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Google Doodle Celebrates Life of German Conductor Kurt Masur on His 91st Birthday

Courtesy of Google
Kurt Masur

Wednesday's (July 18) Google Doodle celebrates the life of Maestro Kurt Masur, the iconic German conductor and humanitarian on what would have been his 91st birthday.   

Born in 1927 in the now-Polish town of Brieg, Masur grew up studying music and while under Communist rule in East Germany he trained as a pianist, organist, cellist and percussionist. After a tendon injury as a teenager left him unable to play music anymore, Masur turned to conducting and studied at the University of Music and Theater Leipzig to hone his skills.

Although he never finished his studies, he conducted multiple East German orchestras and was eventually given the prestigious role leading the Leipzig Gewanghaus. After that, Masur went on to have an amazing musical career, landing the top posts at the London Philharmonic, the Orchestre Nationsl de France and the New York Philharmonic, which Masur famously revived and restored to world-class status.The maestro is also remembered for conducting a heartfelt and moving televised performance of Brahm's "Ein Deustches Requiem" at the New York Philharmonic in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center.

Outside of music, Masur was a devoted and decorated humanitarian. In 1989, when East Germans began to revolt against Communist Soviet rule, Masur intervened and worked to keep the peace by facilitating meetings between protestors and political leaders in order to avoid violence. Because of this, post-communist, pre-reunification leaders of East Germany thought he might have a political career in his future and some seriously considered him for president. 

After a long, successful career and many honors and awards, Masur passed away on December 19, 2015, at the age of 88 in Greenwich, Connecticut, from complications of Parkinson's disease. Today's Google Doodle honors Masur with is a black and white depiction of the maestro with movements that mimic his "robust conducting style," according to Google, "notable baton-less due to his childhood injury."