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A John Cage Centennial Celebration
December 12, 2012

Cage genuinely wanted to open up the beauteous experience of sound for everyone. Much of his work could be described as kits to be used tin the creation of a performance that relies on the perceptions, imaginations and choices of the musicians. It was a spiritual mission for him to create the opportunity for the performance to exist while at the same time to interfere with it as little or as subtly as possible.

-Michael Tilson Thomas, letter to the editor, New York Times 

John Cage was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. To mark the centenary of his birth, Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony will present Making the Right Choices: A John Cage Centennial Celebration from February 8 to 10 at the New World Center in Miami Beach, Florida.

Three theatrically enhanced performances - in addition to film screenings, panel discussions and readings - will trace the transformation in Cage's methods as a composer from his early, elegant and specifically noted choices of sounds to later existential situations in which he allowed the performers enormous freedom. 

The festival will feature artists such as new-music vocalists Joan La Barbara and Meredith Monk, soprano Jessye Norman, pianist Marc-André Hamelin and dancers from New World School for the Arts performing choreography by Merce Cunningham.

Explore the world of John Cage  - be part of the Making the Right Choices festival. 

Video: MTT introduces and performs Cage's Aria with Renga with soprano Measha Brueggergosman

Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto and Pandora World Premiere
December 3, 2012

On the heels of their Asian tour, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony return to California with a musical program that features Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto performed by Yefim Bronfman and the world premiere of Mark Volkert's Pandora. MTT and the Orchestra open their concerts with Strauss's tone poem Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, which is followed by the debut performances of Pandora by SFS Assistant Concertmaster Mark Volkert. The composition, for orchestral strings, was written in 2010 and carries the dedication: "For Michael Tilson Thomas and the strings of the San Francisco Symphony with great admiration." Yefim Bronfman joins the Orchestra for Beethoven's Fifth Piano Concerto, "Emperor."

Performances take place December 5, 7, and 8 at Davies Symphony Hall and December 6 at the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University - the Orchestra's debut there.

American Mavericks album now available
November 13, 2012
"Other orchestras hardly touch this music, but in San Francisco it has become standard fare, and the authority of the playing was staggering."
- Alex Ross, The New Yorker

The latest release from Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony features live recordings from the SFS's highly acclaimed American Mavericks festival. The album, presented in premium audio hybrid SACD, includes Henry Cowell's  Synchrony and his Piano Concerto (Jeremy Denk, piano), Lou Harrison's Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra (Paul Jacobs, organ)  and Edgard Varèse's  Amériques

Order the album here.

MTT & San Francisco Symphony embark on Asia tour
November 5, 2012

MTT and the San Francisco Symphony cross the Pacific this November, embarking on a six-city, ten-concert Asian tour that sees the Orchestra's debut in Beijing (November 16) and return performances in Hong Kong (November 8 & 9), Taipei (November 10 & 11), Shanghai (November 14 & 15), Beijing (November 16) and Tokyo (November  19 & 20). The tour opens November 7 with the Orchestra's debut at the Macau Cultural Center.

Pianist Yuja Wang, a native of Beijing, joins MTT and the Orchestra as soloist in all six cities on the tour, performing Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2. MTT will also conduct the Orchestra in performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 5, Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2, and music by three American composers: John Adams's Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Lou Harrison's "The Family of the Court" from Pacifika Rondo and Henry Cowell's Music 1957.

Education and Outreach

MTT and the San Francisco Symphony have planned a variety of educational and outreach activities in China. MTT and the SFS musicians will lead a day of master classes with students from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music on November 13. The SFS Music Director will also lead a master class in conducting for Conservatory students and conduct the Shanghai Conservatory Youth Symphony musicians. 

Yuja Wang & Lang Lang Perform Russian Piano Masterworks at Davies Symphony Hall
October 26, 2012

Pianists Lang Lang and Yuja Wang will join Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony for a week of concerts featuring two performances each of Russian piano masterworks, beginning October 27. Yuja Wang, who will tour Asia with the SFS in November, performs Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini  October 27 and Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2 October 31 at Davies Symphony Hall. On November 1 and 2, Lang Lang will perform Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3.

