Michael Tilson Thomas
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Michael Tilson Thomas

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MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS first conducted the San Francisco Symphony in 1974 and has been Music Director since 1995. A Los Angeles native, he studied with John Crown and Ingolf Dahl at the University of Southern California, becoming Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra at nineteen and working with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland at the famed Monday Evening Concerts.

In 1969, Michael Tilson Thomas won the Koussevitzky Prize and was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony. Ten days later he came to international recognition, replacing Music Director William Steinberg in mid-concert at Lincoln Center. He went on to become the BSO’s Principal Guest Conductor.

He has also served as Director of the Ojai Festival, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, and a Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He became Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1988 and now serves as Principal Guest Conductor. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy.

Michael Tilson Thomas’s recorded repertory reflects interests arising from work as conductor, composer, and pianist. His television credits include the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts, and in 2004 he and the San Francisco Symphony launched Keeping Score on PBS-TV. Among his honors are Columbia University’s Ditson Award for services to American music and Musical America’s Musician and Conductor of the Year award.

He is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of France, was selected as Gramophone 2005 Artist of the Year, inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in 2015, was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2010 was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

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