Ken-David Masur

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 music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

In. 2022.23, Masur leads a range of programs with the Milwaukee Symphony, where his programming throughout the season that explores the natural world and its relationship to humanity. He also continues the second year of an MSO artistic partnership with pianist Aaron Diehl and leads choral and symphonic works including Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2. As principal conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Masur leads concerts throughout the season, including an annual Bach Marathon. Other engagements include subscription weeks with the Nashville and Omaha symphony orchestras, and a return to Poland’s Wrocław Philharmonic.

In 2021.22, Masur made his subscription debuts with the San Francisco Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and led performances with the Rochester Philharmonic and the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra.  Following the gala opening of the Milwaukee Symphony’s Bradley Symphony Center, highlights of the MSO season included a semi-staged production of Peer Gynt. In the summer of 2022, Masur debuted at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, leading three programs with the Festival Orchestra, including member sof the Berlin and Vienna philharmonics, and another concert with the Sapporo Symphony. He debuted at Classical Tahoe in three programs that were broadcast on PBS and led the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Branford Marsalis, and James Taylor at Tanglewood in a celebration of the composer John Williams.

Masur has conducted distinguished orchestras around the world, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, l’Orchestre National de France, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, the National Philharmonic of Russia, and orchestras throughout the United States, France, Germany, Korea, Japan, and Scandinavia.

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, Nikolai 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.

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 Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Chamber Orchestra, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts, New England Conservatory, Boston University, Boston Conservatory, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and at other leading universities and conservatories throughout the world.

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 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.”