A legendary conductor has passed away. Kurt Masur studied piano among other instruments before turning to conducting after a hand injury as a teenager.

Kurt Masur, the music director emeritus of the New York Philharmonic, who was credited with transforming the orchestra from a sullen, lackluster ensemble into one of luminous renown, died on Saturday in Greenwich, Conn. He was 88.

The death, from complications of Parkinson’s disease, was announced by the Philharmonic, which said it would dedicate its Saturday night performance of Handel’s “Messiah” to Mr. Masur’s memory.

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