Michael Tilson Thomas had a lifelong relationship with Stravinsky, dating back to performing in Stravinsky's presence during Tilson Thomas's student days in Los Angeles. This all-Stravinsky program promises spectacular orchestral colors, rhythmic vitality, unique melodies, and plenty of excitement. Stravinsky’s ballet Pétrouchka is a thrilling masterpiece where Russian folk tunes enliven brilliant musical tableaux, while the savage rhythms, earthy melodies, and drama of Le sacre du printemps make it a cornerstone of 20th-century music. Another side of Stravinsky shines in his witty Violin Concerto, a four-movement dazzler where pungent harmonies, beautiful song-like passages, and jazzy syncopated rhythms challenge the soloist and captivate the listener.
San Francisco Symphony Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director and Conductor Leonidas Kavakos, Violin
Solemnity, fury, and joy—sometimes in a single work—characterize the music on this program. Ives’s Decoration Day (now known as Memorial Day) with its allusions to church bells, hymns, and military band music evokes a mood of reverence. Brahms also conjures a serious tone in the second movement of his Symphony No. 2, but the work’s overall warmth and jubilant finale dispels all sorrow. Beethoven balances a stormy mood, melancholy, and high spirits in his groundbreaking Piano Concerto No. 3, a work played by Igor Levit, “one of the essential artists of his generation” (The New York Times).
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor Igor Levit, Piano
Mahler’s final complete symphony is the brilliant culmination of his career. The grand scale, intense emotion, earthy dance, and startling power—the hallmarks of his symphonies—are also present, pointing to an ethereal finale that ascends to the otherworldly. Michael Tilson Thomas and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra—both renowned Mahler interpreters—offer a vision into the eternal.
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor
Virtuosity reigns and the stars shine brightly when two Perspectives artists—Michael Tilson Thomas and Yuja Wang—share the stage. Prokofiev strove for simplicity in his final piano concerto, a work he originally named “Music for Piano and Orchestra.” The concerto, however, is anything but facile with its nimble opening movement, quicksilver toccata, and emotionally powerful Larghetto. Emotions certainly are at the fore in Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, a phantasmagoric tale of obsessive passion painted in kaleidoscopic orchestral colors.
New World Symphony America’s Orchestral Academy Michael Tilson Thomas, Artistic Director and Conductor Yuja Wang, Piano
JULIA WOLFE Fountain of Youth (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
Perspectives artist Michael Tilson Thomas’s brilliance as conductor and composer are showcased. His Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind takes its text from a Carl Sandburg poem and was composed for soprano Measha Brueggergosman. This unique song cycle—scored for three singers, chamber orchestra, and cabaret band—is a fascinating fusion of art song and bebop. Tilson Thomas’s mastery of Mahler is featured in a performance of the composer’s string orchestra arrangement of Schubert’s powerful string quartet. Fellow Perspectives artist Yuja Wang is also on hand for the New York premiere of a Tilson Thomas work for solo piano.
New World Symphony America’s Orchestral Academy Michael Tilson Thomas, Artistic Director and Conductor Measha Brueggergosman, Soprano Yuja Wang, Piano
with Kara Dugan, Vocals Kristen Toedtman, Vocals
MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS Work for Solo Piano (NY Premiere)
MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind (NY Premiere)
SCHUBERT String Quartet in D Minor, D. 810, "Death and the Maiden" (arr. for string orchestra by Mahler)