"THANK YOU, KURT MASUR"|
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC 2001-2002 SEASON
During more than a decade of magnificent music-making, Music Director Kurt Masur has been the guiding force behind the New York Philharmonic. His tenure, which began in 1991 and culminates with the 2001-2002 season, has been marked by a consistently high quality of playing and artistic spirit that has enriched the Philharmonic's legacy as one of the finest symphony orchestra's in the world.
Born in Brieg, Silesia, in 1927, Mr. Masur studied piano, composition, and conducting at the Music College of Leipzig. From his earliest positions as Kapellmeister of the Halle, Erfurt, and Leipzig opera theaters to his first major orchestral appointment in 1955 as conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic to his renowned tenure of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Mr. Masur's career has embraced a wide range of musical styles and innovations. In addition to his directorship of the New York Philharmonic, Maestro Masur is currently Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2002 he will assume the post of Music Director of the Orchestre National de France.
Mr. Masur's precise musicianship, artistic wisdom, and commitment to educating young musicians has gained him recognition the world over. Upon his retirement from the Gewandhaus--a post of legendary significance that has been held by such figures as Mendelssohn, Nikisch, Furtwängler, and Walter--the Maestro was named its first-ever Conductor Laureate. Since 1992 he has also held the lifetime title of Honorary Guest Conductor of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. At the New York Philharmonic, Mr. Masur's leadership has helped launch a number of successful initiatives, including the return to live, coast-to-coast radio broadcasts and the establishment of the Orchestra's own award-winning recording label, New York Philharmonic Special Editions.
But beyond his music, Maestro Masur is a man of profound faith in the underlying beauty of the human community--and of the ability of music to unite us, with all our varied cultures and perspectives, as one. His leadership on this level, including his influential role during the peaceful 1989 demonstrations that led to German reunification, has attracted worldwide attention, and it is this philosophy, combined with the deep desire for music at the Philharmonic to mean more to concertgoers than just an evening of symphonic entertainment, that has guided Mr. Masur's directorship of the Orchestra. Said Mr. Masur, "When I came to New York, I wanted to bring some meaning to all those people who felt lonely, who felt helpless, who needed hope. If you come to a concert and understand the spirit of music, you will begin to feel at home--at home with yourself, at home with your fellow human beings. I believe that if we continue in this mission at the Philharmonic, we will continue to be needed."
So, during this very special 2001-2002 season, the New York Philharmonic will say, "Thank you, Kurt Masur," to a Maestro of many achievements who has done so much for the Orchestra and for music in New York City. In addition to featuring works and artists of particular significance to Mr. Masur throughout the season, a number of special events and accolades in his honor have been planned. With more details to be announced at future dates, this season-long celebration of the artistry of Kurt Masur will include:
New York Philharmonic Special Editions Boxed Set
New York Philharmonic Special Editions--the Orchestra's own recording label, begun under Mr. Masur's tenure--will release a multi-CD boxed set of some of the Maestro's finest Philharmonic performances. The sixth Special Editions release, it will reflect the variety and breadth of Mr. Masur's programming with live recordings of performances from his tenure at the Philharmonic. As usual, the handsomely packaged set will contain a wealth of documentation, including essays and photographs, related to Mr. Masur's leadership of the Orchestra. The set, to be released in October 2001, will join a growing selection of critically acclaimed, award-winning, historic Philharmonic performances recorded on Special Editions, each generously supported with major funding from Rita E. and Gustave M. Hauser.
An elegant, full-color, hard-bound book will celebrate the many facets of Maestro Masur's work--as artist, conductor, teacher, and humanist--with photographs, letters, and tributes. The book will be published in both English and German.
Drawing from the rich collection of the New York Philharmonic's Archives, an exhibit will be presented in Avery Fisher Hall's Bruno Walter Gallery surveying highlights of Mr. Masur's directorship of the Philharmonic.
Young Artists' Competition
The Philharmonic will hold a Young Artists' Competition for young musicians in Fall 2001. The first such competition, convened in 1992 during Mr. Masur's inaugural season as Music Director as part of the Orchestra's 150th Anniversary, resulted in the Philharmonic debuts of pianist Helen Huang and violinist Colin Jacobsen. The winner(s) of the competition will be featured in a Young People's Concert® led by Mr. Masur on November 10.
Each year during Maestro Masur's tenure at the New York Philharmonic, he has made himself and the resources of the Orchestra available to conservatories and other post-secondary institutions in the New York City area in ongoing Conservatory Collaborations. This tradition will be upheld during the 2001-2002 season when Mr. Masur leads a much-anticipated public concert with the Juilliard School Orchestra, reading sessions with the orchestras of the Mannes College of Music and Manhattan School of Music, as well as a special master class for conductors.
Three-Week Subscription Season Finale
The 2001-2002 subscription season will come to a close, May 16 through June 1, 2002, with a three-week celebration of Maestro Masur's renowned artistry. Three concert series, all led by Mr. Masur, will highlight works of special significance to the Maestro. These programs will include performances of Bernstein's Serenade, "after Plato's Symposium," featuring Concertmaster Glenn Dicterow; Mahler's Symphony No. 1; Schnittke's Cello Concerto No. 1, featuring Natalia Gutman; Bruckner's Symphony No. 3; Bartók's Divertimento; Joseph Turrin's Hemispheres, which the Orchestra commissioned specifically for performance during Mr. Masur's final subscription week as Music Director; and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica."
These final weeks of the subscription season will also bring the artistry of Mr. Masur and the New York Philharmonic to audiences outside Avery Fisher Hall. On May 18, 2002, the Philharmonic travels to the nation's capital for a performance at Washington's Kennedy Center, courtesy of the Washington Performing Arts Society. On May 27, 2002, the Orchestra returns to the towering Cathedral of St. John the Divine for its annual free Memorial Day Concert with an evening concert of Mahler's Symphony No. 1.
75th Birthday Celebration
The New York Philharmonic will join Mr. Masur in celebrating his 75th birthday (July 2002).
Additional details of the New York Philharmonic's "Thank you, Kurt Masur" Celebration Plans to Be Announced