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MTT named a Judge Widney Professor of Music at University of Southern California
April 8, 2014

Michael Tilson Thomas has been named a Judge Widney Professor of Music at the University of Southern California. MTT, who is a two-time alumnus of the USC Thornton School (’67 and MM ’76), will take up his appointment in Fall 2015, working directly with students through mentorship and other educational opportunities. 

A Los Angeles native, MTT studied piano at USC with John Crown and conducting and composition with Ingolf Dahl. At age 19, he was named music director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, and worked with Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, Karlheiz Stockhausen and Aaron Copland on premieres of their compositions at Los Angeles’s Monday Evening Concerts. 

MTT conducted the USC Thornton Symphony in 2009 in a concert at Bovard Auditorium as part of USC Thornton’s 125th anniversary celebration and last summer led the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. He returns to Southern California to lead the LA Phil in January 2015.

European tour with San Francisco Symphony
March 12, 2014

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony in eleven concerts across Europe March 14 - 26, giving performances in London, Paris, Vienna, Prague, Geneva, Luxembourg, Dortmund, and Birmingham.  

MTT and the Orchestra’s tour repertoire includes Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and The Alcotts movement from A Concord Symphony by Charles Ives orchestrated by Henry Brant. The tour will also highlight MTT and the SFS’s longstanding relationship with John Adams, whose Absolute Jest will be performed in select cities.  

Listen to the tour program on Spotify.

Purchase tour tickets.

Mahler & Berlioz with the San Francisco Symphony
February 25, 2014

Michael Tilson Thomas is back on the West Coast to conduct the San Francisco Symphony in concerts featuring Mahler’s Third Symphony and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. The concerts anticipate MTT and the SFS’s European tour in March.

On February 27, March 1 & 2, MTT leads Mahler’s Third Symphony with the San Francisco Symphony & Chorus, San Francisco Girl's Chorus, and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke. Listen to their performance of Mahler 3 on Spotify.

The following week, violinist Julia Fischer joins MTT and the Orchestra for performances of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1. The concerts, which take place March 6, 7, 8 and 9, conclude with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.

Explore Berlioz’s masterpiece with this Keeping Score interactive feature.

You can also enjoy their performance of Symphonie fantastique on Spotify by clicking here.

MTT celebrates 20 years with San Francisco Symphony in 2014/15 season
February 24, 2014

Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas celebrates 20 years with the San Francisco Symphony in the 2014/15 season, leading the Orchestra in 17 concert weeks at Davies Symphony Hall and on tour. 2014/15 includes a season-long focus on American composers, three new releases on the SFS media label, a Beethoven Festival, MTT’s 70th Birthday Celebration, the debut of the alternative performance series SoundBox, and a United States tour.

Discover the 2014/15 season here.

MTT and the SFS inaugurate the season with an Opening Night Gala on Wednesday, September 3, in an exceptional concert event with singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt performing selected works from the American songbook of her father John Raitt, and pianist Yuja Wang in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The evening will also include a performance of Stravinsky’s Circus Polka, featuring a special video installation by Emily Eckstein.

Season-long focus on American composers

Next season, MTT will lead the San Francisco Symphony in programs that prominently feature the music of American composers, underlining MTT and the Orchestra’s two-decade long collaboration that has taken audiences through two centuries of American music with frequent festivals, commissions, premieres, and three American Mavericks festivals (1996, 2000, 2012). Continuing this emphasis on American composers, MTT conducts the first SFS performances of Mason Bates’s Alternative Energy (September 10-13), Brant’s Ice Field for organ and orchestra (September 18-21), Foss’s Then the Rocks on the Mountain Began to Shout for a cappella chorus (September 25-28), Ives’s Three Places in New England (September 25-28), Samuel Adams’s Drift and Providence in performances at Davies Symphony Hall (November 8 and on the subsequent two–week United States tour), John Adams’s Grand Pianola Music during the SFS’s week-long celebration of MTT’s 70th birthday (January 16-18), the West Coast premiere of a new work by Cynthia Lee Wong (January 21-23), John Luther Adams’s The Light that Fills the World (chamber version) (February 26-March 1), Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, The Age of Anxiety (May 7-10), Cage’s The Seasons and Renga (May 14-16), and a new work by Samuel Adams May 20-23.

