Ken-David Masur — who has been hailed as “fearless, bold, and a life-force” (San Diego Union-Tribune) and “a brilliant and commanding conductor with unmistakable charisma” (Leipzig Volkszeitung), was recently appointed to be the new Music Director for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, beginning in the 2019/20 season. He began the 2018/19 season making his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia in two all-Tchaikovsky programs, then returned to Tanglewood to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a program of Glinka, Rachmaninoff Pno. Cto. No. 2 with Kirill Gerstein, and Stravinsky’s “Firebird.” At summer’s end he conducted workshops and a concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Mendelssohn Foundation in Tokyo.
In the fall he leads a subscription week with the BSO, where he continues as Associate Conductor. His guest engagements this season include weeks with the Louisville Orchestra, the Detroit and Milwaukee Symphonies, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra, plus concerts abroad with the National Philharmonic of Russia, Collegium Musicum Basel, the Stavanger Symphony, and the Mulhouse Symphony Orchestra in France.
Other recent guest engagements include weeks with the Milwaukee, Colorado, and Portland (ME) Symphonies, and returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Munich Symphony, where he is Principal Guest Conductor, and to the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Japan. He led l’Orchestre National de France in Paris in a program with Anne-Sophie Mutter, and regularly conducts in Germany, Korea, and Moscow. As a sought-after leader and educator of younger players, Ken-David frequently conducts the Chicago Civic Orchestra, BUTI, and the New England Conservatory and Tanglewood Music Center Orchestras.
Ken-David Masur and his wife, pianist Melinda Lee Masur, are founders and Artistic Directors of the Chelsea Music Festival, an annual two-week long multi-media production of music, art, and cuisine which in June, 2018 presented its 9th season, “Bach 333,” in New York. Its productions are varied and internationally themed, always including premieres of new works by young and established composers — a celebration of the arts and senses called a “gem of a series” by the New York Times, which frequently features the Festival amongst its Best Classical picks of the season.
Ken-David Masur has recently made recordings with the English Chamber Orchestra and violinist Fanny Clamagirand, and with the Stavanger Symphony. As founding Music Director of the Bach Society Orchestra and Chorus at Columbia University, he toured Germany and released a critically acclaimed album of symphonies and cantatas by W.F. Bach, C.P.E. Bach and J.S. Bach. WQXR recently named Masur’s recording with the Stavanger Symphony of Gisle Kverndokk’s Symphonic Dances one of “The Best New Classical Releases of July 2018”. Masur received a Grammy nomination from the Latin Recording Academy in the category Best Classical Album of the Year for his work as a producer of the album Salon Buenos Aires.
(November 2018. Please discard previously dated materials and contact firstname.lastname@example.org before making any alterations or cuts.)
“I want to tell audiences that we are in this together — exploring something new. We are starting this journey together.”
Enjoy this clip of Ken-David Masur leading the BSO in Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet"
"...the tactic of lean and long-limbed Ken-David Masur superseded older models by way of sprawling arms in rehearsed athleticism supplanting wanted poetic imagination á la Berlioz."
Ken-David Masur steps in for Conductor Gustavo Dudamel at the Boston Symphony Orchestra
Milwaukee Symphony concertgoers have had time to look over the 2019.20 season schedule by now, but Ken-David Masur is thinking longer term.
Masur, the symphony’s new music director, will conduct eight of the 18 classical subscription concerts in the new season and helped plan the rest. But he is already working on 2020.21, the first season in the Warner Grand Theater, and beyond. “We have a wish list for a trilogy of seasons,” Masur said, and he is poring over the database of past performances, thinking about pieces that he wants to have a chance to conduct with the MSO.
"The execution is virtuosic and enthusiastic under the watchful conduct of Ken-David Masur : atypical intervals, succession of impetuous patterns, rhythm sometimes broken, pizzicati particularly characteristic of double basses, striking bow movements abound."
“…Ken-David Masur, the son of legendary German conductor Kurt Masur, was one with the podium and could do no wrong. He blew the doors off Vets Auditorium with a blazing account of Berlioz’s game-changing “Symphonie fantastique,” the best showing by the orchestra all season, with a smoking brass section that would not quit…”
- Channing Gray, Providence Journal
"Thank you, Maestro Masur, for your introduction to a tantalizing piece and bringing your talents to our Louisville Orchestra podium. I hope that this will not be your only visit to our lovely and talented Possibility City."
“In naming Ken-David Masur its next music director, the Milwaukee Symphony has selected a conductor with worldwide experience, steeped in Germanic tradition, recognized for his collaborative approach and in love with choral music. ”
“…Masur led the orchestra through a neat mix of excerpts from Prokofiev’s ballet “Romeo and Juliet”. Each was given a transparent, eloquent reading…”
- Zoë Madonna, The Boston Globe
“Masur and the BSO fully embodied the tension, scampering, scampering, playful fast passagework, and luxuriating unbridled passion; we are the richer for the experience.”
-Chasman Kerr Prince, Boston Musical Intelligencer
“Under Masur, the music emerged with refined subtleties with only rare and selective moments of heat. What seemed to be a bond of trust between musicians and conductor, and vice versa, created especially sensitive playing.”
- Rick Walters, The Shepherd Express
“Masur… steered the orchestra through a piquant journey through those magical, dreamlike passages…”
- Clarence Fanto, The Berkshire Eagle
"...something of a macaronic mixture of classical drama, folkloristic fantasy, cabaret-style archness, and wink-winking 21st-century irony. These elements don’t always sit easily together. But I can happily report that Masur and the orchestra raised their game in the Grieg by several notches, that the Tanglewood Festival Chorus was a vibrant presence, and that Tilling’s performances of Solveig’s Song and Solveig’s Lullaby, with their gleaming tone and beautiful purity of line, took the evening, albeit briefly, to an entirely different place." - Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe
"The reading of Lutoslawski’s difficult and underperformed Concerto for Orchestra was especially notable, with Mr. Masur showing complete command and the students playing at a near-professional level." - Hillary Scott, The New York Times
"The Boston University Symphony gave a brilliant reading of Hindemith’s work. The principals had plenty of bright solo work, but the ensemble was expertly coordinated and balanced. Masur commanded them all with complete confidence and reassurance."
"Conducting without a baton, Masur used a score but hardly looked at it. He showed an impressive structural grasp both in his warm and perfectly paced Andante and in his supple shaping of the score's wraith-like transition from the Scherzo into the bracing Allegro finale. Masur also highlighted the riveting virtuosity of the Phil's cellos and basses in the Scherzo’s trio section."
"Under Masur’s direction on Saturday, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 crackled with such vitality and force that past performances of the work now seem pale and tentative by comparison. The crowd was ready to explode long before the piece ended. And when it did, they stood and roared."
"Heroics abounded in the "Eroica" — in Beethoven's Bonaparte-inspired symphony, of course, but also in the performance under Masur... ...He had a sure sense of tension and release, of making each note and phrase tell a story."
"Ken-David Masur, guest conductor, raised the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong to a new level in the opening concert of their season. His emphatic gestures infused the players with life and set up clean tempo changes and solid entrances and endings."
"Masur drew an unusually supple shape and beautifully unified ensemble from the strings... Masur called forth robust colors form the orchestra’s brass choirs, and his telling orchestral fortes were meticulously balanced." - San Diego Story
"On the podium, [Masur] cuts a figure both streamlined and angular, and his taut podium gestures convey a wiry intensity. That quality worked to fine effect in the hurtling music... Masur’s leadership from the podium was for the most part effective and efficient." - The Boston Globe
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