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Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas Talks His 25th Season Opening

Carolyne Zinko | July 18, 2019 | People Now In

Michael Tilson Thomas leads the 25th seasonopening concert Sept. 4, at a gala chaired by Nicole Lacob and Rachel Bowman.

As the San Francisco Symphony’s Opening Night Gala approaches, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas nears retirement at the end of the 2019-20 season. He’s scheduled for heart surgery this summer, but expects to be back in form by Sept. 4. The Mahler expert, acclaimed for his Keeping Score TV series, will maintain a home in San Francisco with his husband, Joshua Robison. Expect galagoers to wear their hearts on their sleeves by donning blue, the maestro’s favorite color. Sept. 4, 6PM, patrons’ tickets from $2,000

Why now? This is the right time to move on from this role. There are many musical associations and projects that I am exploring. And, for the first time since I was 25 years old, I will be taking off Septembers to travel. How great is that? What are you most proud of? The orchestra is now a more virtuoso and fearless ensemble. What will you be thinking about on gala night? Opening night will be, and always is, about celebrating relationships. San Francisco has been welcoming and generous to me ever since the first day I visited as a child. It has allowed me and Joshua to be a part of this remarkable community in the fullest and richest sense. How will this contrast with your Metallica concert at the new Chase Center a few nights later? At its essence, the concert with Metallica is about many of those same things: shared long-term relationships and the Bay Area community. And, as a Warriors fan, I couldn’t be more pleased than to be part of the opening of their new San Francisco home!


Photography by: BRANDON PATOC