Michael Tilson Thomas’s emotional return to San Francisco Symphony podium

Posted on: November 15, 2021

Demarre McGill (left) and Michael Tilson Thomas take a bow at the San Francisco Symphony. Photo: Laura Morton / San Francisco Chronicle

“Michael Tilson Thomas moves more slowly … But as he took the stage of Davies Symphony Hall on Friday, Nov. 12, to conduct the San Francisco Symphony for the first time in more than a year and a half, there was no mistaking that distinctive presence,” writes Joshua Kosman in Saturday’s (11/13) San Francisco Chronicle. “Audience members leaped to their feet as one person to extend a warm, tumultuous welcome… He began … with Mozart’s Six German Dances, K. 509 … a celebration of music’s sheer entertainment value. It sounded glorious…. His own composition, the 2004 ‘Notturno’ for flute, harp and strings … includes brief episodes of angst and self-doubt…. Friday’s performance benefited from the presence of the extraordinary flutist Demarre McGill…. In Schumann’s Symphony No. 1, Thomas’s … was the interpretation of someone who has seen too much to quite believe anymore in the score’s youthful optimism…. Just hours before the concert, the Symphony announced that guest conductor Ludovic Morlot would take over half of next week’s concert program, leaving Thomas to focus his energies on preparing Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring.’ But Friday’s return was an inspiring turn for anyone who cares about him, the orchestra and the musical life of this city.”