The New York Philharmonic

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Michael Tilson Thomas and Schubert

Mar 09 - Mar 12


When Michael Tilson Thomas returned to the Philharmonic last season after ten years, The New York Times hailed him as a “podium hero.” This season he leads his own Meditations on Rilke, featuring acclaimed vocalists Sasha Cooke and Dashon Burton, as well as Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, known as the Great for its scope and splendor. 

Michael Tilson Thomas and Schubert


7:30 PM




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8:00 PM




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8:00 PM




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2:00 PM




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Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall


2 Hours with Intermission


Program To Include

Michael Tilson Thomas

Meditations on Rilke (New York Premiere)


Symphony No. 9, Great



  • Michael Tilson Thomas


    Michael Tilson Thomas is co-founder and artistic director of the New World Symphony, music director laureate of the San Francisco Symphony, and conductor laureate of the London Symphony Orchestra. He is a 12-time Grammy Award winner and has conducted the major orchestras of Europe and the United States. 

    Born in Los Angeles, he studied piano, conducting, and composition at the University of Southern California, and as a young musician worked with such artists as Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copland. In his mid-20s he became assistant conductor — and later principal guest conductor — of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which he led in his New York debut. He subsequently served as music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. 

    In 1987 Michael Tilson Thomas co-founded the New World Symphony (NWS), a postgraduate orchestral academy in Miami Beach dedicated to preparing young musicians of diverse backgrounds for leadership roles in classical music. He has since worked with more than 1,100 NWS Fellows, many of whom have gone onto careers with major orchestras. 

    He became music director of the San Francisco Symphony in 1995, and his tenure was a period of significant growth and heightened international recognition for the orchestra in which he led the orchestra in championing contemporary and American composers alongside classical masters. As music director laureate, he continues to conduct the orchestra in four weeks of concerts annually, as well as in special projects. 

    His discography includes more than 120 recordings, and his television work includes the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts, series for the BBC and PBS, and numerous televised performances. In 2020 he was profiled on PBS’s American Masters. 

    An active composer throughout his career, Michael Tilson Thomas’s major works include From the Diary of Anne Frank (1990), commissioned by UNICEF and premiered with Audrey Hepburn as narrator, and Meditations on Rilke (2019). Both appear on a recent Grammy Award–winning recording of his music by the San Francisco Symphony. 

    He is an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France, a member of the American Academies of Arts and Sciences and Arts and Letters, a National Medal of Arts recipient, a member of the California Hall of Fame, and a 2019 Kennedy Center Honoree. 

    Learn more about Michael Tilson Thomas
  • Sasha Cooke


    Two-time Grammy Award–winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke’s 2021–22 season includes her return to The Metropolitan Opera both for her role debut as Cherubino in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and as Eduige in Handel’s Rodelinda. Her concert highlights include appearances with the Minnesota Orchestra, singing Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer and Symphony No. 8, the latter conducted by Osmo Vänskä; the Houston Symphony for Nadia Boulanger’s Faust et Hélène, led by Fabien Gabel; Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, led by Andrés Orozco-Estrada; and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for Michael Tilson Thomas’s Meditations on Rilke, conducted by the composer. She gives a solo recital at the Tucson Desert Song Festival, joined by pianist Myra Huang, that includes the premieres of a new work by Jennifer Higdon.

    Learn more about Sasha Cooke
  • Dashon Burton


    Dashon Burton has established a vibrant career appearing regularly throughout the United States and Europe. His repertoire includes J.S. Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions and the Mass in B minor, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Brahms’s A German Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem.

    Learn more about Dashon Burton

Special Thanks

Support for Michael Tilson Thomas’s appearance on March 9 is provided by Michael P. N. A. Hormel.


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