Reveries and Revelries: The 1978 BSO Japan Tour 

Japan-ExhibitReveries and Revelries:
The 1978 BSO Japan Tour

1978 BSO Japan Tour, February 27 – March 18
This was the BSO’s first tour to Japan with Music Director Seiji Ozawa, a native of Japanese-occupied Manchuria. The tour spanned 20 days with 13 concerts in 9 cities. Highlights of the tour included performances by the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and pianist Rudolf Serkin, and a joint performance with the Toho Gakuen School of Music orchestra. Ozawa studied piano at the Toho music school under Hideo Saito, his musical mentor and co-founder of the school. The BSO’s previous tour to Japan in 1960 inspired a young Ozawa to study in the United States, leading him to a Tanglewood conducting fellowship in the summer of 1960.


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Tour-BookFeatured Documents
Click the links below to view the full documents.

A glimpse inside the 1978 Japan Tour Book (PDF)

Laconia Evening Citizen | March 4, 1978 (PDF)
The 1978 tour marked the first time Seiji Ozawa appeared with the BSO in Japan (the article incorrectly states “since 1973”) and the first time the BSO had been to Japan since the 1960 tour.

Kyoto Concert Program Cover (PDF) | Kyoto Concert Program Interior Spread (PDF)
Kyoto Concert Ticket
Concert program and ticket from the BSO performance in Kyoto, March 8, 1978. Kyoto became Boston’s first Sister City in 1959.

Seiji Ozawa Curtain Call (PDF)
Boston Globe | March 17, 1978

Score of Gunther Schuller’s Deaï (PDF)
The BSO commission was written in memory of Hideo Saito, Seiji Ozawa’s piano teacher at the Toho Gakuen School of Music. The Toho orchestra joined the BSO for the world premiere in Tokyo on March 17, 1978, with Schuller, Ozawa, and Joseph Silverstein conducting. The Toho orchestra began the work backstage split into two smaller groups, conducted by Schuller and Silverstein, which gradually incorporated with the onstage orchestra as the piece progressed. Courtesy of Seiji Ozawa.

Featured Photographs
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Seiji Ozawa conducts the BSO and the Toho orchestra in Tokyo, March 17, 1978.

Photograph by Walter H. Scott
Seiji Ozawa and Gunther Schuller confer during a rehearsal of Schuller’s Deaï.

Photograph by Walter H. Scott
Seiji Ozawa at an Autograph Session
Seiji conducted a series of autograph sessions at record stores during the tour. The canister on the table near his hand is in fact a puzzle featuring the conductor, which was made for the BSO’s Musical Marathon in 1973.

Photograph by Walter H. Scott
Backstage on Tour
From Left: Harry Ellis Dickson (violin), Peter Hadcock (clarinet), and Bo Youp Hwang (violin)

Photograph by Walter H. Scott
Seiji Ozawa acknowledges the Boston Symphony Chamber Players after a performance of Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Winds, Timpani, Percussion, and String Orchestra.

BSCP left to right: Doriot Anthony Dwyer (flute), Harold Wright (clarinet), Ralph Gomberg (oboe), Sherman Walt (bassoon), Charles Kavalovski (horn, out of frame), Armando Ghitalla (trumpet), and Ron Barron (trombone).

Photograph by Walter H. Scott
Rudolf Serkin and Seiji Ozawa acknowledge the orchestra after Serkin’s performance of Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1, March 15, 1978.

Photograph by Walter H. Scott
“Strike One” on Seiji Ozawa during a softball game in Tokyo
March 13, 1978

Two teams (the “Sharps” and the “Flats”) made up of players from the BSO, the Japan Philharmonic and the New Japan Philharmonic, spent a free day in friendly competition. BSO violinist Gottfried Wilfinger plays umpire and New Japan Symphony conductor Naozumi Yamamoto catches.

Photograph by Akira Kinoshita
Seiji Ozawa breaks open a barrel of sake at a celebratory banquet.

Photograph by Akira Kinoshita