Takashi Asahina, 93; Musical Director of Orchestra in Japan

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Takashi Asahina, 93, musical director of the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra and among the world's oldest conductors, died Saturday in Kobe, Japan, of natural causes.

He had been hospitalized for fatigue Oct. 25 after his final performance, a grueling program that included Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1.

Asahina was known for his interpretations of Beethoven, Bruckner and Tchaikovsky, and had collaborated with some of the world's leading musicians, including classical guitarist Andres Segovia and violinist Yehudi Menuhin. He had made Beethoven's Ninth Symphony a trademark piece of his orchestra.

Asahina received Japan's Order of Culture in 1994, becoming the second classical musician to be given the prestigious government award. The Osaka Philharmonic is organizing a memorial concert.

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