Obituary: conductor Kurt Masur, 88

Posted on: December 21, 2015

“Kurt Masur, a former music director of the New York Philharmonic, died Saturday from complications from Parkinson’s disease at a hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut,” writes Anastasia Tsioulcas on Saturday (12/19) at NPR. “After a long career making music largely in East Germany, he was … named as the music director of the New York Philharmonic in 1991 and remained until 2002.… Masur, who had been the longtime Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, was best known for working with solidly German and Austrian repertoire.… In 1989, as demonstrators began to protest in the streets [in Leipzig], Masur invited them into the Gewandhaus to speak directly to the leadership…. His name … began circulating among the political class as a possible candidate for president of East Germany. But when the job offer in New York came up, Masur seized it.” Current New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert described Masur’s years at the New York Philharmonic as “one of its golden eras, in which music-making was infused … with the belief in the power of music to bring humanity closer together.” Masur is survived by his wife, Tomoko; their son, Ken-David, an assistant conductor at the Boston Symphony Orchestra; sons Michael and Matthias, and daughters Angelika and Carolin. The New York Philharmonic’s website includes a Kurt Masur memorial page, with text and photo gallery. 

Posted December 21, 2015

Pictured: Kurt Masur made his final appearances conducting the New York Philharmonic in November 2012, with two weeks of programs of music of Brahms. Photo courtesy New York Philharmonic