Ken-David Masur - Reviews

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"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." - Los Angeles Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl, LOS ANGELES TIMES, August 24, 2016

"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." - Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 with the Boston Symphony, THE BERKSHIRE EDGE, July 22, 2016

"Heroics abounded in the "Eroica" — in Beethoven's Bonaparte-inspired symphony, of course, but also in the performance under Masur... ...He had a sure sense of tension and release, of making each note and phrase tell a story." - Beethoven's "Erioca" Symphony with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE, July 19, 2016

"“The Unanswered Question,” (Ives) with Thomas Rolfs as an excellent trumpet soloist, was exquisitely sustained and mysterious. The “Pathétique” drew merited if misplaced applause from a rapt audience, not only after the rousing third movement but also in midfinale."  - Ives' "The Unanswered Question' and Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 18, 2016

"Ken-David Masur, guest conductor, raised the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong to a new level in the opening concert of their season. His emphatic gestures infused the players with life and set up clean tempo changes and solid entrances and endings." - Grieg, Williams, and Respighi w/ Charlie Siem and the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, November 23, 2015

“Masur drew an unusually supple shape and beautifully unified ensemble from the strings... Masur called forth robust colors form the orchestra’s brass choirs, and his telling orchestral fortes were meticulously balanced.“   - Carmina Burana w/ San Diego Symphony, SAN DIEGO STORY, May 4, 2015

“Masur‘s ‘Carmina Burana‘ a triumph with San Diego Symphony and Master Chorale“   - Carmina Burana w/ San Diego Symphony, UT SAN DIEGO, May 1, 2015

“Masur and the orchestra demonstrated their professionalism, leaving Sokhiev’s program unchanged and giving a heartily enjoyable performance... The mercurial moods of this overture, handled indifferently, could easily have felt like a series of disjointed episodes, but under Masur they progressed naturally from one to the next like a yarn from a master storyteller... I’m grateful that Ken-David Masur, Johannes Moser, and the BSO rose to the challenge and gave us a performance full of passion and color, with many rewards.“   - Berlioz, Saint-Saens and Rimsky-Korsakov w/ Boston Symphony, BOSTON MUSICAL INTELLIGENCER, January 24, 2015

“Masur marshaled the troops effectively, drew some delicious special effects from them, and converted the encouraging welcome he received at his first entrance into prolonged, delighted applause at the end.“   - Berlioz, Saint-Saens and Rimsky-Korsakov w/ Boston Symphony, BOSTON CLASSICAL REVIEW, January 23, 2015

“On the podium, [Masur] cuts a figure both streamlined and angular, and his taut podium gestures convey a wiry intensity. That quality worked to fine effect in the hurtling music... Masur’s leadership from the podium was for the most part effective and efficient.“   - Berlioz, Saint-Saens and Rimsky-Korsakov w/ Boston Symphony, THE BOSTON GLOBE, January 23, 2015

“Speaking of elegant displays of musical ability, Ken-David Masur had his own thing going on. His approach to Brahms, to my ears, was all about the line of the music and shaping it with grace and beauty.“   - Brahms Variations on a Theme by Haydn w/ San Diego Symphony, SAN DIEGO READER, December 10, 2013

“Masur’s opening movement sent off occasional illuminations of the ecstatic ‘Freude‘ that carries the final movement heavenward. In the Molto vivace, he made certain that martial rigor undergirded both its lyrical flow and the cascades of animated fughettas that grace that movement.“   - Beethoven Ninth w/ the San Diego Symphony, SAN DIEGO STORY, December 7, 2013

“If the event is fairly casual, the performances were disciplined and delightful. Masur‘s precise manner brought forth splendid sounds from the orchestra.“   - Bach, Schnittke and Mozart w/ the Memphis Symphony, THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL, January 20, 2013

“Conducting fellow Ken-David Masur gave a spacious pacing to it all. It’s fascinating how in the right hands such a gnarly, dissonant score can take on the feeling of a vintage treasure just a few generations after it was created.“   - Messiaen‘s "Oiseaux Exotiques" w/ pianist Nicholas Namoradze at Tanglewood, TIMES UN, July 31, 2012

“Masur’s (fils) concept of the concerto stressed the need for lucid texture (despite the large orchestra) and every phrase sang out with warmth and beautiful sonority, holding its place in the lyrical unfolding.“   - Schoenberg‘s Piano Concerto w/ Emanuel Ax at Tanglewood, THE BERKSHIRE REVIEW, July 28, 2012

“Here in his debut with the Boston Symphony, he led 20 or so string players in a plush account of ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,‘ which held no major surprises but sounded fresh, thanks partly to careful shaping of dynamics.“   - BSO at Tanglewood, James R. Oestreich for THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 23, 2012

“Masur was in control, taking the orchestra out of its comfort zone, pushing the tempos and cranking up the volume... Masur also demanded the strings and winds play at the extreme of their dynamic range.“   - Strong debut with the San Diego Symphony, U-T SAN DIEGO, May 11, 2012