Orchestra was started!

Meeting Ms. Okisawa and Andris in 2022 were incredibly fortunate and wonderful events for me. As I immersed myself in the music created by the two during rehearsals and concerts with SKO, I couldn’t help but recall how my heart fluttered, like at the beginning of adventures in my youth—such as the day I realized while on a cargo ship to Europe that the sunset is stunning no matter where you are in the world; and when I began my long journey at the Ravinia Festival, Tanglewood, and Boston. The exhilaration and thrill of such times have been vividly rekindled.

This year, the festival and Matsumoto will take a large step towards a new era, which I truly look forward to.

Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival Director

A Message from Mo. Nodoka Okisawa

As one of the countless musicians around the world who are in awe of Seiji Ozawa’s music and way of life, I am deeply honored and fortunate to return to this special music festival.

The trembling excitement and exhilaration when the curtains rose to Le nozze di Figaro in summer 2022, and the sensation of “I’m so glad to be alive!” that surged in me at the conclusion of all performances were more impactful than anything I had felt before. As I immersed myself in the breath of the music abiding in the Saito Kinen Orchestra, it felt as if my body was floating. I will forever feel encouraged by how Seiji Ozawa kindly attended and watched us from the first day of rehearsals to the final performance, taking my hands and offering words of support and appreciation.

The two giant stars of Hideo Saito, the great educator, and his pupil Seiji Ozawa, who demonstrated that Saito-sensei’s teachings were universal and ignited great fervor. It will be my mission to pass on their brilliance to the next generation, and I will dedicate my heart and soul into continuing to create new inspiration.

A Message from Mo. Andris Nelsons

Maestro Seiji Ozawa was a wonderful role model, an incomparable leader, and a great friend. While we are still grieving this great loss, it is testament to Seiji’s generosity and clarity of vision that his beloved Matsumoto Festival will not only take place this year, but act as a reminder of his enduring legacy, as well as a tribute to his inspiring role as an ambassador for music all over the world.

I am greatly looking forward to returning to Matsumoto, this time during the festival this summer. As part of my last visit to Matsumoto I had the enormous privilege of working on Mahler's Ninth Symphony with the brilliant musicians of the Saito Kinen Orchestra. Tackling a work of this emotional range and musical intricacy was a fantastic occasion to create a lasting bond with the orchestra and it will be a great pleasure to continue our relationship with a complete cycle of Brahms symphonies this summer. I am aware of the significant role these symphonic masterworks have played in the orchestra’s history, and it is an honour to rediscover this beautiful music together. Brahms’s symphonies are imbued with such energy and vitality, and I have no doubt they will perfectly underscore a memorable summer in Matsumoto.

At OMF this year, we will dedicate all performances with heartfelt gratitude and respect for the accomplishments of festival founder Seiji Ozawa, who shall retain the title of festival director.


Orchestra Concert

Orchestra Concert Program A

Aug. 10 (Sat) 15:00
Aug. 11 (Sun) 15:00
Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan)
S ¥20,000 A ¥16,000 B ¥12,000 C ¥8,000


Mendelssohn: Ein Sommernachtstraum, Op. 61 excerpts
R. Strauss: Don Juan, symphonic poem, Op. 20
R. Strauss: Vier letzte Lieder*

Saito Kinen Orchestra
Conductor: Nodoka Okisawa(OMF Principal Guest Conductor)[Biography]
Soprano Solo: Elza van den Heever*

Nodoka-Okisawa
Nodoka Okisawa
© Felix Broede
Elza-Van-Den-Heever
Elza van den Heever
© Dario Acosta

Orchestra Concert Program B

Aug. 16 (Fri) 19:00
Aug. 17 (Sat) 15:00
Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan)
S ¥22,000 A ¥18,000 B ¥14,000 C ¥10,000 

Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68
Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73

Saito Kinen Orchestra
Conductor: Andris Nelsons [Biography]

Andris-Nelsons
Andris Nelsons
© Marco Borggreve

Orchestra Concert Program C

Aug. 21 (Wed) 19:00
Aug. 22 (Thu) 16:00
Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan)
S ¥22,000 A ¥18,000 B ¥14,000 C ¥10,000

Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90
Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98

Saito Kinen Orchestra
Conductor: Andris Nelsons [Biography]

Andris-Nelsons
Andris Nelsons
© Marco Borggreve

Opera

Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra OMF Opera
Puccini: Gianni Schicchi

One Act, in Italian with Japanese subtitles

Aug. 25 (Sun) 15:00
Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre Main Hall
S ¥6,000 A ¥4,000 B ¥2,000
U25: Half of each price
*U-25 tickets are only available via OMF Web Ticket.

