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His first important conducting job was with the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he worked from 1955 to 1958 and again from 1967 to 1972. He also worked with the Komische Oper of East Berlin. From 1970 to 1996 he was the Kapellmeister (musical director) of the famous Gewandhausorchester Leipzig.
Dresden and Leipzig both lie in what used to be the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). For years Masur worked faithfully for the communist leaders of that country. When the political situation started to change in 1989, he helped to keep the demonstrations peaceful by talking to the politicians and the people and stopping them from fighting.
In 1991, Masur became music director of the New York Philharmonic. He stayed there for over a decade, helping to make them one of the world’s finest orchestras.
Masur enjoyed working with young musicians, conducting youth orchestras and giving masterclasses. He has given lessons on the art of conducting Beethoven’s music.
Masur has been married three times. His first wife, with whom he had a daughter, died in 1972 in a car accident. Masur himself was badly injured in that accident. Until his death, he lived with his third wife, Tomoko. They have a son, Ken-David, who has also become a conductor.
- The Independent, Sat 28 April 2012 p.35
- VERY SAD NEWS| Eminent German Conductor Kurt Masur Has Died – Aged 88