Milwaukee Symphony Extends Music Director Contract
Conductor Ken-David Masur will continue in his current role until the 2025/26 concert season
Ken-David Masur was appointed as music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) in 2018 and began his tenure in the 2019/20 concert season.
Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, Masur’s initial four-year contract was extended through 2023/24. Now, his contract involves an additional two years through the 2025/26 season.
Highlights of Masur’s tenure so far have included developing diverse programming for the orchestra’s first virtual season during the pandemic in January 2021, plus overseeing the orchestra's first back-in-person season.
He also created the MSO’s artistic partner position in 2021, which was then held by pianist Aaron Diehl, and is currently held by bass-baritone Dashon Burton.
Additionally, Masur has been pivotal in MSO’s new collaborative bargaining agreement with its musicians, as well as in the hiring of both MSO’s new concertmaster, Jinwoo Lee, and assistant conductor, Ryan Tani. Since 2019, Masur has appointed 19 new MSO musicians.
Previously, he was resident conductor of the San Antonio Symphony, associate conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the San Diego Symphony, and for eight years, served as principal guest conductor of the Munich Symphony.
“[Masur’s] support for our musicians, especially during the challenging times of the pandemic, was remarkable,” said MSO Players’ Council chair and principal percussionist Rob Klieger. “From organizing porch concerts at his home to launching a podcast featuring MSO recordings, Ken has been instrumental in keeping our music alive in Milwaukee. His efforts in seamlessly transitioning us to a virtual stage and back to in-person programs during this time were exemplary. We are excited to continue this journey under his dynamic leadership.”
“It gives me great joy to continue the artistic partnership with my wonderful colleagues at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra,” said Masur. “The orchestra musicians’ deep commitment and care for their craft and each composer inspires the work on and off the stage.
“I am so thankful and proud of the many things that we’ve been able to share with so many new audiences in my first seasons, as we’ve rediscovered together how music is the source for renewed purpose during extraordinary and especially challenging times,” he continued. “Together with wonderful collaborators and our very own stellar Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, I’m looking forward to the programs ahead that will continue to celebrate the great range of colors and deep humanity within our city.”