Michael Tilson Thomas

Biography

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

Bernstein: West Side Story / Thomas, San Francisco
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: San Francisco Symphony  
Catalog: 0059   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 1-25 of 211 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Bernstein: West Side Story / Thomas, San Francisco
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 0059 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
    Performer:  Cheyenne Jackson,  Alexandra Silber,  Jessica Vosk,  Kevin Vortmann
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Chorus
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  • 2.
    Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker / Tilson Thomas, Philharmonia Orchestra
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 802166 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 3.
    Leonard Bernstein Collection Vol 1 [59 CDs & 1 DVD]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 2027800 Release Date: 04/22/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Leonard Bernstein,  Benjamin Britten  ... 
    Performer:  René Kollo,  Dame Gwyneth Jones,  Kurt Moll,  Hanna Schwarz  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Kent Nagano
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Concert Choir,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Beethoven: Cantata On The Death Of Emperor Joseph Ii; Symphony No. 2
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 58 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Tamara Mumford,  Sally Matthews,  Barry Banks,  Andrew Foster-Williams
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Chorus
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  • 5.
    Ives: Three Places In New England; Siblius, Wagner / Tilson Thomas, Boston Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5111 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Ives,  Jean Sibelius,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Stravinsky: Rite of Spring / Thomas, San Francisco Symphony [Blu-ray]
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 66 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
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  • 7.
    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
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  • 8.
    Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps (10 Reference Recordings)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 546174 Release Date: 05/21/2013   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski,  Igor Stravinsky,  Pierre Monteux,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 9.
    Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 55 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Bernstein: On The Town
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001819402 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
    Performer:  Stewart Collins,  Thomas Harrison,  Samuel Ramey,  Lindsay Benson  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
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  • 11.
    10 Classic Albums / Mischa Maisky [11-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001801402 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles Gounod,  George Frideric Handel,  Jean-Baptiste Lully  ... 
    Performer:  Mischa Maisky,  Pavel Gililov,  Daria Hovora,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $61.49
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  • 12.
    American Mavericks / Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 56 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Cowell,  Lou Harrison,  Edgard Varèse
    Performer:  Jeremy Denk,  Paul Jacobs
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 1, Sonata Op 28 / De Laroccha
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 61676 Release Date: 07/06/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Alicia De Larrocha
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 7, Leonore Overture No 3 / Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 54 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
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  • 15.
    San Francisco Symphony At 100
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 52 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
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  • 16.
    San Francisco Symphony At 100 [blu-ray]
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 57 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Essential American Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27851 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Louis M. Gottschalk,  Stephen Foster,  Edward MacDowell,  Scott Joplin  ... 
    Performer:  Leonard Pennario,  Salli Terri,  Matt Glaser,  Molly Mason  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Leonard Slatkin,  Neil Richardson,  John McGlinn  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 18.
    The Claude Debussy Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 193179 Release Date: 05/01/2012   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Gervase de Peyer,  Ann Murray,  Nathalie Stutzmann,  Leslie Caron  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Pierre Boulez,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Esa-Pekka Salonen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra  ... 
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  • 19.
    Knussen: Symphonies No 2 & 3, Ophelia Dances,Trumpets / Tilson Thomas, Barry, Hirst, Collins
    Label: Nmc   Catalog: 175 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Oliver Knussen
    Performer:  Michael Collins,  Ian Mitchell,  Dward Pillinger,  Linda Hirst  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Oliver Knussen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Sinfonietta
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  • 20.
    The Complete Music Of Carl Ruggles
    Label: Other Minds Records   Catalog: 1020 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Ruggles
    Performer:  Judith Blegen,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Beverly Morgan,  John Kirkpatrick  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
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  • 21.
    Adams: Harmonielehre, Short Ride In A Fast Machine / Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 53 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Adams
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
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  • 22.
    Mahler: Symphony No. 3 / Thomas, DeYoung, Pacific Boychoir, San Francisco Girls Chorus, San Francisco Symphony
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 60045 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Michelle DeYoung
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Chorus,  San Francisco Girls Chorus  ... 
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  • 23.
    Mahler: Symphony No 1 / Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 60043 Release Date: 11/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
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  • 24.
    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  ... 
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  • 25.
    Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel, Ein Heldenleben / Tilson Thomas, London Symphony
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5031 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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