Michael Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony and Chorus bow at an American Mavericks festival concert, June 9, 2000




With the season-ending American Mavericks festival, MTT, who has never been bashful in his programming and in his commitment to American music, outdoes even himself. The multimedia-infused festival spotlights 20th-century composers who work “resolutely, aggressively, independently outside the mainstream,” reacting to the times in which they find themselves. MTT considers these mavericks to be American heroes, and believes listeners are ready to give them a hearing. As has been the case since his first day, MTT calls it: The moment American Mavericks launches, the world focuses on San Francisco. Audiences respond in droves, connecting with classical music in new ways, without waiting to be told whether they should or shouldn’t like what they hear. (For the record: 18,000 ticketholders do.)


MTT bills the spectacular American Mavericks festival as a celebration of the nation’s visionaries, pioneers, and iconoclasts—composers whose expressive goals are to “explore unknown musical and psychological territories.” Among the mavericks whose music is explored are Charles Ives (who liberated American music from European bondage), John Cage (as much philosopher as musician), and George Antheil (whose Ballet mécanique had to wait almost 80 years for the advent of computer and MIDI tech to be heard as he conceived it). The Bay Area’s Lou Harrison is represented, as are Aaron Copland, Morton Feldman, Steve Reich, John Adams, Steven Mackey, Duke Ellington, and Henry Cowell. MTT’s plan to launch a festival of music designed to shock and surprise is not calculated for success. Needless to say, American Mavericks becomes iconic.

MTT, Steven Mackey, and Sherwood and Judy Weiser backstage 
at a American Mavericks festival concert
MTT performs Feldman’s Piece for 4 Pianos
at the American Mavericks festival
Michael Tilson Thomas
MTT performs Copland as part of the 
American Mavericks festival
MTT leads the West Coast premiere of Antheil's Ballet mécanique
Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2000
Bridgett Hooks performs at the 2000 American Mavericks festival
Steven Mackey performs his Tuck and Roll with MTT and the New World Symphony


National Tour

The Charles Schwab National Tour features pianists Garrick Ohlsson, Robin Sutherland, and Arcadi Volodos; and violinist Chee-Yun.

New York, NY, Carnegie Hall

Newark, NJ, New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Washington DC, Kennedy Center

Boston, MA, Symphony Hall

Hartford, CT, Bushnell Memorial Hall

Chicago, IL, Orchestra Hall

Urbana-Champaign, IL, Krannert Center

San Diego, CA, San Diego Civic Theatre

Costa Mesa, CA, Segerstrom Hall, Orange County Performing Arts Center

Palm Springs, CA, McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts

Los Angeles, CA, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Santa Barbara, CA, Arlington Theatre

Chico, CA, Laxson Auditorium

Tune in to KDFC at 3pm daily for “MTT Time”—special concert broadcasts from each year of MTT’s historic tenure, featuring commentary from MTT himself.

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