Conductor: Nodoka Okisawa (OMF Principal Guest Conductor) [Biography]
Director: David Kneuss
Set & Costume Design: John Michael Deegan & Sarah G. Conly

Gianni Schicchi: Hidekazu Machi
Lauretta: Rena Fujii
Zita: Mayumi Makino
Rinuccio: Takamasa Sawahara
Gherardo: Shingo Takabatake
Nella: Misako Beppu
Betto: Yuichiro Ichikawa
Simone: Yasushi Hirano
Marco: Toshiaki Komada
La Ciesca: Shoko Sogo
And more

Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra

Okisawa-Nodoka
Nodoka Okisawa
© Felix Broede
David-Kneuss
David Kneuss
omf-opera1
© 大窪道治 2018OMF

Chamber Concerts

Chamber Concert I

Aug. 12 (Mon/Holiday) 15:00
The Harmony Hall
¥6,000 U-25 ¥3,000 (All seats reserved)

Chamber Concert II

Aug. 18 (Sun) 15:00
The Harmony Hal
¥6,000 U-25 ¥3,000 (All seats reserved)

Chamber Concert III

Aug. 24 (Sat) 15:00
The Harmony Hal
¥6,000 U-25 ¥3,000 (All seats reserved)

*Further details will be announced in due course.
*U-25 tickets are limited to 100 seats and are only available via OMF Web Ticket.


OMF Chamber Music Master Class - Wind Ensemble-

Since 1996, chamber music study groups have been held for various ensembles, with the focused training camp format generating excellent results every year.
For 2024, the theme is Wind Ensemble. Members of Saito Kinen Orchestra will provide intensive training over the course of one week at Okushiga-Kogen to young artists who have been chosen by audition from Japan and abroad. We will have concerts in Okushiga and Matsumoto to show their growth.

Aug. 9 (Fri) 15:00
Agata no Mori Bunka Kaikan Hall
¥1,000(General Admisson)

© 大窪道治 2007SKF

Educational Program

*This program is intended for educational purposes only. No entry to general public.

Opera for Children

Opera performances intended for first year secondary school students of Nagano prefecture. This year we will present Puccini: "Gianni Schicchi". About 4,600 students from 61 secondary schools in the prefecture will join the performance.

Puccini: "Gianni Schicchi"

Aug. 26 (Mon) 11:00 / 15:00
Aug. 27 (Tue) 11:00 / 15:00
Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre Main Hall

Conductor: Nodoka Okisawa(OMF Principal Guest Conductor)[Biography]
Director: David Kneuss
Set & Costume Design: John Michael Deegan & Sarah G. Conly

Gianni Schicchi: Hidekazu Machi
Lauretta: Rena Fujii
Zita: Mayumi Makino
Rinuccio: Takamasa Sawahara
Gherardo: Shingo Takabatake
Nella: Misako Beppu
Betto: Yuichiro Ichikawa
Simone: Yasushi Hirano
Marco: Toshiaki Komada
La Ciesca: Shoko Sogo
And more

Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra

Opera-for-Children
© 大窪道治 2018OMF
Okisawa-Nodoka
Nodoka Okisawa
© Felix Broede

Concert for Children

Concerts intended for Nagano Prefecture elementary school sixth grade students, delivered by Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra. In 2024 about 8,300 students from 174 schools will join the concerts in Matsumoto and Ina city.

Beethoven:Symphony No. 7 A major Op.92

Sep. 2 (Mon) 11:00 / 14:00
Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan)
Sep. 3 (Tue) 11:00 / 14:00
Nagano-ken Ina Bunka Kaikan
Sep. 4 (Wed) 11:00 / 14:00
Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan)

Conductor: Carl St. Clair
Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Orchestra

Concert-for-Children
Carl-St-Clair
Carl St. Clair

※The entire festival lineup will be announced at a later date.
※ The information in this press release is current as of February 22, 2024. It is subject to change or update. Please check the OMF official website for the latest information.
※ Taxes are included in the ticket price.

TICKET SALES
Tickets go on sale June 8 (Sat) 10:00 AM (JST)
via OMF Web Ticket and Ticket Agencies
●From this year, there will be no in-person ticket sales at Sogo Taiiku Kan (Matsumoto) on the first day.
Tickets information will be announced on the OMF official website at a later date.
Organized by: Saito Kinen Foundation / Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival Executive Committee

[Obituary] The passing of Director Seiji Ozawa

Seiji Ozawa, founder and Director of the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival, passed away on February 6, 2024, at the age of 88.
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude and deep condolences for his remarkable contribution to the music world, not only in Japan but also around the world.

The Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto was founded in 1992 by Seiji Ozawa who named the festival after his mentor Hideo Saito. The grand dream was to deliver Western music “From the land of Japan as a Japanese person'' to the world. Later renamed the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival (OMF) in 2015 the international music festival has been successfully delivering performances by the world’s best musicians from here in Matsumoto for more than 30 years. Seiji also poured his passion into educational activities, inviting numerous elementary and junior high school students to live performances and continuing educational programs for young musicians.

Director Seiji Ozawa has been envisioning the future of OMF for some time.
The Saito Kinen Orchestra Foundation was established in 2021 to establish a firm ground for the core of the festival – the orchestra. The next generation leadership has also been looking towards the future of the festival under the vision of Seiji and the 2024OMF program is soon to be announced.

More than 30 years have passed since Director Seiji Ozawa discovered Matsumoto, which he described as being smiled upon by the goddess of fate. Inheriting the spirit of the Director, the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival will continue into the future.

Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival Executive Committee


Message from Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival Executive Committee Chairman, Yoshinao Gaun

I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Seiji Ozawa, Director of the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival and honorary citizen of Matsumoto City.
Director Ozawa had a vision of “Delivering western music from Japan to its homeland in Western Europe,'' and with his strong desire, he chose Matsumoto out of all the cities in Japan as the home for an international music festival.

As the Director of the festival, Seiji loved Matsumoto and its citizens over the past 30 years. I cannot thank him enough for his accomplishments in developing Matsumoto as Gakuto-Music city.
Last summer, I was moved by Seiji’s appearance and reunion with the world-famous composer John Williams. I am very disappointed as I was hoping to see Seiji again. The passing of Director Seiji Ozawa, a great maestro who was loved by music fans around the world, is an immeasurable loss for the citizens of Matsumoto, and we cannot bear the pain.

We would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, and pray for Seiji’s soul to rest in peace.

February 9, 2024
Matsumoto Mayor Yoshinao Gaun
(Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival Executive Committee, Executive Committee Chairman)


Condolence Books and Flower Offering Tables Available at Multiple Locations

Condolence books to sign and leave messages, and flower offering tables are available from February 10, 2024 at multiple concert venues of the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival, including Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano Prefecture Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan), Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre, and The Harmony Hall. Please find details here (Japanese Only).

Seiji Ozawa ©Michiharu Okubo.jpeg

2023OMF Mo. Williams × Mo. Denève × SKO Orchestra Concert Program B to be aired on NHK!

2023OMF Orchestra Concert - Program B excerpt will be broadcast on Dec. 31 (Sun) 21:30- on NHK ETV.

A precious record of Mo. John Williams’s performance for the first time in 30 years; joint by Mo. Stéphane Denève who returned to Matsumoto after 10 years. Director Seiji Ozawa also appeared at the curtain call, celebrating miraculous performance of two conductors with the Saito Kinen Orchestra (SKO) together with the audience.

<On Air Schedule>
NHK ETV Dec. 31 (Sun) 21:30 -

2023 Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival
Orchestra Concert Program B

<Program>
John Williams: Yoda's Theme
       Raiders March
       Imperial March

Saito Kinen Orchestra
Conductors: John Williams, Stéphane Denève

Recorded: 2023 Sep. 2, at Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan), Matsumoto, Japan

Reference Link: 2023OMF Orchestra Concert Program B

Note: This program broadcast is limited to Japan.

2023OMF Mo. Denève × SKO Orchestra Concert Program A to be aired on abn (Asahi Broadcasting Nagano)

The live recording of the Orchestra Concert Program A (Conducted by: Stéphane Denève / Performed by Saito Kinen Orchestra) held this summer in Matsumoto on August 25 (Fri) will be broadcast on Christmas Eve at abn (Asahi Broadcasting Nagano) from 10:00 am. The program also features the OMF Chorus, which was formed mainly with local members from Matsumoto and performed on the main stage for the first time in seven years.

<On Air Schedule>
Dec. 24 (Sun) 10:00 -
abn (Asahi Broadcasting Nagano)

2023 Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival
Orchestra Concert Program A

<Program>
Bernstein:Symphonic Dances from "West Side Story"
John Williams:Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra*
Poulenc:Stabat Mater FP.148**
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2

Saito Kinen Orchestra
Conductor: Stéphane Denève

Tuba Solo: Yasuhito Sugiyama*
Soprano Solo: Isabel Leonard**
Chorus: OMF Chorus
Tokyo Opera Singers
Chorus Master:Akihiro Nishiguchi

Recorded: 2023 Aug. 25, at Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan), Matsumoto, Japan

Reference Link: 2023OMF Orchestra Concert Program A

Note: This program broadcast is limited to Japan.

