I used the Broom Public Scholarship grant to pay a student to considerably advance the documentation and preservation of the personal archive of Kurt Masur, a major figure in late 20th-century Euro-American music and politics. After German conductor Kurt Masur died in 2015, his son Ken-David (an accomplished conductor himself) and his widow Tomoko started initiatives to honor Masur’s legacy, including the International Kurt Masur Institute in Leipzig, Germany. Its archive will house documents from more than 70 years of Masur’s career. It will have an online presence, allowing researchers and aficionados to utilize its holdings worldwide.

My project at Carleton contributes to the launch and successful development of the archive. We help in building the archive by transcribing and translating recordings for the archive which will allow worldwide public access to Masur’s master classes; conversations between Masur and his colleagues; and socio-political topics such as the place of art and artists on both sides of the Iron Curtain. The material processed also includes numerous intimate interviews with family and friends. The grant supported a talented student in the German program who transcribed audio and video recordings in German to translate them into English.

The project provides the public, scholars, and students with archival material covering musicological, music-theoretical, and socio-political content. It models arts-based civic engagement projects that span multiple continents and disciplines. The students who helped transcribe and translate these recordings as well as the archive’s visitors can reflect about the issues discussed in the recordings to deepen their understanding and engagement with aspects of society formation.

The project develops strong reciprocal partnerships between Carleton College, Ken-David Masur, and the Institute. It connects Northfield with Leipzig, Germany, the Institute’s home. It develops faculty and student expertise in transcription and translation work as well as successful collaboration with a private foundation. We thank the grant committee for their support.