Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra names Ken-David Masur its next music director

Will join MSO as its seventh music director for 2019-20

Ken-David Masur

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:10 pm

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has named Ken-David Masur as its next music director following a three-year search.

Ken-David Masur

Masur is currently the associate conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Munich Symphony.

He will begin immediately as music director designate and join the MSO as its seventh music director and Polly and Bill Van Dyke Music Director Chair for the 2019-20 season. He succeeds former music director Edo de Waart.

MSO expects to open its new symphony center at the former Warner Grand Theatre in fall 2020.

“Ken-David is a once-in-a-generation musician, conductor and innovator who boasts an impressive resume of accomplishments, yet is friendly and approachable,” said Doug Hagerman, chairman of the search committee for the new MSO music director. “He was unanimously voted to serve as the next music director given his artistic brilliance and genuine passion for how the arts can unify people and communities. We are thrilled to welcome Ken-David and his family to Milwaukee.”

Masur made his MSO debut in May and was immediately invited back to open the MSO’s current season in September.

“The relationship between the conductor, musicians and the audience is a magical alchemy,” said Mark Niehaus, president and executive director of the MSO. “Both on and off the podium, Ken-David leads and provokes, but also builds and inspires to create experiences that go beyond the notes on a page. His energy, passion and collaborative nature are the very right fit for the MSO, and also for Milwaukee as its reputation as a culturally vibrant destination continues to grow.”

Masur began the 2018-19 season making his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia, then returned to Tanglewood to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Over his career, Masur has made debuts with the Los Angeles, Dresden, Israel and Japan Philharmonics; the Hiroshima, San Diego, San Antonio and Memphis Symphonies; and the Orchestre National de France in Paris.

Masur and his wife, pianist Melinda Lee Masur, are co-founders and artistic directors of the Chelsea Music Festival in New York City, an annual summer festival of music, visual art and food. He received a Grammy nomination from the Latin Recording Academy in the category Best Classical Album of the Year for his work as a producer of composer Miguel Del Aguila’s album, Salon Buenos Aires.

“My family and I are humbled and grateful to join such a fantastic team of orchestra musicians, chorus, staff and board members who are working in harmony for our audience and community,” Masur said. “In particular, I am inspired by the incredible community-wide collaboration to create the new performance home for the MSO. Having seen the plans and having visited the Warner Grand Theatre myself, it is clear it will become a destination as well as a point of departure for great programming befitting a city and region of this caliber.”

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