Art Works Blog

Art Works Podcast: Michael Tilson Thomas

In this week's podcast, we meet 2009 National Medal of Arts recipient Michael Tilson Thomas, who has long been a transformative figure in American classical music. Music director of the San Francisco Symphony since 1995, he helped develop that organization into one of the world’s leading ensembles, and actively showcased the music of American composers while honoring the great European classical tradition. In an era of a diminishing audience for classical music, San Francisco Symphony has seen continuous growth due in part to innovative programming and outreach.

In 1987, he founded the New World Symphony, an orchestra and academy for gifted graduates of  music programs. At New World, young players spend up to three years preparing to make the leap to professional orchestras and ensembles. In 2011, the organization moved into a spectacular new home at the New World Center in Miami Beach. Designed by Frank Gehry, the center aims to make the classical music experience interactive, in part by broadcasting performances to the public on a 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall. 

Think you know someone equally deserving of a National Medal of Arts? We're now accepting nominations for the 2013 class!

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