2023OMF Mo. Williams × Mo. Denève × SKO Orchestra Concert Program B on NHK "Classic Ongakukan”!

2023OMF Orchestra Concert - Program B will be broadcast on Nov. 12 (Sun) 21:00- on Japan’s public broadcaster NHK’s program slot “Classic Ongakukan". A precious record of Mo. John Williams’s performance for the first time in 30 years; joint by Mo. Stéphane Denève who returned to Matsumoto after 10 years. Director Seiji Ozawa also appeared at the curtain call, celebrating miraculous performance of two conductors with the Saito Kinen Orchestra (SKO) together with the audience.

<On Air Schedule>
Nov. 12 (Sun) 21:00 -
NHK "Classic Ongakukan"

2023 Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival
Orchestra Concert Program B

<Program>
《All John Williams Program》

Saito Kinen Orchestra
Conductors: John Williams, Stéphane Denève

Recorded: 2023 Sep. 2, at Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan), Matsumoto, Japan

Reference Link: 2023OMF Orchestra Concert Program B

Note: This program broadcast is limited to Japan.

2023OMF Screen Concert in Taiwan: Re-scheduled date for Takao venue is announced!

The 2023OMF Screen Concert in Takao city, which was postponed due to the typhoon, is re-scheduled for screening on this Friday, Sep 29 at 19:00.

Date and time: Sep 29, 2023 (fri) 19:00
Place: Headphone Cinema, National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts

The details on applications and entry are available here: https://www.accupass.com/event/2309060955441648943280, in Chinese only.

Reference link:
2023OMF Screen Concert in Taiwan
2023OMF Screen Concert Official Website (Chinese only)

2023 Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival has ended with great success! See you August 10th to September 4th in 2024!

The 2023 Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival had 7 programs with 8 performances over 19 days from August 19th. The “Concert for Children” on September 6th at Kissei Bunka Hall marked the finale of the 2023 Festival. A total of approximately 9500 audience came to the paid performances.

The Festival opened with "OMF Chamber Music Study Group - Liedduo Recital," <Orchestra Concert Program A> featured Yasuhito Sugiyama (Saito Kinen Orchestra member) as soloist under the direction of Stéphane Denève for Tuba Concerto. Together with OMF Choir and Tokyo Opera Singers, masterpieces of Poulenc and Ravel were performed by the Saito Kinen Orchestra. <Orchestra Concert Program B> witnessed Director Seiji Ozawa's long-held dream of co-starring SKO with his beloved friend John Williams come true. Both orchestra performances received generous applause from the audience.

Three "Chamber Concerts” offered once-in-a lifetime ensembles played by SKO members at Harmony Hall. Maestro Diego Matheuz, the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy, and up and coming opera singers performed Acts 1 and 2 from Puccini’s La Bohème for “OMF Opera”. Three “Demae” Concerts with free admission were enjoyed by residents of assisted living who rarely have the opportunity to listen to live classical music, as well as by the local residents of Matsumoto. One of the “Demae” Concerts was held at Matsumoto City Museum, scheduled to open in October 2023.

"Opera for Children" and "Concert for Children" invited over 10,000 children from elementary and junior high schools in Nagano Prefecture. The educational programs founded with the beginning of the festival have been steadily carried forward into the new era.

We would like to express our gratitude to all of you who came to Matsumoto to listen to music this summer, as well as the volunteer staff who supported the festival behind the scenes, and the sponsor companies and related parties who made this festival possible.

The 2024 Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival is scheduled from August 10th (Sat) to, September 4th (Wed). Maestro Andris Nelsons, who received great applause at the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival 30th anniversary special performance in 2022, and Maestra Nodoka Okisawa, who also conducted Mozart’s "Le Nozze di Figaro" last year, will return to the festival in 2024.

Details of the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival 2024 are to be announced. We are looking forward to seeing you at the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival 2024.

20230902_R604035.JPG

"Concert for Children" Conductor Change Announcement

Due to illness, Carl St. Clair initially scheduled for conducting "Concert for Children" performance on Sep. 4, Sep. 5, and Sep. 6 2023, will be replaced by Diego Matheuz (Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Principal Conductor).

The program remains the same. We appreciate your understanding.

Educational Program「Concert for Children
Sep. 4 (Mon) Nagano-ken Ina Bunka Kaikan
Sep. 5 (Tue) , Sep. 6 (Wed) Kissei Bunka Hall (Nagano-ken Matsumoto Bunka Kaikan)
※This program is intended for educational purposes only. No entry to general public.

