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Kurt Masur (b1927)


Kurt Masur initially studied the organ, piano and cello, attending the Landesmusikschule in Breslau between 1942 and 1944. At the age of sixteen he heard a symphony orchestra for the first time and decided to become a conductor. He studied conducting at the Leipzig Conservatory from 1946 to 1948, a period during which concerts conducted by Furtwängler which he attended had a major impact upon him. As he later recalled, ‘He could play with the orchestra as he would play a piano. They followed him into every corner. Every transition just was an event. And every introduction of a new theme was outstanding.’ After completing his studies Masur joined the Halle Landestheater as a répétiteur and then gradually worked his way up the operatic career ladder of the heavily regulated post-war East German state. He served as first conductor at the Erfurt Opera from 1951 to 1953; then at the Leipzig Opera from 1953 to 1955; moved to the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra as second conductor between 1955 and 1958; and was appointed chief conductor at the Staatstheater of Mecklenburg in Schwerin in 1958. Two years later Masur was promoted to the post of chief conductor of the Komische Oper in East Berlin, then run by the brilliant theatre director Walter Felsenstein and one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in East Germany. The strength of Felsenstein’s personality proved ultimately to be a constraining influence: to quote Masur, ‘I went away from Felsenstein because…work each day was at least bringing me into a little bit, a

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Discography


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Béla Bartók - Kossuth



 

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