77-year-old conductor Seiji Ozawa seems to be recovering from health difficulties, which have forced the former Vienna State Opera music director to take a year off.
Ozawa missed last year’s Saito Kinen Festival in central Japan, an annual event that he started in tribute to his musical mentor, the late music educator Hideo Saito.
The festival’s office just announced the 2013 repertoire and Ozawa is scheduled to conduct the Saito Kinen Orchestra for Maurice Ravel’s opera, “The Child and the Spells” in late August.
A representative of the festival told Reuters, “Maestro Ozawa said last March that he was taking a year off, and that year is almost up. It just so happens that this coincides with the announcement of the festival program. He may well have other performances planned before then that we just don’t know about.”
Ozawa was first diagnosed with esophageal cancer in January 2010 and completed treatment within a year.
However, sustained inactivity aggravated a chronic back problem and in January 2011 he underwent lower back surgery.
He’s since had to cancel as many events as he has carried out.