Michael Tilson Thomas Readies To Pass The Baton

Michael Tilson Thomas

Photo Credit: Art Streiber

Noted as a child prodigy, American composer, pianist, and conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) infuses his melodious measure to classical music lovers from around the globe. Born in Los Angeles, California to a Broadway stage producer and history teacher, the family lineage recounts those of great musical talent. Dating back to his great-grandfather, Pincus, among others, the family’s expertise spans from actor and playwright to painter and poet to name a few.

Photo Credit: Kristen Loken

Honoring the legend we all know and love, Michael Tilson Thomas will conclude his final season with San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in grand fashion. After 25 glorious years, his tenure has brought world fame and recognition in creating one of the greatest orchestras of artistic reputation.

Tilson Thomas and Yo Yo Ma

“Looking back over these decades I am filled with gratitude for the extraordinary artistic partnership I have had with the members of the Orchestra and for the warm and generous style of music making we have shared with all of our audiences,” MTT said. “Having been a music director of an orchestra for most of my adult life and as I approach my 75th birthday, I feel this is an appropriate moment to set aside some of my administrative responsibilities and begin a new period of creative possibilities. Fortunately, my new and unique relationship as music director laureate of the San Francisco Symphony will allow me to continue to work with my esteemed colleagues for years to come on projects close to my heart.”

Photo Credit: Spencer Lowell

With his San Francisco debut at age 29, MTT’s legacy with the SFS began in 1974 conducting Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. This was cemented by his role in becoming the full-time leader of a major American orchestra as the eleventh music director of SFS in 1995. From 1995 to present, MTT has formulated a vast array of groundbreaking promise through a multitude of areas, which brought rank and honor front and center into the classical music scene. These areas include artistic excellence in his ability to bring about his nuance to renowned composer’s work such as Mahler, Schumann, and the like.

The San Francisco Symphony

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Through a continued perspective of growth, his passionate commitment towards education and media also brought MTT to world-class recognition. He brought about an imaginative concert experience through live recordings with multimedia platforms, including Soundbox which started in 2014—the creation of a club like atmosphere to further experience classical music in a new realm. Tilson Thomas has given extreme heart and passion during his directing tenure.

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

His musical curiosity sparks with intensity and vigor as he concludes a beautiful mark on San Francisco’s classical music arena. The milestones and accolades that MTT received during his tenure only further his legendary status. The winner of eleven Grammy Awards, he appears in over 120 recordings and is honored for his collection of compositions, his television debuts for BBC, and media radio series with SFS called The MTT Files. His impactful and grand accomplishments with SFS will leave lasting impressions and rousing memories for all who experienced him in action. While MTT enjoys his 75th year, the baton has been passed, a legend has been named, and his harmonious impression has been stowed in the hearts of all.

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