[Original program] Conductor: Carl St. Clair
[Program Change] Conductor: Diego Matheuz

Matheuz(N)-17_(C)CarlosVargas.jpgのサムネイル画像

Conductor:Diego Matheuz (Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Principal Conductor)
Diego Matheuz belongs to the first generation of outstanding musicians emerging from Venezuela’s El Sistema. With a busy conducting career in Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin and North America, he is firmly established on the international circuit and looks back at fruitful periods as principal conductor of La Fenice in Venice, principal guest conductor—upon Claudio Abbado’s invitation—of the Orchestra Mozart Bologna, and as principal guest conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
A particularly significant moment in his career was the gala concert celebrating the 120th anniversary of Deutsche Grammophon at Suntory Hall in December 2018, where he exchanged the baton with Seiji Ozawa to conduct the Saito Kinen Orchestra with soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter.
Subsequently, Seiji Ozawa invited Mr. Matheuz for concerts with the SKO at the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival and on tour in China. In 2022, he worked on Die Fledermaus with the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy, an exemplary performance which resulted in his appointment as the Music Academy’s first-ever principal conductor.
In opera, Mr. Matheuz worked at the Berlin and Bavarian State Operas, Paris Opera, the Liceu in Barcelona, and Rossini Festival Pesaro. In June 2021 he scored a major personal success with his first Aida at the Arena di Verona. With Carmen, he will give his debut at the Met in 2024.
In Venezuela, Mr. Matheuz forms and expands the repertoire of the Sistema orchestras. He also works with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, of which he is principal conductor.

2023OMF Screen Concert in Taiwan: Notice of postponement (Takao City)

The 2023 OMF Screen Concert, which was scheduled to be held in Takao City, Taiwan, today on Sep. 3rd (Sun) at 19:00, has been postponed due to the typhoon. The new date and time will be announced in due course.

The Screen concert in Taipei will be held at Breeze Cinemas from 15:30 and 19:00 as initially scheduled.

2023OMF Screen Concert in Taiwan

Standing ovation for John Williams x Stéphane Denève x SKO Orchestra Concert B Program!

Director Seiji Ozawa's long time friend John Williams came to Japan for the first time since 1993. Seiji’s long-awaited dream of co-starring with John Williams finally came true today.

As soon as the concert program was announced in February this year, there was an immediate huge response. For the first time in the festival's history, advance ticket sales were made by lottery, and the overall application rate was 14 times higher. The auditorium was filled with anticipation even before the performance began, marking the beginning of the last orchestral performance of the summer.

In the first half, two pieces related to Japan were conducted by Maestro Stéphane Denève. Mo. Denève who is well trusted by Mo. John Williams, conducted the gala concert celebrating Mo. John Williams' 90th birthday. It opened with "Sound the Bells", which was composed to commemorate the marriage of Prince Naruhito Princess Masako (at the time), and "Tributes! (For Seiji)", which was written to celebrate the quarter-century artistic collaboration between Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. “Distant Earth” Suite, and “E.T.”' followed raising expectations for the second half.

The appearance of Mo. John Williams on stage inflamed the audience. “Superman March” was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience!
Mo.Williams spoke to the audience about his return to Japan after 30 years and the joy of re-uniting with beloved friend and the Director Seiji Ozawa. Cellist Sumire Kudo translated the message for the Japanese audience.

"Schindler's List" theme was played with Yasushi Toyoshima’s melancholic violin solo. Songs from “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars” were also played. The auditorium was filled with emotions. After the encores of "Yoda's Theme," "Raiders' March," and "Imperial March," the audience gave a long standing ovation for Mo.Williams and SKO.

Director Ozawa also appeared during endless curtain calls. Mo. John Williams, Mo. Stéphane Denève and SKO members appeared on the stage with the customary prefectural flower, gentian. Never ending enthusiastic and warm applause erupted from both the stage and the audience commented on the success of the performance. Thank you everyone who came to today!

Tomorrow, September 3rd, special screen concerts of the performance will be held at two locations in Matsumoto City. Free admission to the screen concert at Matsumoto Castle Park. Please experience the exciting performance yourself!


“I’m so pleased to have been able to return to Japan after so many years. Performing my music with the brilliant Saito Kinen Orchestra and most importantly reuniting with my dear friend Seiji Ozawa has been, for me, the honor of a lifetime.”
─ John Williams

“Thank you John for coming to Matsumoto.
My dream of you conducting and experiencing the SKO came true. I feel so fortunate and happy. It was wonderful. Thank you!”
─ Seiji Ozawa

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