Michael Tilson Thomas first conducted the San Francisco Symphony in 1974 and has been Music Director since 1995. A Los Angeles native, he studied with John Crown and Ingolf Dahl at the University of Southern California, becoming Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra at 19 and working with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland at the famed Monday Evening Concerts. In 1969, Mr. Tilson Thomas won the Koussevitzky Prize and was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony. Ten days later he came to international recognition, replacing Music Director William Steinberg in mid-concert at Lincoln Center. He went on to become the BSO’s Associate Conductor, then Principal Guest Conductor. He has also served as Director of the Ojai Festival, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, a Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Principal Conductor of the Great Woods Festival. He became Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1988 and now serves as Principal Guest Conductor. For a decade he served as co-Artistic Director of Japan’s Pacific Music Festival, which he and Leonard Bernstein inaugurated in 1990, and he continues as Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, which he founded in 1988. Among his honors are Columbia University’s Ditson Award for services to American music and Musical America’s 1995 Conductor of the Year award. He is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of France and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Gramophone named him its 2005 Artist of the Year.
Michael Tilson Thomas talks about his first meeting with the maestro and the influence Bernstein had on the people he taught and trained.
© 2008 The Carnegie Hall Corporation.