Kurt Masur on the importance of arts patronage, his years in Leipzig and New York

Posted on: May 26, 2015

Tuesday’s (5/26) Handelsblatt (Berlin, Germany; subscription required) includes Regina Krieger and Regine Müller’s interview with conductor Kurt Masur, 87, who “chairs the foundation that runs the Felix Mendelssohn Home in Leipzig. He recently spoke … about his colorful career and the importance of resurrecting patronage of the arts. ‘We need patrons, not sponsors. Just like how the orchestra began at the Gewandhaus years ago. The people of Leipzig founded the first civic orchestra, when sixteen merchants, civil servants and traders paid 16 musicians back in 1743. Before that there were only court orchestras, which played to amuse the nobility. Leipzig, it was civic pride that founded an orchestra.… We have a duty to our younger generations. We have to start educating the young generations, so that by 18 or 20 they don’t want to live without music. That has to be promoted by music lessons at six years old.… Music lessons should be taken as seriously as mathematics.’ ” Masur notes that his time as music director of the New York Philharmonic, from 1991 to 2002, “was my crowning experience. It was a master orchestra,” adding, “The spirit of Leipzig always accompanied me, regardless of where I conducted.”

Posted May 26, 2015