It's been a week since the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra released the news of Hidetaro Suzuki's retirement from the orchestra following his single appearance at the ISO's season-opening Gala on Sept. 11. ISO concertmaster and principal violinist since 1978, Suzuki departs at an unexpected point in the orchestra's season - probably because it has been long in coming, and his retirement terms are now resolved.
Hidetaro Suzuki recently retired from the ISO.
Suzuki and ISO music director Mario Venzago reportedly have been at odds practically since Venzago's arrival here in 2002. This is not an unusual occurrence for two people in these two positions when one of them is new and on top of the pecking order. There is no blame to be given to or shared between either party: Artistic differences sometimes cannot be reconciled.
In any case, Suzuki's tenure with the ISO has been exemplary over his 27 years of service. His contribution to the local music scene has been above and beyond the ordinary for a major-orchestra concertmaster, including his Suzuki and Friends chamber series, lauded for its standard of excellence. In addition, Suzuki has been an oft-time juror for the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, a recitalist and a recording artist.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1937, Suzuki did his graduate work at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute of Music as a student of Efrem Zimbalist. It was there that he met his future wife, pianist Zeyda Ruga Suzuki, who had come to Curtis at age 16 from Cuba. As a chamber duo, their teamwork has been legendary. He served as concertmaster of the Québec Symphony for 16 years prior to coming to Indianapolis. He has appeared worldwide as a conductor, soloist, recitalist, teacher and juror and makes an annual Japanese tour performing in concerts. Clearly he will be missed.
Stay tuned for details on an ISO executive search committee's plans to find Suzuki's replacement. It won't be easy.