Mar 15, 2021
The San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas’s recording of MTT’s own compositions From the Diary of Anne Frank & Meditations on Rilke won a 2021 Grammy® Award in the category of Best Classical Compendium. Recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall in November 2018 and January 2020, respectively, this album represents the first SFS Media release of MTT’s original compositions, juxtaposing his earliest orchestral work with his most recent one. It features Isabel Leonard, Sasha Cooke, and Ryan McKinny as soloists.
For more information, program notes, and performance video footage, and commentary from MTT, visit https://www.sfsymphony.org/tilsonthomas.
Based on the historic diary kept by Anne Frank during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, From the Diary of Anne Frank is MTT’s dramatic work for narrator and orchestra. Commissioned by UNICEF and originally written for Audrey Hepburn as a vehicle in her role as a UNICEF ambassador, the work received its premiere with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony in 1990. The San Francisco Symphony first performed From the Diary of Anne Frank in November 2018, in concerts celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with Isabel Leonard as narrator.
Completed more than three decades later, MTT’s song cycle Meditations on Rilke is a musical setting of lyric poems by German modernist Rainer Maria Rilke, whose writings grapple with sentiments at the core of the human condition, including solitude, mortality, and the redemptive value of art. Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and bass-baritone Ryan McKinny joined MTT and the San Francisco Symphony for the world premiere of Meditations on Rilke at Davies Symphony Hall in January 2020.
The partnership of Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony has been recognized with numerous recording honors. Their very first recording together, a live recording of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, won a 1997 Grammy® Award for Best Orchestral Performance. Their RCA Red Seal all-Stravinsky recording of Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring), The Firebird, and Perséphone won three Grammy® Awards in 2000 in the categories of Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Classical Album. Under SFS Media, Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra’s acclaimed Mahler cycle recording project has won seven Grammy®Awards, including a 2003 Grammy® Award for Mahler: Symphony No. 6 in the category of Best Orchestral Performance; a 2004 Grammy® Award for Mahler: Symphony No. 3; Kindertotenlieder in the category of Best Classical Album; two 2006 Grammy® Awards for Mahler: Symphony No. 7 in the categories of Best Orchestral Performance and Best Classical Album; and two Grammy®Awards for Mahler: Symphony No. 8 & Adagio from Symphony No. 10 in the categories of Best Choral Performance and Best Engineered Album, Classical. Its 2013 recording of John Adams: Harmonielehre & Short Ride in a Fast Machine won a 2013 Grammy® Award for Best Orchestral Performance.