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Masur was born in Brieg in Silesia and studied piano, composition and conducting in Leipzig. He held a number of conducting posts in East Germany, conducting the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra from 1955 to 1958 and again from 1967 to 1972. In 1970 he became conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and in 1991 he succeeded Zubin Mehta as music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, leaving that post in 2002. In 2000 he became principal conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and in April 2002 music director of the Orchestre National de France .
Masur is particularly noted for his interpretation of German Romantic music.
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