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All-French program with San Francisco Symphony & Renée Fleming
December 31, 2012

As the New Year approaches, Michael Tilson Thomas looks ahead to his first performances of 2013 with the San Francisco Symphony: an all-French program with Renée Fleming, who sings the world premiere of Robert Holloway's arrangement of Debussy's Ariettes oubliées. The American soprano will also perform selections from Canteloube's collection of folk songs Chants d'Auvergne. MTT's' concerts on January 10, 12 and 13 with the SFS will also include Debussy's poème dansé Jeux, the waltz La Plus que lente, and La mer.
 
Learn more & purchase tickets here.

MTT & San Francisco Symphony celebrate opening of Stanford University's Bing Concert Hall
December 17, 2012

On January 11, 2013, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony celebrate the opening of Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University with an inaugural concert that features mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade. The program showcases music by American composers, with works such John Adams's Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Harrison's "The Family of the Court" from Pacifica Rondo, and Bernstein's Take Care of This House, performed with Frederica von Stade. MTT and the Orchestra also present Debussy's La mer.

The evening also sees performances by Haydn's String Quartet in F by the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the University's ensemble in residence; a choral dedication with the Stanford Chamber Chorale and students from the Stanford Philharmonia; and a processional by Stanford Taiko, a student performing ensemble devoted to the art of Japanese drumming.

Learn more & purchase tickets here. 

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.

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