SF Symphony Kicks Off Digital Celebration of Michael Tilson Thomas’ 25-Year Tenure

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Michael Tilson Thomas announced he will step down as Music Director in 2020. (Art Streiber)

The COVID-19 pandemic thwarted the San Francisco Symphony’s plans to celebrate outgoing musical director Michael Tilson Thomas with a slate of concerts that attest to his influential 25-year tenure. But the orchestra adapted quickly even as it canceled the remainder of its season.

Today, June 4, kicks off 25 days of virtual programming called MTT25, with daily releases of musical recordings, a virtual memory wall where fans can pay tribute to MTT and daily broadcasts on the Bay Area’s classical staton, KDFC, called “MTT Time.”

June 26 marks the release of Thomas’ new album of original compositions, From the Diary of Anne Frank & Meditations on Rilke, on the Symphony’s SFS Media label. The orchestra will also release a short behind-the-scenes documentary about the project, which features mezzo-sopranos Sasha Cooke and Isabel Leonard, both of whom appear on the album.

The month of programming culminates with an online celebration on the Symphony’s YouTube channel on June 28. Hosted by vocalists Audra McDonald Susan Graham, it features personal stories and tributes from MTT’s musical colleagues and friends from around the world.

More details on MTT25 can be found here.