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Michael Tilson Thomas presents The Thomashefskys

2004–05

A VERY DEFINITE MESSAGE

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MTT is on fire this season, launching more big-ticket productions to wildly approving audiences and critical acclaim. The pilot episode of Keeping Score hits the airwaves with immersive storytelling on Tchaikovsky and his Symphony No. 4—and immediately garners global fans and industry accolades. In the tradition of innovative festivals, MTT brings his tenth season to a close with Of Thee I Sing: Yiddish Theater, Broadway, and the American Voice. In this production, MTT and the Orchestra examine how Jewish artists helped mold American theatrical and musical traditions through such avenues as Yiddish theater, Broadway, Tin Pan Alley, and the concert hall. 

SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION: OF THEE I SING: 

YIDDISH THEATER, BROADWAY, AND THE AMERICAN VOICE  

In June, MTT and the San Francisco Symphony break new musical ground with Of Thee I Sing: Yiddish Theater, Broadway, and the American Voice. This two-week exploration of 20th-century Jewish-American music and its impact on the American musical theater hits all the right notes as part documentary and part musical show. MTT writes the script, hosts, and performs in concerts that are rooted in the lives of his colorful grandparents, Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky, two of the biggest stars of Yiddish theater in New York a century ago. “My grandparents’ Yiddish theater was a theater of social transformation.…It’s a show, it’s entertaining, but it also has a very definite message.”  The message is heard loud and clear: The Los Angeles Times describes the festival as bringing out “the Yiddish accent in such quintessentially American composers as Copland, Gershwin, and Bernstein.” Nightline devotes 20 minutes to the sold-out events. And at home, the sold-out audience sits at the edge of their seats and joins their voices with MTT’s night after night. 

The Thomashefskys: Music & Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater, written, hosted, and conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas
MTT backstage with Ralph and Caroline Grierson, 2005
MTT with Deborah Winger, 2005
MTT and Michael Morgan, 2005
Alicia Zuckerman, New York Magazine, April 7, 2005

THE MAKING OF A PERFORMANCE: KEEPING SCORE PILOT LAUNCHES

The TV pilot of Keeping Score focuses on the music and life of Tchaikovsky and establishes the Keeping Score format: commentary by MTT and San Francisco Symphony musicians, and a complete performance of the music that has been examined. It is designed to make classical music accessible to people of all ages and musical backgrounds through TV, web, radio, DVDs, and in the classroom. With its pilot episode broadcast nationally on PBS’s Great Performances, the project quickly captures its first of many honors: the Deems Taylor Award for outstanding print, broadcast, and new media coverage of music.

MTT"s 60th birthday celebration concert, January 13, 2005
Robin Williams and MTT, 2005
Michael Tilson Thomas backstage with Audra McDonald, John Goldman, Lisa Vroman,
Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson, and Frederica von Stade

PREMIERES
Steve ReichFor Strings, with winds and brass 
(World premiere)  

Kraft: Timpani Concerto No. 2 
(World premiere, San Francisco Symphony commission) 


MUSICIAN APPOINTMENTS
Tim Day (Principal Flute) 

Scott Pingel (Principal Bass) 

CONDUCTING STAFF
Benjamin Shwartz 
(Assistant Conductor and Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra)  



Recordings

European Tour

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes joined MTT and the Symphony for the November 2004 European Tour. 

Madrid, Spain, Auditorio Nacional de Música 

Pamplona, Spain, Baluarte 

Zaragoza, Spain, Auditorio de Zaragoza 

Barcelona, Spain, Palau de la Música Catalana 

Turin, Italy, Il Lingotto 

Athens, Greece, Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) 

National Tours

Spring 2005 featured two American tours, one in MTT and the San Francisco Symphony’s home state of California (January 2005) and a national tour (March 2005) featuring pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and soprano Barbara Bonney as guest artists. 

January 2005 California Tour  

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

Santa Barbara, CA, Arlington Theatre 

Los Angeles, CA, Walt Disney Concert Hall 

Palm Desert, CA, McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts 

San Diego, CA, Copley Symphony Hall


March 2005 National Tour  

New York, NY, Carnegie Hall 

Purchase, NY, Performing Arts Center, Purchase College 

Hartford, CT, Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts 

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.