Ken Masur and the San Antonio Symphony will perform at A.C. Jones High School in Beeville on Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. The resident conductor has been called “brilliant and commanding” [from the Leipziger Volkszeitung] and described as a conductor with “unmistakable charisma” [from the Bild].
High praise has followed Masur since his conducting debut in 1998. He co-founded the Columbia University Bach Society Orchestra and Choir in 1999 and as its first Music Director, regularly led performances of cantatas, oratorios, symphonies, operas, chamber music and choral works from the 17th to the 20th century, appearing at such venues as New York City’s Miller Theatre, Riverside Church, The 92nd Street Y, the German Consulate and the University Club. Under Masur’s leadership, the Bach Society released its debut CD in 2002, which included works by J.S. Bach as well as symphonies by Bach’s two oldest sons, W.F. and C.P.E. Bach. The Bach Society’s 2001 concert tour of Germany was met with critical acclaim, prompting one critic from the Leipziger Volkszeitung to write about its performance and staging of Handel’s opera Acis and Galatea, “The marvellous score could simply not have been any better realized.”
Masur was also music director of the Columbia Orchestra for Asian Music and in 2002 conducted the Manhattan School of Music Laureate orchestra made up of principal players of the New York Philharmonic and their students.
During the 2004-2005 season, Masur served as Assistant Conductor of the Orchestre National de France, covering such large-scale works as Honnegger’s Jeanne d’Arc and Grieg’s Peer Gynt. When he prepared J.S.Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion in 2005 with the Chœur de Radio France and the children’s choir, La Maîtrise de Radio France, subsequent reviews of that concert repeatedly praised the choirs’ performance.
Masur has since then been a frequent guest conductor of the Chœur de Radio France, with whom he led its first-time collaboration with the orchestra of the Paris Conservatory in the 2005-2006 season opening concert.
In 2006-2007, Masur gave a conducting master class for the choral conductors of the 4800-member Hong Kong Children’s Choir, collaborated with Sir Colin Davis in Orchestre National de France’s production of Gustav Holst’s The Planets, and led the Youth Orchestra of Opole, Poland as part of the 2007 annual EuroSilesia Festival. Upcoming concerts this season include Masur’s debut with the Orchestre National de Toulouse, the Rio de Janeiro Symphony, as well as with the Fort Bend Symphony in Texas.
As the San Antonio Symphony’s resident conductor for the 2007-2008 season, Masur conducted twenty-four performances in the San Antonio Symphony’s Young People’s Concert Series, four performances in the Interactive Family Classics series, the Sounds of Summer concerts and assorted other Pops, Educational and Community concerts.
Born in Leipzig, Germany, Ken Masur began his comprehensive musical training at age six with the piano and at age nine as boy-soprano in the legendary Gewandhaus Children’s Choir. As an undergraduate at Columbia University, Masur studied orchestration with French composer Tristan Murail, composition with Joseph Dubiel and conducting with Jeffrey Milarsky. He served as Principal Trumpet of the Columbia University Orchestra and of the National Youth Guild Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin. Masur has also participated in master classes with conductors Jorma Panula (St.Petersburg), Zdenek Macal (New Jersey Philharmonic), George Manahan (New York City Opera) at the Manhattan School of Music, and his father Kurt Masur, also a world-renowned conductor, in Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra’s first two international conducting master classes in 2001-2003. Masur is also an accomplished concert and Lied singer. After obtaining his Bachelor of Arts in music from Columbia in 2002, he studied voice for five years as a master student of renowned bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin. Masur has given numerous Lied recitals in New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Berlin, Detmold, and at the Festival “les muséiques” Basel, and has been featured both as conductor and singer on broadcasts for such stations as WKCR New York, RTHK4 Hong Kong and Radio France.