Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa has announced that he has early stage esophageal cancer and will cancel about 30 concerts over the next six months to focus on treatment.
Ozawa, 74, led the Boston Symphony Orchestra longer than any other music director, from 1973 to 2002.
Current BSO Executive Director Mark Volpe has known the maestro for decades, and spoke highly of his former colleague.
"He's personally a great friend," Volpe said, "but institutionally — 30 years out of [a] 129-year history — he's almost a quarter of this orchestra's history. It's a big deal institutionally."
"That being said," Volpe added, "he has every expectation that he's going to come back like he always comes back."
Maestro Ozawa, now of the Vienna State Opera, is scheduled to appear with the BSO this summer at Tanglewood.
This program aired on January 7, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.