Michael Tilson Thomas, a Disruptor Who’s Become the Comfortable Center

May 3, 2019

By Justin Davidson

“…when Tilson Thomas conducts the young Americans who comprise the New World Symphony, he has to lead them by the hand into a culture that feels ancient, foreign, and immeasurably complex. ‘The cultural surround of the piece, the era it comes from, the Zeitgeist, the kind of place within the human spirit from which the pieces speak — those are all things I have to share with them, and I have to get them to discover those places within themselves.'”

Tilson Thomas leads New World Symphony in music of Tilson Thomas

Apr 21, 2019

South Florida Classical Review
By Lawrence Budmen

“The main event was a repeat performance of Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind, Tilson Thomas’ setting of a poem from the 1920′s collection Smoke and Steel by Carl Sandburg. When premiered on the same stage in 2016, the work made a strong impression. With a less elaborate staging on this occasion, the score emerged even more riveting and skillfully crafted. Sandburg’s poem was deeply prescient with its vision and warnings of urban decay. The poet painted a picture of a once-great city now inhabited by crows, rats and lizards.

Tilson Thomas has worked on the score intermittently since the 1960′s. Scored for amplified soprano and two backup singers, chamber orchestra and bar band, the score serves as a microcosm of Tilson Thomas’ musical passions and influences.”

Michael Tilson Thomas on life, the San Francisco Symphony and Beethoven

Mar 21, 2019

Washington Post
Interview by Anne Midgette

“…the question is, so at this particular point in your life, what is the best way of presenting the message of the piece? There are lots of different ways that this music can be done. There’s a way that each person finds to do it that seems authentic to them.” –MTT

Ives’ ‘Holidays’ at the L.A. Phil, but not those holidays

Dec 9, 2018

LA Times
By Mark Swed

“…in a glorious performance, Tilson Thomas incomparably embodied the good cheer and wonder of the season by going beyond specific holidays. Ives’ four separate pieces, written in the first decade of the 20th century, evoked the holidays as the composer remembered them in his New England childhood and in a manner, sentimental yet startlingly pioneering, that remains stylistically flummoxing even a century later.”


Michael Tilson Thomas brings his ‘Playthings’ to the L.A. Phil, and they’re not what you think

Dec 2, 2018

LA Times
By Mark Swed

“…A belting baritone sax, a psychedelic electric guitar, the recorded sound of a cash register, flamboyant percussion, Brueggergosman’s singing — sultry, joyous or gloomy — all provide just the right reactions to Sandburg, word for word, sentiment for sentiment, prophecy for prophecy.”


New World Symphony soars with Ax’s Beethoven, MTT’s Sibelius

Nov 6, 2018

South Florida Classical Review
By Lawrence Budmen

“…Ax, Tilson Thomas and the New World fellows provided a textbook example of perfect collaboration. Soloist, conductor and players seemed to breath the music together.”

MTT Takes a Deep Dive Into Stravinsky’s Musical Legacy

Sep 18, 2018

San Francisco Classical Voice
By Lou Fancher

“‘The chance to see someone, to watch somebody at work when they’re not conscious of somebody watching them, you see things,’ says San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. ‘I was often up at Stravinsky’s house for rehearsals. I don’t know how it affects how I feel about and conduct the music, but I know it’s important.'”

Thomas and SF Symphony draw all the pieces together for a splendid Mahler Third

Jun 29, 2018

The San Francisco Chronicle
By Joshua Kosman

“The joy of this performance was hearing Thomas and the orchestra snap each piece smartly into place, while committing themselves fully to each phase of the unveiling…”

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