Kurt Masur was born in Brzeg on 18th July 1927. His family house was at Mlynarska Street. Initially, as a boy he was fascinated by M. Englers’ baroque organs in the church of St Nicholas in Brzeg and wanted to become a pianist or an organist. However, in the age of 16, after an illness, he could not play these musical instruments. It was also then, when he heard a symphonic orchestra for the first time. Young Kurt Masur became fascinated by music expressed in that way.

1942-1944 – the beginning of music studies in Wroclaw (piano, violoncello),

1946-1948 – Leipzig, the education in conducting, composition and piano playing,

1948-1951– Kurt Masur assumes one after another various positions including the conductor and tutor in the Landestheater in Halle,

1951-1953 – assumes the position of the head conductor of the Städtischen Bühnen in Erfurt,

1953-1955 – appointed the head conductor of the Städtischen Theatern in Leipzig,

1955-1958 – the conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic,

1958-1960 – holds the position of musical director of the Mecklenburgischen Staatstheater in Schwerin

1960-1964 – the musical director of the Komische Oper in Berlin

1967-1972 – the musical director of the Dresden Philharmonic

1970-1996 – the musical director of the Leipzig Philharmonic Gewandhaus

since 1975 – starts the teaching activity as a professor at the Leipzig Music Academy

1991-2002 – the musical director of the New York Philharmonic

2002 – the musical director of the London Philharmonic

2002 – the musical director of the Orchestre National de France
Maestro Kurt Masur has been awarded honorary doctorate ten times. In 1996 he was decorated with Honorary Gold Medal by the National Arts Club, and a year later he assumed the title of The New York City Cultural Ambassador. The above are only some of the awards .

 

On 30th May 1996 r. The Town Council in Brzeg pursuant to the decision no. XXIII/146/96 of the same day gave Maestro Masur the freedom of the town of Brzeg. The ceremony of granting of the title was held during a concert of The Silesia Music Festival “The Agreement” in Brzeg in the church of St Nicholas.

 

On 26th June 2004 Mayor Wojciech Huczyñski met Maestro Kurt Masur and the Chairman of the EuroSilesia Foundation Miroslaw Gasieniec in the Brzeg Town Hall. On that day the Maestro expressed his consent to Mayor of Brzeg Wojciech Huczyñski’s initiative to set up The Kurt Masur Culture, Art, and Education Institute in his home town.
In 2004 Kurt Masur conducted the 1st International Conducting Master Classes in Wroclaw organized by the EuroSilesia Foundation, allocating his remuneration towards the musical education of children and young people of the primary public schools of Brzeg and Wroclaw.
On 21st April 2005 r. the ceremony of the Kurt Masur Institute (IKM) inauguration was held in the Brzeg town hall together with the concert of Antonio Vivaldi’s „Four Seasons”, performed by Konstanty Andrzej Kulka and the „Prima Vista” Quartet as a part of the International Music Festival EuroSilesia.

Joanna Kozlowska