Kurt Masur, widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest conductors, used music to ease Germany’s reunification and to comfort New York after 9/11.

He was one of the New York Philharmonic’s longest-serving music directors, having led the orchestra from 1991 to 2002. Many credit him for enhancing its global reputation.

Much of his career was spent within communist East Germany and he mainly focused on the classical canon, making him an unlikely choice to lead one of the New World’s pre-eminent orchestras. However, he raised its profile with 17 tours around the world, including China, a first for the orchestra. It is now a key country for the its overseas activities.

After the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, Mr Masur led the Philharmonic in Brahms’ German Requiem in a n...

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