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San Francisco Symphony Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas announced as 2019 Kennedy Center Honoree

July 18, 2019

Public Relations
San Francisco Symphony
(415) 503-5474


42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors to Celebrate the Profound Artistic Impact of Michael Tilson Thomas; Linda Ronstadt; Earth, Wind & Fire; Sally Field; and Sesame Street

Gala will be broadcast on CBS on December 15, 2019

San Francisco, CA, July 18, 2019—In recognition of a career of visionary leadership, and on the occasion of his 25th and final year as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, conductor, composer, and educator Michael Tilson Thomas has today been announced as a recipient of the 2019 Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements. Additional recipients to be honored at the 42nd annual national celebration of the arts include iconic Bay Area singer Linda Ronstadt, R&B collective Earth, Wind & Fire, actress Sally Field, and children's television program Sesame Street.

In response to receiving this honor, Michael Tilson Thomas states, “The life of an artist, or of an arts institution, has essentially two moments. The first is inventing yourself which takes vision and gumption. The second is going the distance, sustaining the vision, and sharing it. I was fortunate to grow up around people who did both. My family and my devoted teachers lived every day reaffirming the highest standards and ideals of the arts and of our nation. They understood that the arts really matter when they have a creative role in a living tradition. I am honored that the Kennedy Center, which is a living center of both arts and ideals, has chosen to recognize my work. I hope that I can be thought of as a representative for all American classical musicians at this remarkable event.”

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