70th Birthday Celebration

On January 15, 2015, musicians of the Orchestra, SFS Chorus, and a leading lineup of keyboard artists gather at Davies Symphony Hall to celebrate MTT’s 70th birthday. The centerpiece of the program features a collaboration among MTT’s keyboard colleagues - Yuja Wang, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Emanuel Ax, Jeremy Denk, and Marc-André Hamelin - in Liszt’s Hexameron for Piano and Orchestra. Additional programming and guests will be announced at a later date. MTT’s week-long birthday celebration also includes concert performances of Grand Pianola Music by John Adams and L’Histoire du Soldat by Stravinsky.

US Tour

In November 2014, MTT and the SFS embark on a six-city US tour, their 32nd together in two decades. To celebrate their 20thAnniversary season, MTT and the Orchestra return to New York’s Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Cleveland’s Severance Hall, Miami’s Arsht Center, as well as the Kauffman Center in Kansas City, and university campuses in Ann Arbor and Princeton. MTT and the SFS’s tour repertory includes Samuel Adams’s Drift and Providence, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (with Gil Shaham), Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé (both Suite No. 2 and in complete performance with chorus), Mahler’s Symphony No. 7, and Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1.

Beethoven Festival

In a nod to MTT and the Orchestra’s first summer Beethoven Festival together 25 years ago, the 2014-15 season concludes with a three-week exploration (June 10 - 28) that offers audiences new perspectives on some of the composer’s most enduring works through staging and visual design. Each of the three concert weeks focuses on a major hallmark of the composer’s career: Missa solemnis in a semi-staged production conceived by MTT with director/designer Michael Levine and video designer Finn Ross, concert performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio, and the 1808 Vienna Akademie marathon concert that introduced the world to five of the composer’s masterpieces, Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6, Fantasy in G minor, Ah! Perfido, the Kyrie, Gloria, and Sanctus from Mass in C major, and the Choral Fantasy.

SoundBox

In December 2014, MTT and the Orchestra debut a series of intimate musical evenings featuring San Francisco Symphony musicians at SoundBox, a new alternative performance space backstage at Davies Symphony Hall. The series of ten events will feature SFS musicians performing and interacting in a cabaret-style setting enhanced by a state-of-the-art Meyer Constellation sound system.

New recordings on SFS Media

Next season on the SFS Media Label, MTT and the Orchestra will release three new recordings: Mason Bates’s Liquid Interface, Alternative Energy, and The B-Sides; John Adams’s Absolute Jest featuring the St. Lawrence String Quartet and his Grand Pianola Music; and, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 with Emanuel Ax and the German composer’s Mass in C featuring the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and soprano Joélle Harvey, mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, tenor William Burden, and bass-baritone Shenyang.

Explore the 2014/15 season here.

Berio's Sinfonia with the New World Symphony & Synergy Vocals
February 13, 2014

This Saturday, February 15, MTT returns to the stage of the New World Center to lead the New World Symphony and Synergy Vocals in Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia, a work for orchestra and amplified voices.

Berio’s Sinfonia draws from a number of classical works by artists such as Stravinsky, Ravel, Debussy, Beckett, and Joyce. The concert program also includes performances of Scelsi’s Pwyll for Flute, Ohoi for Sixteen Strings, Rucke di Guck for Piccolo and Oboe, and Berio’s Linea for Two Pianos, Vibraphone and Marimba. 

Learn more & purchase tickets for this Saturday's performance. 

New World Symphony's 2014 Gala: "The Art of the Possible" features performances by MTT & Jessye Norman February 8
February 6, 2013

The New World Symphony presents its 2014 gala, titled "The Art of the Possible," on February 8 at the New World Center. The annual event features performances by Michael Tilson Thomas, soprano Jessye Norman, and Fellows of the New World Symphony.   

