Noted for his keen musical intelligence, imaginative programming and unmistakable charisma, Ken-David Masur is in his fourth season as Music Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
In the 2022/2023 season, Masur’s Milwaukee Symphony programming explores the natural world and its relationship to humanity. He conducts major works including Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, and continues the second year of an MSO artistic partnership with pianist Aaron Diehl. As Principal Conductor of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the academy orchestra of the Chicago Symphony, Masur leads concerts in Orchestra Hall and programs throughout Chicago including an annual Bach Marathon.
In 21/22, Masur made debuts with the San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic and Kristiansand Symphony. Following the gala opening of Milwaukee’s newly restored Bradley Symphony Center, which was telecast
nationally over PBS, highlights of the MSO season included an original staged production of Peer Gynt in partnership with director Bill Barclay. In the summer of 2022, Masur debuted at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, and he returned to Tanglewood to lead the Boston Symphony, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Branford Marsalis, and James Taylor in a 90th birthday celebration of John Williams.
Masur has conducted distinguished orchestras around the world, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago and Detroit Symphonies, l’Orchestre National de France, and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony in Tokyo. He has also made regular appearances at Ravinia, Tanglewood, the Hollywood Bowl, and at international festivals such as Verbier.
Previously, Masur was Associate Conductor of the Boston Symphony, where he led numerous concerts at Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood. He has served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Munich Symphony, and was also Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony and Resident Conductor of the San Antonio Symphony.
Masur is passionate about 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, which is frequently featured among the New York Times’ best classical picks of the season.
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 celebrating his 5th season as Music Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the Chicago Symphony’s Civic Orchestra. He has conducted distinguished orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, l’Orchestre National de France, the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, the National Philharmonic of Russia, and others throughout the United States, France, Germany, Korea, Japan and Scandinavia.
Masur’s tenure in Milwaukee has been marked by innovative thematic programming, including a festival celebrating the music of the 1930s, when the Bradley Symphony Center was built, and the Water Festival, which highlighted local community partners whose work centers on water conservation and education. He has also instituted a multi-season artist-in-residence program, and he has led highly-acclaimed performances of major choral works, including a semi-staged production of Peer Gynt. This season, he begins a residency with bass-baritone Dashon Burton, and leads the MSO in an inaugural city-wide Bach festival, celebrating the diverse and universal appeal of J.S. Bach’s music in an ever-changing world.
Last season, Masur made his New York Philharmonic debut in a gala program featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. He also debuted at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan and at Classical Tahoe in three programs that were broadcast on PBS, and he led the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Branford Marsalis and James Taylor at Tanglewood in a 90th birthday concert for John Williams. The summer of 2023 marked Masur’s debuts with the Grant Park Festival and the National Repertory Orchestra; later this season, he returns to the Baltimore Symphony and the Kristiansand Symphony.
Previously Masur was Associate Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. During his five seasons there, he led numerous concerts at Symphony Hall and at Tanglewood. 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 Civic Orchestra of Chicago, he has conducted orchestras and led masterclasses at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts, New England Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, Boston University, Boston Conservatory, Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan Chamber Orchestra, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and The Juilliard School, where he leads the Juilliard Orchestra this fall.
Masur is passionate about contemporary music and has conducted and commissioned dozens of new works, many of which have premiered at the Chelsea Music Festival, an annual summer festival in New York City founded and directed by Masur and his wife, pianist Melinda Lee Masur. The Festival, which celebrates its 15th Anniversary in 2024, has been praised by The New York Times as a “gem of a series” and by TimeOutNY as an “impressive addition to New York’s cultural ecosystem.”
Masur and his family are proud to call Milwaukee their home and enjoy exploring all the riches of the Third Coast.
“A brilliant and commanding conductor with unmistakable charisma.”
"...he knows how to pull out the stops and damn the torpedoes at appropriate times."
“There was no denying the life-force in Masur’s interpretation.”
"Ken-David Masur milked every ounce of romantic grandeur from the sweeping string lines and signaled each assertive articulation from the brass."
- The Minnesota Orchestra celebrates the 2020 Olympics
- Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" with the Boston Symphony Orchestra
- The Moment of First Encounter: Masur & the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
- PEER GYNT adapted by Bill Barclay for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Ken-David Masur
- Ken-David Masur conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra
- Symphony Hall Series
- New Tanglewood Tales: Life On Stage and Off
- Boston University College of Fine Arts presents Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9," and Arnold Schoenberg's "Friede auf Erden"
- Masur leads the National Philharmonic of Russia at the Festival International de Colmar, in France.
- Milwaukee PBS "American Dream" Interview
- Milwaukee PBS: American Dream Segment
- Ken-David Masur, Clara Osowski, and Dashon Burton Perform Mendelssohn’s Elijah!
- Ken-David Masur Triumphs in Milwaukee Symphony Water Festival
- Ken-David Masur Leads Boston Symphony
- John Williams will help Milwaukee Symphony open its new concert hall next season
- Ken-David Masur steps in for Gustavo Dudamel at the Boston Symphony Orchestra