At the heart of classical music lies a tradition of musicians turned teachers handing down the lessons of their own teachers, and of their teachers’ teachers before them. Never more excitingly or skillfully did I come into this lineage than as a student with Eiji Oue, who at the time conducted the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (now the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra). A protégé of both Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein, Oue has a genius for communicating to youngsters the intricacies of classical expression through simple images and stories, as well as with his physical talent for expressive movement which so beautifully informs his conducting. A keen sense of fun helps too: Eiji showed up to rehearsals with bags of Hershey’s Miniatures, which he emptied by systematically throwing pieces to each section of the orchestra until we were evenly blanketed in treats. (Eiji was and still is a huge baseball fan–this probably had a lot do with it!) Today, he continues his legacy of fine conducting and outstanding teaching at the Musikhochschule Hannover in Germany.
Photo by T._Ilijima