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Masur conducting San Francisco Symphony, Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony, 13 January 2007
Kurt Masur (18 July 1927 – 19 December 2015) was a German conductor. Called “one of the last old-style maestros”, he led many of the principal orchestras of his era. He had a long career as the Kapellmeister of the Gewandhaus, and also served as music director of the New York Philharmonic.
2 Conducting career
3 Political views
6 External links
Masur was born in Brieg, Lower Silesia, Germany (now Brzeg in Poland), and studied piano, composition and conducting in Leipzig, Saxony. Masur was married three times. His first marriage ended in divorce. He and his second wife, Irmgard, had a daughter, Carolin. Irmgard Masur died in 1972 in a car accident in which Masur was severely injured. His marriage to his third wife, the former Tomoko Sakurai, produced a son, Ken-David, a classical singer and conductor.
Masur conducted the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra for three years ending in 1958 and again from 1967 to 1972. He also worked with the Komische Oper of East Berlin. In 1970, he became Kapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, serving in that post until 1996. With that orchestra, he performed Beethoven’s ninth symphony at the celebration of German reunification in 1990.
In 1991, Masur became music director of the New York Philharmonic (NYP). During his tenure, there were reports of tension between Masur and the NYP’s Executive Director at the time, Deborah Borda, which eventually contributed to his contract not being renewed beyond 2002. In a television interview with Charlie Rose, Masur stated that regarding his leaving the NYP, “it was not my wish”. Masur stood down as the NYP’s music director in 2002 and was named its Music Director Emeritus, a new title created for him. The critical consensus was that Masur improved the playing of the orchestra over his tenure.
In 2000, Masur became principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) and held this position until 2007. In April 2002, Masur became music director of the Orchestre National de France (ONF) and served in this post until 2008, when he took the title of honorary music director of the ONF. On his 80th birthday, 18 July 2007, Masur conducted musicians from both orchestras at a Proms concert in London. Masur held the lifetime title of Honorary Guest Conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2012, following a series of cancellations of concert engagements, Masur disclosed on his website that he had Parkinson’s Disease.
Masur died at the age of 88 in Greenwich, Connecticut from complications of Parkinson’s disease. His survivors included his third wife and their son, as well as his daughters Angelika and Carolin, his two other sons, Michael and Matthias, and nine grandchildren.
For years, Masur was loyal to the GDR leadership. In 1982, he received the National Prize of East Germany. His attitude to the regime began to change in 1989, after the arrest of a street musician in Leipzig. On 9 October 1989, he intervened in anti-government demonstrations in Leipzig in communist East Germany, negotiating an end to a confrontation that could have resulted in security forces attacking the protesters.
A professor at the Leipzig Academy of Music since 1975, Masur received numerous honors. In 1995, he received the Cross of the Order of Merits of the Federal Republic of Germany; in 1996 he received the Gold Medal of Honor for Music from the National Arts Club; in 1997 he received the titles of Commander of the Legion of Honor from the French government and New York City Cultural Ambassador from the City of New York; in April 1999 he received the Commander Cross of Merit of the Polish Republic; in March 2002, the President of Germany, Johannes Rau, awarded him the Cross with Star of the Order of Merits of the Federal Republic of Germany; in September 2007, the President of Germany, Horst Köhler, bestowed upon him the Great Cross of the Legion of Honor with Star and Ribbon; in September 2008, he received the Furtwängler Prize in Bonn, Germany. Masur was also an Honorary Citizen of his hometown Brieg. In 2001, Kurt Masur became an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music. In 2010, he received the Leo Baeck Medal (Leo Baeck Institute) for his humanitarian work promoting tolerance and social justice. He also received a Goldene Henne award in 2014 for his work in public policy.
Jump up ^ “In praise of… Kurt Masur”. The Guardian. July 18, 2007. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
Jump up ^ John Tagliabue (2 January 1992). “Kurt Masur in Leipzig: A Favorite Son at Home”. New York Times. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
^ Jump up to: a b Margalit Fox; James R. Oestreich (19 December 2015). “Kurt Masur Dies at 88; Conductor Transformed New York Philharmonic”. The New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
Jump up ^ Kevin Shihoten (18 July 2007). “Ken Masur Named Resident Conductor of San Antonio Symphony”. Playbill Arts. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
Jump up ^ Pengelly, Martin (December 19, 2015). “Kurt Masur, great conductor who led New York Philharmonic, dies at 88”. The Guardian. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
Jump up ^ Greg Sandow (5 June 2002). “Kurt, We Hardly Knew Ye”. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 August 2007.
Jump up ^ Interview with Kurt Masur. Interview with Charlie Rose. 21 May 2002. The Charlie Rose Show. PBS. Retrieved 13 August 2007.
Jump up ^ Peter G. Davis (17 June 2002). “Soul Man”. New York. Retrieved 13 August 2007.
Jump up ^ Matthew Westphal (23 July 2007). “Daniele Gatti to Succeed Kurt Masur at Orchestre National de France”. Playbill Arts. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
Jump up ^ George Hall (20 July 2007). “LPO/ONF/Masur”. The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
Jump up ^ Steve Smith (10 November 2012). “A Maestro Returns With a Brahms Double Concerto and a Surprise Soloist”. New York Times. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
Jump up ^ Michael Walsh (23 April 1990). “New York Gets a Revolutionary”. Time. Retrieved 12 August 2007.
Jump up ^ Gaddis, John Lewis (2005). The Cold War: A New History. New York: Penguin Press. ISBN 978-1-59420-062-5.
Jump up ^ “Honorary Members of the Royal Academy of Music (Oct.14, 2009)”. Royal Academy of Music. 14 October 2009. Archived from the original on 3 December 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
Jump up ^ “Kurrt Masur – Biography”. Kurt Masur, official site. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
Official Kurt Masur website
Kurt Masur at AllMusic
Kurt Masur at the Internet Movie Database
Interview with Kurt Masur by Bruce Duffie, June 1988
Leo Baeck Institute, “Leo Baeck Medal for Kurt Masur”, 10 November 2010
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kurt Masur.
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Dresden Philharmonic Principal Conductors
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Leipzig Gewandhaus Kapellmeisters
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Orchestre National de France Permanent Conductors and Musical Directors
WorldCat VIAF: 226810696 LCCN: n82101516 ISNI: 0000 0003 6312 7255 GND: 118578766 SUDOC: 074016350 BNF: cb138972033 (data) MusicBrainz: a46387cc-ae5b-4232-9522-045d561c3b89 NKC: js20030901008 BNE: XX852511
Categories: 1927 births2015 deaths20th-century conductors (music)21st-century conductors (music)Commanders of the Order of Merit of the Republic of PolandGerman conductors (music)Grand Officiers of the Légion d’honneurGrand Crosses with Star and Sash of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of GermanyHonorary Members of the Royal Academy of MusicMembers of the Academy of the Arts, BerlinPeople from BrzegPeople from the Province of Lower SilesiaRecipients of the National Prize of East GermanyUniversity of Music and Theatre Leipzig alumniUniversity of Music and Theatre Leipzig facultyMusic directors of the New York Philharmonic20th-century German musicians21st-century German musicians
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This page was last modified on 20 December 2015, at 04:42.