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Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony to receive Germany's ECHO Klassik award for "Orchestra of the Year."

August 13, 2013

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German Music Industry Award honors MTT/SFS Recording of
John Adams’s Harmonielehre and Short Ride in a Fast Machine
On the Orchestra’s own SFS Media Label

SAN FRANCISCO / BERLIN (August 13, 2013)Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will receive an ECHO Klassik Award 2013 for  “Orchestra of the Year,” the Deutsche Phono-Akademie, the cultural institute of the German Music Industry Association, announced today in Berlin. The Orchestra will be honored for its hybrid SACD of music by American composer John Adams, which was released on the Orchestra’s own label, SFS Media, in spring 2012. This live concert recording featuring the works Harmonielehre and Short Ride in a Fast Machine by John Adams, a long-time musical partner of the Orchestra, has already won a Grammy Award in the category of Best Orchestral Performance. The 20th annual ECHO Klassik awards ceremony will take place at the Berlin Konzerthaus on October 6, 2013.

The ECHO Klassik is one of the world’s most established and coveted music awards, presented since 1994. Each year the Deutsche Phono-Akademie, the cultural institute of the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (German Music Industry Association), honors outstanding performances by international artists with this award. For more information about the award, visit the English version of ECHO’s website .

The SFS commissioned, premiered, and recorded Harmonielehre in March 1985 during Adams’ tenure as SFS composer in residence. Hear Adams and Michael Tilson Thomas’ insights about the work at Tilson Thomas also commissioned Short Ride in a Fast Machine from John Adams in 1986. They talk about the genesis of Short Ride in a Fast Machine in a short video found at  Both works on this award-winning SACD were recorded live in concert at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony’s recordings on SFS Media reflect the artistic identity of the Orchestra’s programming: its commitment to performing the work of American maverick composers alongside that of the core classical masterworks, a broad and diverse range that has been a hallmark of the MTT/SFS partnership for the past 18 seasons. SFS Media recordings have received eight Grammy Awards to date. The cycle of the complete symphonies and orchestral songs of Mahler won seven Grammys in addition to the Best Orchestral Performance Grammy for the Adams recording. 

This award marks the second time an MTT/SFS recording has been honored with an ECHO Klassik award. Charles Ives, An American Journey, was named Symphonic Recording of the Year in 2004.  

Future releases on SFS Media will include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 and the Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II in November 2013 and the first recording of the SFS-commissioned Absolute Jest by John Adams in March 2014. In March 2014 Michael Tilson Thomas and the Orchestra will embark on an extensive European tour with concerts in London, Paris, Vienna, Prague, Dortmund, Luxembourg, and other cities featuring live performances of works from the extensive SFS Media catalogue including John Adams, Charles Ives, Beethoven, Berlioz, and Mahler.

Adams: HarmonielehreShort Ride in a Fast Machine
John Adams (1947- )
Michael Tilson Thomas, Conductor
San Francisco Symphony
Harmonielehre recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall December 8-11, 2010. Short Ride in a Fast Machine recorded at the San Francisco Symphony’s Centennial Season Opening Gala on September 7, 2011.
SFS Media
Catalogue No.:         
Release Date:           
April 2012 in Europe, March 13, 2012 in the US
harmonia mundi (North America)
Avie (International)
The Orchard (Digital)
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