San Francisco Symphony to premiere Tilson Thomas’s “Rilke Songs” in January

Posted on: December 23, 2019

“Michael Tilson Thomas and Rainer Maria Rilke will combine their talents on Jan. 9 when the San Francisco Symphony Music Director conducts the world premiere of his song cycle, Rilke Songs, a six-part composition to texts by the great German lyric poet,” writes Janos Gereben in Tuesday’s (12/17) San Francisco Classical Voice. “The work features mezzo Sasha Cooke and baritone Ryan McKinny, who also perform [at the Jan. 9 concert] in songs from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn…. Among those who have set Rilke poems to music: Alban Berg, Paul Hindemith, Anton Webern, Arnold Schoenberg, and Peter Lieberson…. Tilson Thomas has been composing throughout his long conducting career…. In 1991, he and the New World Symphony presented a series of benefit concerts for UNICEF, featuring Audrey Hepburn as narrator of MTT’s From the Diary of Anne Frank…. His song cycle Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind, a setting of Carl Sandburg’s poem, was premiered in 2016 by the New World Symphony…. Both in Carnegie Hall and with SF Symphony, he led performances of his Island Music for four marimbas and percussion…. In June 2020, SFS Media will release an album of works composed by MTT and performed by the SF Symphony.”