TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's most famous orchestral conductor, Seiji Ozawa, has concluded esophageal cancer treatment but will only conduct one piece in September concerts since his health remains frail, organizers said.
The 74-year-old Vienna State Opera musical director was diagnosed with cancer in January and has been under treatment for the first half of 2010, Japanese media said.
"Ozawa's treatment has been completed safely and the doctor said that the cancer didn't spread," the organizers of the concerts taking place in September as a part of a festival founded by the conductor, said in a statement on Thursday.
The mop-haired conductor was advised by doctors that conducting for many hours could hamper his recovery and decided to take on only one piece each in two concerts, leaving the rest to a friend, the organizers said.
Ozawa, who is turning 75 next month, was already due to step down as musical director of the Vienna State Opera later this year, a post he took up in 2002 after serving almost three decades as director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
He is legendary in Japan as one of the first Asian classical musicians widely recognized abroad and who strived to revitalize the music scene in his home country by founding an annual festival in the castle town of Matsumoto.
Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski, editing by Miral Fahmy