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In walked the maestro

Music director Seiji Ozawa conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston on Oct. 17, 1981, as the BSO was celebrating its 100th birthday.Ted Dully/Globe Staff

In 1973 I had just moved to Brookline and started a job at a fabric store in Coolidge Corner. I was in my mid-20s and knew almost nothing about classical music. One Saturday at work, in walked a man with his young daughter. I had never seen him before, nor did I know diddly-squat about the Boston Symphony Orchestra. But I knew instantly that this gentleman was somebody. Not that he had a swagger or air of self-importance — not at all. But he exuded charisma and an aura beyond us everyday humans.

I didn’t wait on him, but after he had left the store, my colleague came over to me quite excited: “Do you know who that was?” he asked. That is when I learned the name of the maestro Seiji Ozawa. I have never forgotten that first impression he made on me. (He died Feb. 6, at 88, in Tokyo.)


With appreciation and sincere condolences to his family.

Charlotte Andry Gibbs