Masur studied piano and cello at the National Music School in Breslau, Ger. (now Wroclaw, Pol.), from 1942 to 1944. He then studied conducting, piano, and composition at the Leipzig Conservatory in 1946?48. He spent the next seven years conducting in regional East German opera houses before becoming conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic in 1955. He was subsequently music director of the Mecklenburg State Theatre (1958?60), music director of the Comic Opera in Berlin (1960?64), and conductor at Dresden again from 1967 to 1972. During his long tenure as conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (from 1970), Masur became internationally known and toured widely throughout the world. He was noted for his comprehensive repertoire, which spanned German Romanticism from the works of Ludwig van Beethoven to those of Gustav Mahler.
A prestigious cultural figure in East Germany, Masur participated in the popular agitation that led to the fall of the communist government in late 1989. He became music director of the New York Philharmonic in 1991.
“Masur, Kurt” Encyclopædia Britannica