“Ken-David Masur was one with the podium and could do no wrong. He blew the doors off Vets Auditorium with a blazing account of Berlioz’s game-changing “Symphonie fantastique,” the best showing by the orchestra all season, with a smoking brass section that would not quit.”
“Thank you, Maestro Masur, for your introduction to a tantalizing piece and bringing your talents to our Louisville Orchestra podium. I hope that this will not be your only visit to our lovely and talented Possibility City.”
“Masur and the BSO fully embodied the tension, scampering, scarpering, playful fast passagework, and luxuriating unbridled passion; we are the richer for the experience.”
“…Masur led the orchestra through a neat mix of excerpts from Prokofiev’s ballet “Romeo and Juliet.” Each was given a transparent, eloquent reading…”
“Under Masur, the music emerged with refined subtleties with only rare and selective moments of heat. What seemed to be a bond of trust between musicians and conductor, and vice versa, created especially sensitive playing.”
“Masur and the orchestra filled the program’s second half with a beautifully rendered performance of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2, using perfectly placed tempos shifts, artfully layered textures, and meaningful dynamic changes to bring a fresh energy to the four movements, along with musical urgency and momentum.”
“Masur… …steered the orchestra through a piquant journey through those magical, dreamlike passages…”
“Conducting with economy of gesture and without a baton, Masur nonetheless used his whole body as appropriate with impressive results.”
“…I can happily report that Masur and the orchestra raised their game in the Grieg by several notches…”
“He did not lack warmth, and he had excellent, focused control over the L.A. Phil.”
“The reading of Lutoslawski’s difficult and underperformed Concerto for Orchestra was especially notable, with Mr. Masur showing complete command and the students playing at a near-professional level.”
“In the concerto and two nonstandard orchestral works, BSO assistant conductor Ken-David Masur took charge on the podium. Literally. With gestures that were both commanding and expressive, he had a reduced BSO playing with taut ensemble and vivid excitement.”
“Masur was charming as a conductor. His natural enthusiasm came across as expressive and familiar. His skill and connection with the orchestra were evident. Before the break he made sure to note that ‘(Omaha is) very fortunate to have such an orchestra!’”
“The Boston University Symphony gave a brilliant reading of Hindemith’s work. The principals had plenty of bright solo work, but the ensemble was expertly coordinated and balanced. Masur commanded them all with complete confidence and reassurance.”
“Conducting without a baton, Masur used a score but hardly looked at it. He showed an impressive structural grasp both in his warm and perfectly paced Andante and in his supple shaping of the score’s wraith-like transition from the Scherzo into the bracing Allegro finale. Masur also highlighted the riveting virtuosity of the Phil’s cellos and brasses in the Scherzo’s trio section.”
“If a conductor doesn’t share Tchaikovsky’s penchant for the shamelessly bombastic, then a “classier” or more reserved composer might be a better choice. But Masur is fearless of Tchaikovsky’s over-the-top grandiloquence, and he knows how to pull out the stops and damn the torpedoes at appropriate times.
Don’t all conductors do this when the score calls for it?
It may appear that they do. But under Masur’s direction on Saturday, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 crackled with such vitality and force that past performances of the work now seem pale and tentative by comparison. The crowd was ready to explode long before the piece ended. And when it did, they stood and roared.”
“In naming Ken-David Masur its next music director, the Milwaukee Symphony has selected a conductor with worldwide experience, steeped in Germanic tradition, recognized for his collaborative approach and in love with choral music.”
“I loved music, but I thought maybe that wasn’t for me,” he said. “So I set out going to Columbia University and searching for subjects that I related to, that were maybe more interesting than music.” He followed those last words with a laugh, knowing how his life has turned out.