Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

Conductor Ozawa cancels concerts after cancer diagnosis

Seiji Ozawa
Seiji Ozawa joined the Vienna State Opera in 2002

Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa has been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, he has revealed.

The 74-year-old has cancelled all his concerts for the next six months to undergo treatment.

Ozawa, chief conductor of the Vienna State Opera since 2002, said the cancer was spotted during a regular medical check-up.

Before the Vienna opera, the conductor served 29 years as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Early stage

Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo, Ozawa said: "I am perfectly fine right now. I have no problems in drinking and eating."

A doctor who accompanied Ozawa at the news conference said the cancer is in an early stage.

"As my doctor guaranteed, I will come back by July. In fact, I got sick in time to fulfil my summer schedule," Ozawa added.

A spokesman for Ozawa said there were about 30 concerts at home and abroad scheduled during the six months.

Ozawa is also the artistic director and founder of the Saito Kinen Festival, Japan's music and opera festival.

The Saito Kinen said it was waiting for Ozawa's swift return.

"We appreciate his passion for music. We are eagerly waiting for his comeback," a festival official said.

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