Press Room


Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

(415) 503-5474
[email protected]

Jun 4, 2020


Exclusive content from MTT’s 25 years as Music Director—including archival audio recordings, videos, photos, and personal memories to be released daily for 25 consecutive days, beginning June 4

MTT25 culminates in a global virtual event on June 28 at 5pm PDT, hosted by Audra McDonald and Susan Graham and featuring musical performances by renowned guest artists, members of the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, and plenty of surprises

To join the activities and subscribe for updates, visit

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The San Francisco Symphony today launches MTT25: An Online Tributea special 25-day digital tribute in honor of Michael Tilson Thomas’ (MTT) extraordinary 25-year tenure as Music Director. The 2019–20 season marks Tilson Thomas’ 25th and final year leading the San Francisco Symphony in what is widely considered one of the most remarkable and productive artistic partnerships in the orchestra world. From June 4 through 28, the San Francisco Symphony will release original and archival content daily, highlighting achievements, milestones, artistic projects, and relationships illustrative of MTT and the Orchestra’s dynamic 25-year partnership. Each day will be anchored by a specific season in MTT’s tenure—beginning today with the inaugural 1995–96 season—which will be showcased with a unique, evolving, and exciting mix of visuals and storytelling.

Activities culminate with MTT25: An American Icon on June 28, 2020 at 5pm PDT/8pm EDT, hosted by famed vocalists Audra McDonald and Susan Graham, and featuring contributions and tributes by musicians of the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, an array of distinguished guest artists, and many surprises. This global celebration of Michael Tilson Thomas will stream free of charge on the Symphony’s YouTube channel

“Sharing musical experiences in innovative and accessible ways has been a quintessential element of Michael’s 25-year partnership with the San Francisco Symphony,” says San Francisco Symphony CEO Mark C. Hanson. “As we re-envisioned how we would recognize the conclusion of his remarkable tenure as Music Director in the absence of live performances, we focused on two things that hold great personal importance to MTT—the lasting relationships that have grown between Michael, the Orchestra, and musical friends around the world; and the music itself. It is our intent that this 25-day online tribute will connect longtime patrons and new audiences alike through music, people, and stories that illustrate MTT’s legacy of generous and adventurous music making in San Francisco.”

MTT25: An Online Tribute Highlights
Over the course of 25 days—June 4 through 28, 2020—the San Francisco Symphony will release a variety of original, new, and archival content that illuminates different facets of Michael Tilson Thomas’ tenure as Music Director. Each day’s content will focus on a specific season of his tenure and will feature a combination of audio available for streaming, photos, videos, stories, insights from MTT, and personal tribute messages from San Francisco Symphony musicians and artists who have held an important place in MTT’s musical life in San Francisco. The activities will culminate with an MTT25 virtual finale event on June 28, 2020 at 5pm PDT/8pm EDT, featuring performances and tributes by musicians of the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, distinguished guest artists, and many surprises. View featured content exploring MTT’s first season as Music Director now and subscribe to MTT25 updates at

Audio Recording release — daily
On each of the 25 days, the San Francisco Symphony will release a recording from a particular season of Michael Tilson Thomas’ tenure for streaming at These live performance recordings from the San Francisco Symphony’s audio archives are being made available for streaming for the first time and illustrate the breadth of repertoire and creative programming that has characterized MTT’s quarter-century of music making with the San Francisco Symphony.

MTT Time on Classical KDFC — daily
In partnership with KDFC, the Bay Area’s classical radio station will air MTT Timedaily broadcasts of live performance recordings by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony from each year of his tenure as Music Director. Hosted by longtime radio host and KDFC Supervisor of Music Programs Rik Malone and featuring new interviews with MTT from his home, the broadcasts will air everyday June 4–28 at 3pm on Classical KDFC 90.3 San Francisco, 104.9 San Jose, 89.9 Napa, 103.9 Monterey, and where they will be available for on demand streaming for 21 days following the broadcast.

Public Memory Wall — daily
Fans, friends, and audiences from around the world are encouraged to contribute to a public virtual memory wall by sharing their special memories, reflections, and notes of thanks and congratulations to Michael Tilson Thomas on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by using the hashtags #MTT25 and #MTTXXV.

San Francisco Chronicle Datebook Project — June 10 & 14
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Datebook plans to celebrate San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas with special coverage. The project launches online June 10 at, with the print package available on June 14.

Special video release of MTT’s “Whistle Song” — June 21
On June 21—Father’s Day—the San Francisco Symphony will release a special video recording of an upbeat new song MTT composed while sheltering-in-place at home in March 2020. “Whistle Song,” a piece inspired by a tune MTT used to whistle with his father Ted, is performed and filmed by members of the San Francisco Symphony from their homes and will be available on the Symphony’s YouTube page

Digital SFS Media album release of MTT’s From the Diary of Anne Frank & Meditations on Rilke — June 26
On June 26, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony release an album of Tilson Thomas’ From the Diary of Anne Frank & Meditations on Rilke on the SFS Media label. Performances feature narrator Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, and bass-baritone Ryan McKinny. Also available on June 26 is a new short-form documentary video about both of the compositions, featuring commentary from MTT, Isabel Leonard, and Sasha Cooke, and live performance footage. Recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall in November 2018 and January 2020, this album represents the first SFS Media release of MTT’s original compositions, juxtaposing his earliest work for voice and orchestra with his most recent one. This album will be available for download in high quality, 24-bit/192kHz Studio Master, and for streaming via all major retailers worldwide on June 26 and in 5.1 surround-capable SACD on July 17. The album is available for pre-order now. For more information, program notes, and performance video footage, and for commentary from MTT, visit

MTT25: An American Icon — June 28 at 5pm PDT/8 pm EDT
MTT25: An Online Tribute to Michael Tilson Thomas culminates on June 28, 2020 at 5pm PDT/8pm EDT, with a virtual performance event hosted by vocalists Audra McDonald and Susan Graham, and featuring personal stories and performances by a star-studded guest list of friends and musical colleagues of Michael Tilson Thomas. This global tribute to Michael Tilson Thomas’ remarkable 25-year tenure as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony will stream free of charge in a special YouTube Premieres event on the Symphony’s YouTube page

[To download the full PDF version of this press release, click the link at the top of the page]

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