Michael Tilson Thomas


Born: Dec 21, 1944; USA  
Michael Tilson Thomas is among the most famous American-born conductors, with a bright, extroverted personality and a wide-ranging repertoire that has allowed him to take a place at the forefront of experimenation with the form and content of symphonic concerts. His grandparents were Boris and Bessie Thomaschevsky, founders of New York's Yiddish Theater, and his father Ted Thomas was an avid amateur pianist and worked in films and Read more television.
Tilson Thomas attended the University of Southern California. where his composition and conducting teacher was Ingolf Dahl. At the age of 19 he was named music director of the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra, and was selected as accompanist for master classes by Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky. In 1969 he won the Koussevitzky Prize at the Tanglewood festival in Massachusetts, which carried with it an appointment as assistant conductor of the festival's parent, the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
On October 22, 1969, he was called to replace William Steinberg in a Carnegie Hall concert at the last minute, repeating the circumstances of Leonard Bernstein's sensational emergency debut 26 years earlier. The results were nearly identical: Tilson Thomas was catapulted into the top ranks of American conductors. In 1970 he was appointed associate conductor of the BSO. He has served as music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, (1971-1979), principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (1981-1985), principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (1988-1995), and was appointed music director of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in 1995.
He is the founder of the Florida-based New World Symphony Orchestra, which comprises a group of young and promising professional symphonic musicians. Membership in that ensemble is now considered a desirable first step in an orchestral career. Tilson Thomas remains its music director and has recorded notable CDs with the group, including a highly popular Villa-Lobos compilation.
Also a composer, Tilson Thomas wrote From the Diary of Anne Frank on commission from UNICEF in 1990 (actress Audrey Hepburn was the narrator at the premiere). The work has been performed in several countries and languages. He has also written Showa/Shoáh for the city of Hiroshima's memorial services on the fiftieth anniversary of its nuclear bombing. Read less
Browse 1-11 of 11 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Boston Symphony Orchestra: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797718 Release Date: 10/20/2017   Number of Discs: 57
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Alexander Scriabin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Zukofsky,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Teresa Berganza  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  William Steinberg,  Rafael Kubelik  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Chamber Players
    CD: $248.99
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  • 2.
    The Complete RCA Recordings / Isserlis
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88985312572 Release Date: 10/28/2016   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann,  Woldemar Bargiel  ... 
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Matthew Wilkie,  Marieke Blankestijn,  Douglas Boyd  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington,  Christoph Eschenbach,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Lorin Maazel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $29.98
    CD: $28.49
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  • 3.
    Michael Tilson Thomas Conducts Gershwin
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875170082 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  George Gershwin
    Performer:  Garrick Ohlsson,  Audra McDonald,  Brian Stokes Mitchell,  Michael Tilson Thomas  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Jazz Band,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
    CD: $25.49
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  • 4.
    Debussy: Chamber Music / Boston Symphony Chamber Players
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186226 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Joseph Silverstein,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Jules Eskin,  Doriot Anthony Dwyer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Chamber Players
    On sale! $19.99
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  • 5.
    Silverman: Elephant Steps - A Fearful Radio Show / Michael Tilson Thomas
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 49319 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stanley Silverman
    Performer:  Maeretha Stewart,  Patricia Price,  June Higginbotham,  Patti Austin  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    CD: $17.99
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  • 6.
    The Mahler Project / Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 39 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Isabel Bayrakdarian,  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson,  Michelle DeYoung,  Alexander Barantschik  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Chorus,  San Francisco Girls Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $168.98
    SuperAudio CD: $158.99
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  • 7.
    Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue, An American In Paris, The Man I Love / Tilson Thomas, Kostelantz
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64349 Release Date: 06/02/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Gershwin
    Performer:  George Gershwin,  Harold Jones,  Sarah Vaughan,  George Gaffney  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Morton Gould,  Andre Kostelanetz,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Jazz Band,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 8.
    Minimalism - Reich, Glass, Etc / Thomas, Warren-green, Wilson, London Co
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6624 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Philip Glass,  Steve Reich
    Performer:  Alain Damiens,  Franck Rossi,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Ransom Wilson
    Conductor:  Christopher Warren-Green,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Ransom Wilson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Chamber Orchestra,  Solisti New York
    CD: $12.99
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  • 9.
    Artistry - Cage: Three Dances;  Stravinsky, Reich
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67691 Release Date: 02/12/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Steve Reich,  John Cage
    Performer:  Ralph Grierson,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Roger Kellaway,  Steve Reich  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 10.
    Cello For Relaxation / Isserlis, Harnoy, Starker, Et Al
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 63798 Release Date: 06/19/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Tavener,  Robert Schumann,  Frederick Delius,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Christoph Eschenbach,  János Starker,  Ofra Harnoy  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin,  Paul Robinson,  Antonio de Almeida,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Toronto Chamber Orchestra,  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 11.
    New World Jazz / Tilson Thomas, New World Symphony
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 68798 Release Date: 09/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  David Raksin,  George Antheil,  Paul Hindemith,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Mark Inouye,  Michael Linville,  Jerome Simas,  Mark Niehaus  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New World Symphony
    CD: $8.99
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