Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas Returns to the Stage
The American conductor will direct the New York Philharmonic in his first appearance since undergoing brain surgery in July 2021
In August 2021, Tilson Thomas announced that he would step back from performing through the end of October, to recover from a successful surgery to remove a brain tumor.
Tilson Thomas — New World Symphony’s founder and artistic director, San Francisco Symphony’s (SFS) music director laureate, and conductor laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra — explained in a social media post that after his diagnosis, an immediate surgery was needed.
Following a successful procedure, he wrote: "I’m embarking on a course of therapy for the next several months...I plan to return to the stage in November. I am very fortunate to be cared for by the excellent team at UCSF (University of California, San Francisco Medical Center) and their national and international collaborators."
After several canceled concerts due to his recovery — including with the National Symphony Orchestra for the Kennedy Center’s 50th anniversary, New World Symphony, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra — he is now able to return for this coming month’s performances.
To start, he will conduct the New York Philharmonic on November 4, 5, and 7, 2021. “Through these past difficult months, my love and appreciation of music has remained undiminished,” he said. “The thought of sharing it with New York audiences gives me great joy.”
The program will feature Berg’s Violin Concerto with soloist Gil Shaham, Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony, and Ruth Crawford Seeger’s “Andante for Strings.” These performances will take place in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.
On November 12, 13, and 14, he will lead the San Francisco Symphony as music director laureate for the first time, in a program of Mozart’s Three German Dances and Schumann’s Symphony No. 1. Concluding the concert will be Tilson Thomas’ “Notturno,” featuring flutist Demarre McGill.
Between November 18 and 20, he will conduct the SFS in an all-American program, featuring the world premiere of SFS’s principal trombonist Timothy Higgins’ Trombone Concerto, William Grant Still’s “Patterns,” and Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.”
Tilson Thomas’ concert engagements next year include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, and Czech Philharmonic.