Masur, Kurt (kŏrt mäzŏrˈ) [key], 1927–, German conductor, b. Brieg, Germany (now Brzeg, Poland). Masur is noted for his performances of the German composers whose works form the core of the traditional symphonic repertoire and of modern Eastern European and Russian composers. He studied piano, composition, and conducting at the Music College of Leipzig. Starting in 1948 he held a number of conducting posts in East Germany. His first major orchestral appointment came in 1955, when he became conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic; he later served (1967–72) as its chief conductor. Masur was music director of the highly esteemed Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig from 1970 to 1997; during his tenure he played a prominent part in the city events (1989) that contributed to the collapse of the East German Communist regime. In 1991 he succeeded Zubin Mehta as music director of the New York Philharmonic. In 2002 he left New York, where he became the second conductor after Leonard Bernstein to be named director emeritus, and assumed the posts of principal conductor of the London Philharmonic and music director of the Orchestre National de France.
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