Michael Tilson Thomas
Born in Los Angeles, CA; educated at University of Southern California and current San Francisco Symphony Music Director
Conductor and composer Michael Tilson Thomas is Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Founder and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony and Conductor Laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra.
At age 19, Tilson Thomas became Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra in Los Angeles. He worked with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen and Copland on premieres of their compositions for Monday Evening Concerts.
In 1969, after winning the Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood Music Center, he was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. That same year he made his New York debut with the Boston Symphony, where he gained international recognition after replacing Music Director William Steinberg mid-concert. He served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1969 to 1974, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic from 1971 to 1979 and a Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1981 to 1985.
In 1988, he launched the New World Symphony, a post-graduate orchestral academy. As Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1988 to 1995, he led regular tours in Europe, the U.S. and Japan.
Tilson Thomas became Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony in 1995. Under his tenure, the symphony has presented 18 festivals and received international acclaim. To date, he has recorded more than 120 albums, 11 of which have won Grammy Awards®.
Knight of the Legion of Honor, France
National Medal of Arts