Kurt Masur Anniversary Gala: In celebration of Kurt Masur's 80th Birthday

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

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Harald Schmidt — Presenter

MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig

Howard Arman — Chorus director

Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

Kurt Masur — Conductor

Program notes

In 1970, Kurt Masur was appointed musical director of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, a position he would hold for twenty-six years. Over the decades he brought his technical discipline and irreproachable expertise to concert halls all around the world, but it was to Leipzig—and to the ensemble that became one of the world’s best under his baton—that he chose to return, this time as conductor laureate, for a celebratory concert in honor of his 80th birthday.

For that special night in 2007, Maestro Masur designed a delightfully wide-ranging program, leading his audience on a veritable world tour: from his native Germany, Otto Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor and celebrated works by Brahms; eastward to Bohemia (Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances), Poland (a Mazurka from Halka), and Russia (Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien); westward to France—where he spent six years directing the Orchestre National—with Bizet’s Carmen and Dukas’s Sorceror’s Apprentice; across the Atlantic, where his eleven years at the helm of the New York Philharmonic brought West Side Story’s “Mambo” and selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess; and finally south of the border to Brazil, rounding out the festivities with a lively orchestration of “The Girl from Ipanema.”

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