Masur's first important conducting job was with the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he worked from 1955 to 1958 and again from 1967 to 1972. He also worked with the Komische Oper of East Berlin. From 1970 to 1996 he was teh Kapellmeister of the famous Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. In 1991, Masur became music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2002 to 2008, Masur was music director of the Orchestre National de France. On his 80th birthday, Masur conducted musicians from both these orchestras at a Proms concert in London, conducting music by Tchaikovsky and Bruckner. The beginnings of the orchestra go back to 1743, when a society called the Grosses Concert began performing in private homes. The orchestra gave its first concert in the Gewandhaus in 1781. It is the oldest orchestra in Germany, apart for private orchestras. In 1835, the great composer Felix Mendelssohn became the orchestra's main conductor. He was called the Gewandhauskapellmeister. He kept this position, apart from one year, until his death in 1847. In 1885, the orchestra moved into a new hall which was given the same name. The present Gewandhaus is the third building with the name. It was opened in 1981.