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Opening Night Gala with Bonnie Raitt Kicks off MTT’s 20th Season as San Francisco Symphony Music Director
August 22, 2014

In less than two weeks, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony kick off their 20th season together with the Opening Night Gala, Wednesday, September 3. Singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt, a longtime friend of MTT, makes her debut with the Orchestra performing selected American works chosen by her and MTT and specially arranged for the concert. Pianist Yuja Wang, who has frequently appeared with MTT in concerts around the globe, joins the Orchestra to perform Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The program also includes Stravinsky’s Scherzo à la russe, excerpts from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet—a work which MTT and the Orchestra recorded in the first three months of his tenure as Music Director, and which won the SFS its first Grammy with MTT in 1996—and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture. Purchase tickets to the Opening Night Gala.

On Thursday, September 4, MTT conducts the annual All-San Francisco Concert, a community event that celebrates the work of more than 100 social service and non-profit organizations that serve San Francisco and the Bay Area. The program includes Stravinsky’s Scherzo à la russe, excerpts from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture, and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major with 21-year-old English pianist Benjamin Grosvenor. MTT also leads Grosvenor and the SFS in the same program on Friday, September 5 and Saturday, September 6.

These opening concerts launch Michael Tilson Thomas’s 20th season as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony. MTT and the SF Symphony’s 20-year partnership is the longest of any American orchestra and its Music Director today. “To walk into Davies on any given evening remains as vivid and unpredictable an artistic adventure in 2014 as it was in 1995,” writes classical music critic Joshua Kosman (San Francisco Chronicle). Read his article here. 

New World Symphony Announces 2014-15 Season with Michael Tilson Thomas
July 18, 2014

Next season with the New World Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas leads America’s Orchestral Academy in performances that offer NWS Fellows the opportunity to work with many of today’s greatest living composers; to collaborate on multi-media projects with fellow artists from different genres; and the chance to learn from and perform with leading guest conductors and soloists. Highlights of Michael Tilson Thomas’s 2014-15 performance season with the New World Symphony include concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, world premieres of works by Michael Gordon and New Voices composer Ted Hearne, and a gala celebrating MTT’s 70th birthday.

Discover the New World Symphony’s 2014-15 season here.

Season opening concerts: October 11 & 12, 2014

The New World Symphony’s 2014-15 season opens on October 11 and 12 with performances conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas featuring cellist Tamás Varga as soloist in Monn/Schoenberg’s Cello Concerto. The October 11 performance will be a WALLCAST™ concert. Also on the program for both concerts are Stravinsky’s Scherzo à la russe and Symphony in C.  The program finale, Antheil’s A Jazz Symphony, will be accompanied by a video work projected on the sails of the New World Center.  

Brahms with Yefim Bronfman, October 17 & 18

On October 17, MTT leads Yefim Bronfman and the New World Symphony in Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto at the New World Center. Wagner’s Dawn and Sigfried’s Rhine Journey from Götterdämmerung open the performance. The following day on October 18, MTT appears with the New World Symphony at the Adrienne Arsht Center, presenting Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto with Yefim Bronfman alongside Schumann’s First Symphony, “Spring.”

Michael Gordon and Ted Hearne World Premieres: January 30 & 31

On January 30 and 31, Michael Tilson Thomas will lead the NWS in the world premiere of a new work by American post-minimalist composer Michael Gordon (co-founder of the Bang on a Can Festival) with film projections by American filmmaker Bill Morrison. Also on the program is a new work by the 2014-15 New Voices composer Ted Hearne. Now in its third season, New Voices is an annual collaborative commissioning project between NWS, the San Francisco Symphony and music publisher Boosey & Hawkes that helps develop the professional careers of emerging composers in the Americas. 

70th Birthday Gala: February 7

On February 7, NWS will celebrate the 70th birthday of  Michael Tilson Thomas. The gala event will be conducted by MTT with additional guest artists to be announced.  

The Wound Dresser with baritone Thomas Hampson: February 15

On February 15 legendary American baritone Thomas Hampson will perform a vocal recital with the New World Symphony Fellows led by Michael Tilson Thomas and will also appear as soloist in John Adams’ elegiac setting of the Walt Whitman poem The Wound-Dresser.

Sibelius Symphony No. 1 & MTT’s Notturno, February 21 & 22

The weekend of February 21 and 22, Michael Tilson Thomas conducts a program comprising Sibelius’s Symphony No. 1, Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont, Kirchner’s Music for Flute and Orchestra–with guest soloist Paula Robison–and MTT’s Notturno.  

Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center Concerts April 28 & 29

The New World Symphony returns to Carnegie Hall on April 28 with music that spans Biedermeier Vienna to 20th-century Switzerland. The evening, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, will feature German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter performing with the NWS. The program will include Schubert’s Incidental Music from Rosamunde, Berg’s Violin Concerto, the New York premiere of Norbet Moret’s En rêve, and Debussy’s La Mer. The next evening on April 29 at the Kennedy Center, NWS will repeat their Carnegie Hall program with MTT and Mutter.  

West Side Story with the San Francisco Symphony No. 1 on Billboard’s Traditional Classical Chart
June 20, 2014

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony’s live recording of the first concert performances of Leonard Bernstein’s complete score for West Side Story has reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Traditional Classical chart. Released on June 10 and featuring Cheyenne Jackson and Alexandra Silber as Tony and Maria, the recording is also in the No. 2 spot for overall classical.

Click here to purchase West Side Story.

Celebrating Benjamin Britten’s Centenary with San Francisco Symphony
June 11, 2014

Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony in three weeks of concerts celebrating English composer Benjamin Britten’s centenary. The Britten concerts begin June 12 to 15 with a program comprising excerpts from the composer’s ballet score The Prince of the Pagodas, along with an instrumental and dance work from the Balinese performing arts group Gamelan Sekar Jaya, and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with Gil Shaham.

Britten, Copland & Shostakovich

The following week from June 19 to 21, MTT and the orchestra perform Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, featuring tenor Toby Spence and SFS Principal Horn Robert Ward. To further highlight Britten’s musical influences, the program includes Danzón Cubano by the English composer’s contemporary and friend Aaron Copland, as well as Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15 in A Major.

Semi-staged Peter Grimes

The Britten concerts culminate June 26 to 29 as MTT leads a semi-staged production of the composer’s opera Peter Grimes. Tenor Stuart Skelton sings the title role, with soprano Elza van den Heever  as Ellen Orford, baritone Alan Opie as Captain Balstrode, mezzo-sopranos Ann Murray as Auntie and Nancy Maultsby as Mrs. Sedley, tenors Richard Cox as Bob Boles and Kim Begley as Horace Adams, baritone Eugene Brancoveanu as Ned Keene, bass John Relyea as Mr. Swallow, and the SFS Chorus. The semi-staged production will feature staging and costumes by James Darrah, and video installations by Adam Larsen. 

Four Sea Interludes with video by Tal Rosner

On June 28, MTT and the SFS present a special concert featuring Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, as well as excerpts from The Prince of the Pagodas. Four Sea Interludes is accompanied an SFS co-commissioned video interpretation of the work by artist Tal Rosner. It received its world premiere at the New World Center in Miami with MTT and the New World Symphony in October 2013. 

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