Master class

Kurt Masur teaches Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A major, "Italian"

Treasures of the Masterclass Media Foundation

Certain chapters are not available.
Thank you for your understanding.


Kurt Masur — Teacher, conductor

Daniele Rustioni — Conductor (student)

Huba Hollokoy — Conductor (student)

Program notes

Director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig during more than 26 years, Kurt Masur came after Felix Mendelssohn who had directed it until his death in 1847. He pays a tribute to the outstanding composer with a masterclass.

Kurt Masur dedicated his entire life to music. He's been conducting the greatest orchestras for more than sixty years. Born in 1927, the German boy studies music at the Musikhochschule of Leipzig and quickly becomes a conductor. He conducts prestigious ensembles, from the Dresdner Philharmonie to the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, before becoming during eleven years musical director of the New York Philharmonic.

Doctor honoris causa at the University of Leipzig, at the University of Michigan, at the Cleveland Institute of Music and at the Westminster Choir College of Princeton, Kurt Masur distinguishes himself with his very thought-through and precise style which gesture is moderate but very sensitive and shows a great sense of contrasts.

In this masterclass, the maestro works on the first two movements of the Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90 of Mendelssohn, known as the Italian. This lesson is followed by a complete performance of four students, each of them conducting one movement of this bright and light work. Composed in 1830 during a halt in Italy, it was inspired by the landscapes of the country and by the romantic emotions that the young man felt during his trip. Completed in 1833, this great success was long considered his best symphony, before the Scottish was in turn glorified.


The Masterclass Media Foundation Archives offers to students and music lovers around the world filmed masterclasses, given by the best talents, on the greatest works of the classical repertoire. Their primary purpose is to provide a valuable educational resource in order to perpetuate passion and knowledge from one generation to another.

A closer look: composers and works

Appears in

More info