(LENOX, Mass.) – Kurt Masur, who turns 85 on July 18, 2012, will share the Tanglewood podium with his son Ken-David Masur for the Boston Symphony Orchestra Sunday afternoon all-Mozart program on July 22, 2012. Maestro Masur, who canceled most of his appearances through September after taking a fall during a concert in Paris last April, maintained his July 22 Tanglewood date, though he has decided to share the conducting duties with his son, Ken-David, as he is still recuperating from the accident.
Ken-David Masur, a 2011 and 2012 Tanglewood Music Center Conducting Fellow, will make his BSO conducting debut leading Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik and Piano Concerto in C minor, K.491, with Gerhard Oppitz as soloist. Kurt Masur will lead the orchestra in the second half of the program, Mozart’s Symphony No. 36, Linz.
Kurt Masur is well known to orchestras and audiences alike as both a distinguished conductor and humanist. In September 2002, Masur became Music Director of the Orchestre National de France in Paris. In September 2008 he assumed the title of Honorary Music Director for Life of the Orchestre National de France ensuring his close and active involvement with this Orchestra for many more years to come.
From 2000-2007 he was Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic. From 1991-2002 he was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic; following his eleven-year tenure he was named Music Director Emeritus, becoming the first New York Philharmonic music director to receive that title, and only the second (after the late Leonard Bernstein, who was named Laureate Conductor) to be given an honorary position. The New York Philharmonic established the “Kurt Masur Fund for the Orchestra,” which will endow conductor debut week at the Philharmonic in perpetuity in his honor.
From 1970 until 1996, Maestro Masur served as Gewandhaus Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, a position of profound historic importance. Upon his retirement from that post in 1996, the Gewandhaus named him its first-ever Conductor Laureate.
Masur is a guest conductor with the world’s leading orchestras and holds the lifetime title of Honorary Guest Conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In July 2007, Maestro Masur celebrated his 80th birthday in an extraordinary concert at the BBC Proms in London where he conducted joint forces of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestre National de France.
A professor at the Leipzig Academy of Music since 1975, he has 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 and in March 2002, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Johannes Rau, bestowed upon Masur the Cross with Star of the Order of Merits of the Federal Republic of Germany and 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 Maestro Masur received the Furtwängler Prize in Bonn Germany. He is also an Honorary Citizen of his hometown Brieg. Maestro Masur has made well over 100 recordings with numerous orchestras, and in 2008 celebrated 60 years as a professional conductor.
Conductor and Grammy-nominated producer Ken-David Masur has been critically hailed as “fearless,” ”bold” (Union Tribune) and “a brilliant and commanding conductor with unmistakable charisma”(LVZ). His recent engagements include the Dresden Philharmonic, Russian National Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Toulouse, Memphis Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana. He currently serves as Principal Guest Conductor of the Munich Symphony as well as Assistant Conductor of the San Diego Symphony.
Between 2004 and 2006 he was an assistant conductor for Orchestre National de France in Paris before being appointed Resident Conductor of the San Antonio Symphony in 2007. In 2010, he conducted the London Symphony Orchestra as one of three finalists in the prestigious Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London and is recipient of the 2011 Seiji Ozawa Conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood.
Ken-David Masur was educated at the Leipzig Conservatory, the Detmold Academy, the “Hanns Eisler” Conservatory in Berlin where he was a five-year master student of bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff, the Manhattan School of Music and Columbia University in New York, where he served as the first Music Director of the Bach Society Orchestra and Chorus from 1999-2002, which toured Germany and released a critically acclaimed album of symphonies and cantatas by W.F. Bach, C.P.E. Bach and J.S. Bach. He studied conducting primarily with his father Kurt Masur and his other mentors include Stefan Asbury, Jorma Panula, Larry Rachleff, Christopher Seaman, Helmut Rilling, Christoph von Dohnányi, Christoph Eschenbach, Jaap van Zweden, Bernard Labadie, Charles Dutoit, and Rolf Reuter.
Together with his wife Melinda Lee Masur, Ken-David Masur serves as Artistic Co-Director of the Chelsea Music Festival, an annual summer music festival in New York City, which features the world’s leading musicians and exciting newcomers on the classical and jazz music stage. He also recently won a Grammy nomination from the Latin Recording Academy in the category of “Best Classical Album of the Year” for his work as a producer of the album Salon Buenos Aires.