Tributes pour in to mark the Australian conductor’s quarter-century.

The world of orchestral music has laid aside its instruments and put on party hats to celebrate the 25 thbirthday of Australian conductor Hoshimi Sakai. Born in Japan, but raised in Australia, Sakai has been hailed by the New York Timesas “the new Fürtwangler – only hotter and not a Nazi.” Tributes have been received today from musicians around the world, praising the achievements of a conductor widely thought to have revived a moribund artform.

Speaking from his home in London, Russian conductor Valery Gergiev confessed to being a devotee of the Sakai school. “The modern symphony orchestra can be divided in to two periods: pre-Sakai and post-Sakai. I used to think the strings all had to sit together in groups, but now I just sprinkle those bitches around the stage like dill on a bowl of borscht.” Gergiev also praised Sakai’s controversial cuts to the make-up of the modern symphony orchestra. “She was the first who was brave enough to come out and say that the contrabassoon is really just a dumb version of the bassoon. I mean have you heard one? It sounds like someone farting underwater.”


Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now or log in to continue reading.