Born in Leipzig, Germany, Ken-David Masur began his manifold and comprehensive musical training at age 6 with the piano. At 9 years of age, he became a member of the legendary Gewandhaus Children's Choir. In 1997, he was graduated from the Pre-College Division of the Music Conservatory of Westchester in New York as a trumpet player and in the same year studied composition at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. As an undergraduate at Columbia University, Masur was trumpeter in the University orchestra, music director of the Orchestra for Asian Music and sang in the vocal ensemble, Collegium Musicum. Since obtaining his Bachelor of Arts in music from Columbia in 2002, Masur has been studying voice with renowned baritone Thomas Quasthoff at the Hochschule fur Musik "Hanns Eisler" in Berlin, Germany. Masur has since given regular Lieder recitals in New York, Detmold and Berlin, performed as Krusina in Smetana's "Bartered Bride" and as soloist with the Bach Society Orchestra of Columbia University. A recent recital at the 2005 Mendelssohn Festival in Leipzig left one critic writing "how seldom one hears such a warm and lyric Baritone voice as with Ken-David Masur" [Leipziger Volkszeitung]. The release of Masur's 2005 CD-recording on the "Querstand" label resulted in Klassik Magazine praising him for his "lyric, very smooth and natural interpretation" as Don Alfonso from Mozart's "Cosi fan Tutte."
As a "brilliant and commanding" [Leipziger Volkszeitung] conductor with "unmistakable charisma" [Bild], high praise has followed Masur since co-founding the Columbia University Bach Society Orchestra and Choir in 1999, enabling Columbia to at last join the other Ivy League universities in their long traditions of fostering Bach Society Orchestras to further the music and legacy of J.S. Bach. As its first Music Director, Masur regularly led performances of cantatas, oratorios, symphonies, operas, chamber music and choral works from the 17th to the 20th century, appearing at such venues as Miller Theatre, 92nd Street Y and the University Club in Manhattan. Under Masur's leadership, the Bach Society released its debut CD in 2002, which included works by J.S. Bach as well as symphonies by his two oldest sons, W.F. and C.P.E. Bach. The Bach Society's 2001 concert tour of Germany was met with critical acclaim, prompting one critic to write about its performance and staging of Handel's opera Acis and Galatea
: "The marvellous score could simply not have been any better realized."
Since the 2004/5 season, Masur has been frequently engaged as Assistant Conductor of the Orchestre National de France, preparing such large-scale works as Honnegger's "Jeanne d'Arc," Grieg's Peer Gynt and J.S. Bach's St. Matthew's Passion. In March 2005, Masur was invited to rehearse the Choeur de Radio France and its children's choir, La Ma?trise de Radio France, for performance of the St. Matthew's Passion. Subsequent reviews of that concert repeatedly praised the choirs' performance: "Of the entire production, it was the choruses who shined and did justice to Bach's masterwork, [delivering] a penetrating reading of [The Passion's] heavenly polyphony and powerful balancing of voices' [ResMusica]. Masur has since then been a frequent guest conductor of the Choeur de Radio France, with whom he led its first-time collaboration with the orchestra of the Paris Conservatory in the Choir's 2005/06 season opening concert. In the spring of 2006, Masur will collaborate as Assistant Conductor to Sir Colin Davis as well as conduct for the first time the Orchestre National de Toulouse.