Seiji Ozawa: Cultural exchange via Red Sox fever

Former BSO conductor Seiji Ozawa got in on the good-natured duel.


Former BSO conductor Seiji Ozawa got in on the good-natured duel.


During the World Series, one of the most charming artifacts of fandom was the “brass-off” between the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. After some trash-talking, musicians from both groups launched into dueling versions of “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” and “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” — with a few bars of “Meet Me In St. Louis” and “Sweet Caroline” thrown in. Most charming of all: the familiar face of former BSO conductor Seiji Ozawa. In the YouTube video, he peeks out from the crowd of musicians to say, “Bring it on!” He then conducts the Boston portion of the battle while wearing a David Ortiz jersey.

It’s a nice reminder that Ozawa, who directed the BSO for 29 seasons, still has a role as music director laureate — which is kind of like having Pedro Martinez back in the dugout as a coach. And the mutual affection between Ozawa and Boston recalls one of the sweetest storylines of this Red Sox season: the city’s embrace of current Sox pitchers Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara. Uehara’s recent blog posts in Japanese, translated for the Globe’s Bob Hohler, make clear his sense of humor and devotion to his job. Decades before Uehara fever, Ozawa made a similar transition from Japanese-bred star to beloved Boston icon. The cultural exchange lives on.

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