19. December 2015 · Comments Off on Kurt Masur 1927-2015 · Categories: Losses

Kurt Masur, the music director emeritus of the New York Philharmonic, who was credited with transforming the orchestra from a sullen, lackluster ensemble into one of luminous renown, died on Saturday in Greenwich, Conn. He was 88.

The death was announced by the Philharmonic.

Mr. Masur (pronounced mah-ZOOR) was the Philharmonic’s music director from 1991 to 2002. When he took its helm, the orchestra was roundly considered to be a world-class ensemble in name only, its playing grown slipshod, its players fractious and discontented, its recording contracts unrenewed.

His immediate predecessors — Pierre Boulez, with his cool, cerebral approach and focus on contemporary works, and Zubin Mehta, seen as purveying flash and dazzle at the expense of deep musical meaning — were held more than partly responsible for the artistic decline that had followed the epochal reign of Leonard Bernstein, the Philharmonic’s music director from 1958 to 1969.

The selection of Mr. Masur to lead the Philharmonic astounded nearly everyone in classical music circles. A specialist in the music of Central European composers — notably Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Mahler and Bruckner — he had built a respectable if not scintillating career amid the musical and political repressions of East Germany.

RTWT

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