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Michael Tilson Thomas & New World Symphony

With the titles music director of the San Francisco Symphony, artistic director of the New World Symphony, and principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas has built quite a reputation for himself in the music industry. He is internationally known as a composer and a conductor, combining his own eclectic style with various American music styles. During his career he has worked with such music greats as Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, and Aaron Copland.

Michael Tilson Thomas was born in Los Angeles in 1944. He was musically influenced by his family, who had been artistically inclined for three generations. He began studying piano at the University of Southern California with John Crown and conducting and composing classes with Ingolf Dahl. By the age of 19, he was appointed music director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra. During this time Tilson Thomas was also pianist and conductor for Gregor Piatigorsky and Jascha Heifetz.

Tilson Thomas became assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1969 after winning the Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood. He gained international recognition with the orchestra when he replaced William Steinberg, during a New York performance in 1969. He became principal guest conductor of the orchestra, where he stayed until 1974. From there his accomplishments included music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and principal conductor of the Great Woods Music Festival. In the summer of 1990, Tilson Thomas and Leonard Bernstein began the Pacific Music Festival in Japan. During the summers of years thereafter, he returned to Japan to be the artistic director of the festival.

Besides performing and conducting worldwide, Tilson Thomas recognizes the need for helping music graduates gain experience. In 1988 he created the New World Symphony, a training symphony for graduates of music conservatories. The symphony has trained many young men and women who have acquired employment in orchestras and symphonies worldwide. He himself led the symphony on a tour of the United States in 1991. The tour featured his composition From the Diary of Anne Frank. Since its debut, this piece has been heard all around the world in a variety of languages.

In 1995 Tilson Thomas became the 11th music director of the San Francisco Symphony. After he took this position, the orchestra toured the United States, Europe, and Asia and gained international recognition. The orchestra also signed an exclusive five-year contract with BMG Classics/RCA Red Seal under the direction of Tilson Thomas. The first release under the label, Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, won a Grammy Award in 1997 for Best Orchestral Performance. Tilson Thomas and the orchestra also created the cross-platform educational series Keeping Score, and in the 2014-2015 season celebrated the 20th year of their partnership.

Aside from his appointments for the various orchestras, Tilson Thomas also likes to spend time on composing. In 1995, he was commissioned by Hiroshima, Japan to compose a piece for their 50th anniversary of the bombing of the city, a work he entitled Shówa/Shoáh. Among his other compositions are Three Poems by Walt Whitman, for baritone and orchestra; Street Song for brass quintet; and Notturno for chamber ensemble.

Michael Tilson Thomas is known as one of the busiest conductors of the present era. He has been internationally recognized for his conducting, composing, and performing and still travels and performs worldwide. ~ Kim Summers, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Tangazo: Music of Latin America

Composer: Carlos Chavez
Title: Symphony No. 2 "Sinfonia India"

1. Symphony No. 2 "Sinfonia India": Sinfonia India

Composer: Aaron Copland
Title: Danzón Cubano, For 2 Pianos (or Orchestra [1945])

2. Danzón Cubano, For 2 Pianos (or Orchestra [1945]): Danzon Cubano

Composer: Amadeo Roldán
Title: La Rebambaramba Suite, For Orchestra

3. La Rebambaramba Suite, For Orchestra: 1. Final De 1er Cuadro

4. La Rebambaramba Suite, For Orchestra: 2 Comparsa Lucumi

5. La Rebambaramba Suite, For Orchestra: 3 Comparsa De La Culebra

6. La Rebambaramba Suite, For Orchestra: 4 Final De La Obra

Composer: Silvestre Revueltas
Title: Sensemaya, For Orchestra

7. Sensemaya, For Orchestra: Sensemaya

Composer: Alejandro Caturla
Title: Danzas (3) Cubanas For Orchestra

8. Danzas (3) Cubanas For Orchestra: 1 Danza Del Tambor

9. Danzas (3) Cubanas For Orchestra: 2 Motivos De Danzas

10. Danzas (3) Cubanas For Orchestra: 3 Danza Lucumi

Composer: Amadeo Roldán
Title: Ritmica No.5, For 11 Percussionists

11. Ritmica No.5, For 11 Percussionists: Ritmica V

Composer: Astor Piazzolla
Title: Tangazo, For Orchestra

12. Tangazo, For Orchestra: Tangazo

Composer: Alberto Ginastera
Title: Dances From Estancia, Dance Suite From The Ballet, Op. 8a

13. Dances From Estancia, Dance Suite From The Ballet, Op. 8a: I. Los Trabadores Agricolas

14. Dances From Estancia, Dance Suite From The Ballet, Op. 8a: II. Danza Del Trigo

15. Dances From Estancia, Dance Suite From The Ballet, Op. 8a: III. Los Peones De Hacienda

16. Dances From Estancia, Dance Suite From The Ballet, Op. 8a: IV. Danza Final "Malambo"

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