Michael Tilson Thomas to Conduct San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall, 4/13-14

Michael Tilson Thomas to Conduct San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall, 4/13-14

The San Francisco Symphony returns to Carnegie Hall with Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas for two concerts on Wednesday, April 13 at 8:00 p.m. and Thursday, April 14 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. For the first performance, Mr. Tilson Thomas - widely considered the world's premier interpreter of the works of Aaron Copland - conducts music by the American master, including his Orchestral Variations and Inscape. The dynamic pianist Inon Barnatan joins the orchestra for a performance of Copland's Piano Concerto. The program concludes with Schumann's Symphony No. 2 in C Major, Op. 61. This season, Mr. Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony are performing and recording the complete Schumann symphonies for future release on SFS Media.

The next night, Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and internationally celebrated heroic tenor Simon O'Neill take the stage with Mr. Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony as featured soloists in Mahler's tremendous Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth), following a performance of Schubert's enduring Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759, "Unfinished."

The San Francisco Symphony is widely considered to be among the most artistically adventurous and innovative arts institutions in the US. The SFS presents more than 220 concerts and presentations annually for an audience of nearly 600,000 in its home of Davies Symphony Hall and through an active national and international touring program. Since MTT assumed his post as the SFS's eleventh Music Director in September 1995, he and the San Francisco Symphony have formed a musical partnership hailed as one of the most inspiring and successful in the country. His tenure with the orchestra has been praised for outstanding musicianship, innovative programming, highlighting the works of American composers, and bringing new audiences to classical music. In addition, the orchestra has been recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in music education and digital technology to make classical music available worldwide to as many people as possible. MTT is now the longest-tenured music director for a major American orchestra, and the longest-serving music director in the San Francisco Symphony's history.

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 nineteen and working with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland at the famed Monday Evening Concerts. He was pianist and conductor for Piatigorsky and Heifetz master classes and, as a student of Friedelind Wagner, an assistant conductor at Bayreuth. 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.

Michael Tilson Thomas's recordings have won numerous international awards, and his recorded repertory reflects interests arising from work as conductor, composer, and pianist. His television credits include the New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts, and in 2004, he and the SFS launched Keeping Score on PBS-TV. His compositions include From the Diary of Anne Frank, Shówa/Shoáh (commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing), Poems of Emily Dickinson, Urban Legend, Island Music, and Notturno. He is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of France, was selected as Gramophone magazine's 2005 Artist of the Year, was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2010, was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Inon Barnatan started playing the piano at the age of three and made his orchestral debut at eleven. In 1997, he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Maria Curcio and Christopher Elton. He has also studied with Victor Derevianko and Leon Fleisher. In 2006, Mr. Barnatan moved to New York City, where he currently resides in a converted warehouse in Harlem. He received an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2009 and in 2015 was awarded the Martin E. Segal Award by Lincoln Center.

Mr. Barnatan currently serves as the first Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic. This three-season appointment sees him appear as soloist in subscription concerts and in chamber performances. In 2015-2016, he embarks on his second season with the Philharmonic, playing works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Saint-Saëns, in addition to joining members of the orchestra for Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other highlights of Mr. Barnatan's season include his Walt Disney Concert Hall debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and performances in Paris, Brussels, Bonn, Copenhagen, Istanbul, St. Louis, and Toronto, as well as at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, London's Wigmore Hall, and Tokyo's Suntory Hall.

American mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke is a graduate of Rice University and The Juilliard School. A former member of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, she also attended the Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival, Ravinia's Steans Music Institute, the Wolf Trap Foundation, Marlboro Music Festival, and the young artist programs of Central City Opera and Seattle Opera.

Ms. Cooke's 2015-2016 symphonic engagements include performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra; Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra; Handel's Messiah with Trevor Pinnock and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Nashville and Seattle symphonies. Ms. Cooke's season also features the world premieres of Marc Neikrug's Canta-Concerto with the New York Philharmonic and Mark Grey's operatic adaption of Frankenstein at La Monnaie in Brussels, and role debuts as Magdalena in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with San Francisco Opera, and as Medoro in Handel's Orlando with Harry Bicket and the English Concert on tour throughout Europe and at Carnegie Hall.

A native of New Zealand, Simon O'Neill is an alumnus of the University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Juilliard Opera Center. He is a Fulbright Scholar, was awarded the 2005 Arts Laureate of New Zealand, and was a grand finalist in the 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Auditions. His forthcoming engagements include the role of Cavaradossi in Tosca and Beethoven's Missa solemnis in New Zealand, Act I of Die Walküre in concert in Adelaide, Mahler's Symphony No. 8 in Tokyo, and his debut in concert in the title role of Tristan und Isolde with conductor Pietari Inkinen. Mr. O'Neill returns to Accademia di Santa Cecilia as Florestan in Fidelio, the Auckland Philharmonia in the title role of Otello, Berlin State Opera for Die Walküre, Berliner Philharmoniker, Bavarian State Opera, and Houston Grand Opera for Götterdämmerung, Turandot, and Tannhäuser with Patrick Summers, and Schoenberg's Gurrelieder with Donald Runnicles.

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