MTT to leave San Francisco Symphony; will continue role with New World

By Lawrence A. Johnson


Michael Tilson Thomas will depart his position as music director of the San Francisco Symphony in June of 2020 at the age of 75, a post he will have held for 25 years, the orchestra announced Tuesday.

A New World Symphony spokesman said that Tilson Thomas’s departure from San Francisco would have no impact on his relationship with the Miami Beach orchestral academy–now marking its 30th anniversary season— and that he would continue to serve as artistic director of New World.

Tilson Thomas first led the San Francisco Symphony in 1974 at age 29 in Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, and began his tenure as music director in 1995.

“Looking back over these decades I am filled with gratitude for the extraordinary artistic partnership I have had with the members of the Orchestra and for the warm and generous style of music making we have shared with all of our audiences,” said the conductor in a statement released by the San Francisco Symphony.

“Having been a Music Director of an orchestra for most of my adult life and as I approach my 75th birthday, I feel this is an appropriate moment to set aside some of my administrative responsibilities and begin a new period of creative possibilities. Fortunately my new and unique relationship as Music Director Laureate of the San Francisco Symphony will allow me to continue to work with my esteemed colleagues for years to come on projects close to my heart.”

“Under Michael Tilson Thomas’ leadership, the worldwide artistic reputation of the Orchestra has experienced a trajectory of unprecedented growth,” said the orchestra’s executive director Mark C. Hanson. “His vision, energy, and ideas have excited and engaged both new and long-time audiences and have attracted 50 extraordinary musicians who have joined the Orchestra during his tenure. The MTT/SFS partnership is unparalleled and will only continue to strengthen over time.”

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Wed Nov 1, 2017
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