As part of the event, MTT leads an hour-long, all-American musical performance including George Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, narrated by Jessye Norman.  In addition, Miss Norman will perform Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Come Sunday,” “Sophisticated Lady,” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing.”

MTT conducts Tchaikovsky & Berio concerts, masterclass with New World Symphony
January 24, 2014

Following a two-week Beethoven & Bates Festival with the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas returns to Miami Beach, Florida for concerts and a special master class and open rehearsal with the New World Symphony. 

On Friday, January 24, MTT leads a master class with three local high school students who have been working with New World Symphony Fellows throughout the year. As part of the January 24 event, MTT also conducts a side-by-side rehearsal of Tchaikovsky’s Marche Slave “Slavonic March,” with 39 high school students performing alongside their coaches and mentors, the New World Symphony Fellows. Admission is free but tickets are required.

The following week, the NWS Artistic Director conducts three concerts January 31February 1 & 2 at the New World Center with a program devoted to the music of Tchaikovsky. The all-Tchaikovsky performances include the Russian master’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with cellist Matthew Allen, selections from Suite No. 2, and Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique.” 

MTT returns to the stage of the New World Center on February 15 to conduct the New World Symphony and Synergy Vocals in Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia, a work for orchestra and amplified voices. Berio’s Sinfonia draws from a number of classical works by artists such as Stravinsky, Ravel, Debussy, Beckett, and Joyce. The concert program also includes performances of Scelsi’sPwyll for Flute, Ohoi for Sixteen Strings, Rucke di Guck for Piccolo and Oboe, and Berio’s Linea for Two Pianos, Vibraphone and Marimba. Click here for tickets.

With San Francisco Symphony MTT conducts Beethoven’s Mass in C, first SFS performances of Bates’s Liquid Interface
January 13, 2014

MTT and the San Francisco Symphony continue their two-week Beethoven & Bates Festival at Davies Symphony Hall as they present Beethoven's Mass in C major, excerpts from King Stephen, and the first SFS performances of Bates' Liquid Interface. For Bates, Liquid Interface explores water in all its forms, seeking out "expanded palettes [that] articulate large narrative forms."

For Beethoven's Mass in C, MTT and the Orchestra are joined by soloists Joélle Harvey, Kelley O'Connor, William Burden and Shenyang.

MTT leads San Francscio Symphony in Beethoven 7 and Bates’s The B-Sides
January 6, 2014

From January 8 to 11, Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony in Beethoven's Seventh Symphony alongside Mason Bates's The B-Sides, a work for orchestra and electronica. "I had often imagined a suite of concise, off-kilter symphonic pieces that would incorporate the grooves and theatrics of electronica in a highly focused manner," says Bates. "So, like the forgotten bands from the flipside of an old piece of vinyl, The B-Sides offers brief landings on a variety of peculiar planets, unified by a focus on fluorescent orchestral sonorities and the morphing rhythms of electronica."

As part of the concerts, MTT also conducts Beethoven's Romances for Violin and Orchestra Nos. 1-2, featuring SFS Concertmaster Alexander Barantschik.

Principal Guest Conductor MTT leads London Symphony Orchestra in London and Birmingham
December 9, 2013
This month Michael TIlson Thomas returns to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in concerts that feature leading pianists Simon Trpčeski and Evgeny Kissin. The LSO Principal Guest Conductor first leads the orchestra on December 12 at London's Barbican Center with a program that includes Liszt's Mephisto Waltz, Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, and Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto with Simon Trpčeski. 
 
The following week pianist Evgeny Kissin joins MTT and the LSO for concerts at Birmingham's Symphony Hall (December 18) and London's Barbican Centre (December 19). The all-Russian program sees MTT conducting Rimsky-Korsakov's tone poem Dubinushka, Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony, and Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto with Evgeny Kissin. 
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