National Medal of Arts

Michael Tilson Thomas is a conductor, pianist, and composer. He is currently music director of the San Francisco Symphony and founder and artistic director of the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy. Over his career, Tilson Thomas enlivened the classical music field by performing works by such avant-garde artists as John Cage and Lou Harrison alongside the classics of Beethoven and Brahms. He is well known as a passionate advocate of music education and the use of new technologies. He has won ten Grammys Awards for his recordings including two in 2010.