Tilson Thomas Shares Personal Recollections About His Years at USC with Multi-Media Presentation and also Conducts USC Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4

Monday, October 5, 2009, 7:00 P.M., at Bovard Auditorium at USC

Michael Tilson Thomas, one of the world’s leading conductors and an esteemed alumnus of the USC Thornton School of Music, returns to his roots for a special concert with the USC Thornton Symphony Orchestra on Monday, October 5, 2009, 7:00 P.M., at USC’s Bovard Auditorium, where as a student in the late 1960’s he spent many a day (and night) performing.  The concert, part of USC Thornton’s ongoing 125th Anniversary celebration, opens with Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, reflecting upon his time at the storied music school during this tumultuous era.  The multi-media presentation includes historic photos of him with some of his mentors and fellow students.  Tilson Thomas also conducts the famed USC Thornton Symphony orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s brilliant and evocative Symphony No. 4.  The concert is presented by Visions and Voices: The USC Arts and Humanities Initiative, in conjunction with USC Thornton School of Music.

General admission is $18.  Tickets for seniors, USC alumni and non-USC students are $12.  (USC students, staff and faculty with valid ID are free.) USC’s Bovard Auditorium is located at 3551 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90098 (on the USC campus in downtown LA).  Ample parking is available. For tickets and information, please call 213-740-4672 or visit

MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS first conducted the San Francisco Symphony in 1974 and has been Music Director since 1995.  A Los Angeles native, he studied with John Crown and Ingolf Dahl at the University of Southern California, becoming Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra at 19 and working with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland at the famed Monday Evening Concerts.  He was pianist and conductor for Piatigorsky and Heifetz master classes and, as a student of Friedelind Wagner, an assistant conductor at Bayreuth. â€¨In 1969, Tilson Thomas won the Koussevitzky Prize and was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony.  Ten days later he came to international recognition, replacing Music Director William Steinberg in mid-concert at Lincoln Center. He went on to become the BSO’s Associate Conductor, then Principal Guest Conductor.  He has also served as Director of the Ojai Festival, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, a Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Principal Conductor of the Great Woods Festival.  He became Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1988 and now serves as Principal Guest Conductor.  For a decade he served as co-Artistic Director of Japan’s Pacific Music Festival, which he and Leonard Bernstein inaugurated in 1990, and he continues as Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, which he founded in 1988.  Michael Tilson Thomas’ recordings have won numerous international awards, and his recorded repertory reflects interests arising from work as conductor, composer, and pianist.  His television credits include the New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts, and in 2004 he and the SFS launched Keeping Score on PBS-TV.  His compositions include From the Diary of Anne Frank, Shówa/Shoáh (commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing), Poems of Emily Dickinson, Urban Legend, Island Music, and Notturno. Among his honors are Columbia University’s Ditson Award for services to American music and Musical America‘s 1995 Conductor of the Year award.  He is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of France and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Gramophone named him its 2005 Artist of the Year.

The UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FLORA L. THORNTON SCHOOL OF MUSIC, currently celebrating its 125th Anniversary and regarded as one of the premier music schools in the world, offers a unique combination of innovative programs such as popular music performance, recording science, and scoring for motion pictures and television, which stand alongside more traditional programs in classical music, opera, jazz studies, composition and research.  Blending the rigors of a traditional conservatory-style education with the benefits of studying at a leading research university, USC Thornton offers students an unparalleled music education in a real-world context.  Its illustrious alumni and faculty have been awarded countless Grammy and Academy Awards and serve as leaders in all facets of the music industry.  The school’s venerated faculty has, over the years included violinist Jascha Heifetz, cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, composer Igor Stravinsky, violist William Primrose and atonal pioneer Arnold Schoenberg, among many others. Celebrated alumni include pop great Herb Albert; film score composers James Horner, Jerry Goldsmith and James Newton Howard; TV/film score composer Bear McCreary; composer and Presidential Medal of the Arts recipient Morten Lauridsen; acclaimed conductors Michael Tilson Thomas and Grant Gershon; opera stars Marilyn Horne, Rod Gilfry, Jessica Rivera and Erica Miller; and esteemed classical guitarist Christopher Parkening.  In 1999, philanthropist Flora L. Thornton became the school’s benefactor with a naming gift of $25 million, at the time the largest such contribution to an American school of music.  USC Thornton is the oldest continuously operating cultural institution in Los Angeles. USC Thornton currently enrolls 1,072 students from 40 countries and has a student-faculty ratio of six to one.


An Evening of Recollections and Music featuring USC Alumnus/Internationally Renowned Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and the USC Thornton Symphony Orchestra


Monday, October 5, 2009, 7:00 P.M.


Bovard Auditorium

3551 Trousdale Parkway

Los Angeles, CA 90098

(located on the USC campus in downtown LA; ample parking is available)


$18, General admission

$12, Seniors, non-USC students and USC alumni

(USC students, staff and faculty with valid ID are free)


(213) 740-4672

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