Music Director, Polly and Bill Van Dyke Music Director Chair
Hailed as “fearless, bold, and a life-force” (San Diego Union-Tribune) and “a brilliant and commanding conductor with unmistakable charisma” (Leipzig Volkszeitung), Ken-David Masur is Principal Conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and Music Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
In the summer of 2022, Masur returns to the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, appears at Classical Tahoe, and leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, and James Taylor at Tanglewood in a gala celebration of the composer John Williams. In 22/23, he leads the Nashville Symphony, the Omaha Symphony, and Poland’s Wroclaw Philharmonic. His concerts with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago include a collaboration with Hilary Hahn, and the annual Bach Marathon. With the Milwaukee Symphony, Masur oversees programming throughout the season that explores the natural world and its relationship to humanity, continues the second year of an artistic partnership with pianist Aaron Diehl, and leads choral and symphonic works including Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Mahler Symphony No. 2.
In 21/22, Masur made his subscription debuts with the San Francisco Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and leads performances with the Rochester Philharmonic and the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra. Following the October 2021 gala opening of the Milwaukee Symphony’s Bradley Symphony Center, highlights of the MSO season include[d] a semi-staged production of Peer Gynt.
Masur has conducted distinguished orchestras around the world, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago and Detroit Symphonies, l’Orchestre National de France, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony in Tokyo, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, the National Philharmonic of Russia, and orchestras throughout the United States, France, Germany, Korea, Japan, and Scandinavia. In addition to regular appearances at Ravinia, Tanglewood and the Hollywood Bowl, Masur has conducted internationally at festivals such as the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, the Festival of Colmar in France, the White Lilac Festival in Russia, the Tongyeong Festival in South Korea and the TV Asahi Festival in Tokyo, Japan.
Previously Masur was Associate Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where he led numerous concerts, at Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood, of new and standard works featuring guest artists such as Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Emanuel Ax, Garrick Ohlsson, Joshua Bell, Louis Lortie, Kirill Gerstein, Nikolaj Lugansky, and others. For eight years, Masur served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Munich Symphony, and has also served as Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony and as Resident Conductor of the San Antonio Symphony.
Masur is passionate about the growth, encouragement and application of contemporary music and has conducted and commissioned dozens of new works, many of which have premiered at the Chelsea Music Festival, an annual summer music festival in New York City founded and directed by Masur and his wife, pianist Melinda Lee Masur. The Festival seeks to engage curious audiences with its ground-breaking collaborations between the performing, visual and culinary arts, and has been praised by The New York Times as a “gem of a series.”
Music education and working with the next generation of young artists are of major importance to Masur. In addition to his work with the young musicians of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, he has led orchestras and masterclasses at the New England Conservatory, Boston University, Boston Conservatory, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and at leading universities and conservatories in Asia, Europe, and South America.
Ken-David Masur has made recordings with the English Chamber Orchestra and violinist Fanny Clamagirand, and with the Stavanger Symphony. As founding Music Director of the Bach Society Orchestra and Chorus at Columbia University, he toured Germany and released a critically acclaimed album of symphonies and cantatas by W.F. Bach, C.P.E. Bach and J.S. Bach. Masur received a Grammy nomination from the Latin Recording Academy in the category Best Classical Album of the Year for his work as a producer of the album Salon Buenos Aires.