With these concerts, MTT and the SFS preview music that they perform on tour, including Mahler's Symphony No. 5, Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2, Lou Harrison's "The Family of the Court" from Pacifika Rondo and Henry Cowell's Music 1957.

Yuja Wang performs the Scherzo from Prokofiev's Second Piano Concerto with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. 

Beethoven's "Eroica" with the New World Symphony
October 10, 2012

For their second series of concerts together, MTT and the New World Symphony perform Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," and Steven Mackey's Lost and Found, on October 19 at the New World Center and October 20 at the Adrienne Arsht Center  in downtown Miami. The October 20 concert will also include Schumann's Cello Concerto, to be performed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma.  

Learn more about the work of the New World Symphony.

MTT Opens New World Symphony 25th Anniversary Season
October 4, 2012

Michael Tilson Thomas returns to Miami to kick off the New World Symphony's 25thAnniversary Season with an all-Russian opening program on October 6 and 7. The Symphony's opening weekend will include the music to two of Stravinsky's ballets, Petrushka and Circus Polka, as well as Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. Circus Polkawill be complemented by the world premiere of a digital animation by Emily Eckstein, an award-winning animator and motion graphics designer. The animation, commissioned by the New World Symphony, will utilize the unique sails of the New World Center's concert hall, nearly surrounding the audience with projections.

VIDEO: The New World Symphony

Mahler's Fifth & West-Cast Premiere with San Francisco Symphony
September 24, 2012

As the fall season gets underway, MTT leads the San Francisco Symphony in Mahler's Symphony No. 5 and the West Coast premiere of Samuel Carl Adams' Drift and Providence. Performances are September 27 at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for Performing Arts at UC Davis and September 28, 29 & 30 at Davies Symphony Hall.

Samuel Carl Adams (b. 1985) is a Bay Area native and a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music. For Adams, "Drift and Providence is looking at my home, the west, from within and from afar; Drift and Providence explores what it means to embark from and arrive at the acoustically familiar." The score for the work includes live electronic processing performed by Adams and controlled by a CNTRL-Rm, Analog Experience Factory and MacBook.

MTT celebrates San Francisco Symphony's 101st Season
September 13, 2012

Next month, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas celebrates the San Francisco Symphony's 101st season with an all-French program that includes selections from Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, Chausson's Poème, Saint-Saëns's Introduction and Rondo capriccioso and Ravel's Boléro. On September 19, special guest violinist Joshua Bell joins MTT and the Orchestra for an Opening Gala Concert. On September 20, MTT and the SFS honor more than 100 social service and non-profit organizations that serve San Francisco and the Bay Area with the annual All-San Francisco Concert. You can also hear this all-French program at Davies Symphony Hall on September 23.

On Friday, September 21, MTT and the SFS will give a free concert at San Francisco's Justin Herman Plaza - just across from the Ferry Building. The open-air concert will feature popular works and will begin at 5pm.

To follow his opening concerts with the Orchestra, MTT leads the San Francisco Symphony in Mahler's Fifth Symphony and the West Coast premiere of Samuel Carl Adams's Drift and Providence. MTT and the SFS present their program September 27 at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for Performing Arts at UC Davis. They will also give performances on  September 28, 29, and 30 at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.

Watch an excerpt from Mahler's Fifth Symphony (Adagietto) 

European tour with London Symphony Orchestra & Emanuel Ax
August 27, 2012

Beginning this Thursday, August 30, Michael Tilson Thomas, American pianist Emanuel Ax, and the London Symphony Orchestra embark on a ten-city European tour that takes them to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Their concerts will include Brahms and Beethoven concerti, featuring Emanuel Ax at the keyboard, as well as the music of American composers such as Charles Ives and Aaron Copland alongside symphonic works by the likes of Johannes Brahms, Hector Berlioz and Gustav Mahler.

LSO Principal Guest Conductor MTT, Ax, and the Orchestra appear across Europe as part of numerous festivals on the continent. You can hear them in Wiesbaden (August 30), Gstaad (August 31, September 1), Rimini (September 2), Merano (September 3), Verona (September 4), Berlin (September 6), Grafenegg (September 7), Bonn (September 8 & 9) and Basel (September 10).

Learn more about MTT's London Symphony Orchestra tour.

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