Catching up with Tilson Thomas on two coasts

Posted on: February 6, 2015

In Tuesday’s (2/3) Wall Street Journal, David Mermelstein profiles Michael Tilson Thomas, currently celebrating his 20th year as music director of the San Francisco Symphony, whose “big-hearted, inclusive manner has well served musicians and music lovers over several decades.… This commitment to inclusiveness can also be observed here in Florida, where a different—but not unrelated—side of Mr. Thomas finds expression. In 1987, he co-founded the New World Symphony, an ensemble of promising post-conservatory, but pre-professional, musicians. And on Saturday, at its annual gala, the orchestra will salute the conductor, who holds the title artistic director though his presence and influence loom much larger.… Guided by Mr. Thomas, this training orchestra has helped place in music-related positions the vast majority of its nearly 1,000 fellows, as the players are called to stress the rigor of the multiyear program.… After two decades, the San Francisco Symphony must occupy pride of place when discussing the ensembles with which Mr. Thomas has developed an enduring rapport. But several others also deserve recognition, including the Boston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra, which he leads in March and April on a nine-city U.S. tour in celebration of his 70th birthday.”

Posted February 6, 2015