Book Recommendation: ‘Absolutely on Music’ by Haruki Murakami & Seiji Ozawa

When I started reading ‘Absolutely on Music’, I quickly realised that this is going to be my favourite Murakami book, not only because Maestro Ozawa is one of my favourite conductors, but because of how honest and deeply personal their conversations were.

‘Absolutely on Music: Conversations With Seiji Ozawa’ is structured in six parts, each representing a conversation between the author and the conductor that occurred over the course of a few years. In between those conversations, Murakami wrote short ‘interlude chapters’, in which he explores the similarities between conducting and writing, or describes anecdotes with the conductor. The conversations take us through the past, following young Ozawa’s personal growth and career – from being an assistant conductor to some of the greats, such as Bernstein and Karajan, to becoming one of the greats himself.Ozawa reminisces about the past performances, concerts, and recordings he enjoyed listening to, collaborations with amazing instrumentalists and even talks about Japanese philosophy and its connection to his interpretations, all while listening to those performances together with Murakami. Maestro often praises

Murakami’s perspective and even calls this series of conversations a learning experience.As a conductor, I found this book to be a very valuable lesson in style, orchestral leadership, orchestral techniques, history of music, and the philosophy of music and art. It’s a must-read for all musicians!

Spotify playlist of the pieces and recordings mentioned in the book > >…

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