Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony Premiere 2nd Season of "Keeping Score" PBS Television Series in October

The Keeping Score Project Also Features Expanded Interactive Companion Web Site, National Radio Series, Home Video on DVD and Blu-Ray, and K-12 Education Program

The San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas premiere the second season of the Keeping Score television series on PBS in October 2009 (check local listings). Keeping Score is the San Francisco Symphony’s national project to make classical music more accessible and meaningful to people of all ages and musical backgrounds, and a key component of its almost century-long history of music education.

More than five million viewers tuned into the first season of Keeping Score on PBS in November 2006 with episodes on Ludwig van Beethoven, Igor Stravinsky, and Aaron Copland. Keeping Score Season 2 features three new programs that explore the music and stories behind Hector Berlioz’s symphonic love letter Symphonie fantastique; Charles Ives’s sonic portrait of New England in his Holidays Symphony; and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, a work that may have saved his life. These three new documentary programs and live concert programs are offered in high definition and surround-sound and are designed to engage and entertain, regardless of the viewer’s musical background. The programs work in tandem with an interactive website, http://www.keepingscore.org/, a national radio series, and a national model education program for K-12 teachers that helps them integrate classical music into core subjects.

“The second season of Keeping Score takes the series to another level,” said Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony. “The cinematic qualities and visual storytelling in these programs give us even more meaningful connections to the music of Hector Berlioz, Charles Ives, and Dmitri Shostakovich, three of my favorite composers. Coupled with the interactive companion web site, these new shows will give people a truly unique way to experience and enjoy the music.”

“Keeping Score continues to be one of the great success stories for this Orchestra,” said John D. Goldman, President of the San Francisco Symphony. “Millions of people all over the globe are touched by the captivating documentaries, the unprecedented production qualities of the live performance programs, the unique interactivity the web site provides, and arts integration in K-12 classrooms that begins to instill a lifelong love of music, which is the key to its long-term success. Keeping Score touches all of these levels and all in the most meaningful ways I can imagine.”

Keeping Score Season 2 presents three one-hour documentary-style episodes and two live concert programs that begin airing nationally on PBS stations in October 2009 (check local listings). In Keeping Score Season 2, Michael Tilson Thomas and the musicians of the San Francisco Symphony explore the music and stories of Hector Berlioz, Charles Ives and Dmitri Shostakovich, composers who each struggled with musical language as a unique expression of their ideas. Shot in a variety of locations throughout the world, the Keeping Score programs offer audiences a unique journey into the lives and music of the featured composers. The programs are presented nationally by KQED Public Media in San Francisco.

Episode One: With Symphonie fantastique, Hector Berlioz confessed his unique artistic vision. It was a symphonic love letter, part psychological self-portrait, part fantasy about the life of an artist, and it expressed his passion for a beautiful woman. Michael Tilson Thomas searches for the inspirations of Berlioz and his music, from his roots in the French Alps to the theater in Paris where the work was premiered, and reveals the musical secrets of this greatest of Romantic symphonies.

Episode Two: American composer Charles Ives created his Holidays Symphony as a haunting sonic portrait of New England at the turn of the 20th century, at turns sentimental and chaotic. Michael Tilson Thomas explores the riddle of Ives the loyal son and businessman versus Ives the musical maverick who made listeners confront their understanding of what music could be. Filmed on location in New England and New York City.

Episode Three: The Fifth Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich is the story of a fall from grace and redemption. Shostakovich was the golden boy composer until, virtually overnight, his patriotism was questioned and condemned in the most public way possible. Written in 1937 in Stalinist Russia, the Fifth Symphony marked his triumphant return. But the question remains: what did the composer mean to say with this enigmatic music? In scenes filmed in St. Petersburg and Moscow , Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony offer clues to unlocking Shostakovich’s musical secrets and make the case for how this symphony may have saved his life.

The Keeping Score web site, http://www.keepingscore.org/, is designed to give people of all musical backgrounds an opportunity to explore signature works by composers Hector Berlioz, Charles Ives, and Dmitri Shostakovich in depth, and at their own pace. www.keepingscore.org offers an interactive area for each composer, with clues and context to illuminate the musical mysteries presented by the television episodes. The interactive audio and video explores the composers’ scores and pertinent musical techniques as well as the personal and historical back stories. The site is designed to particularly appeal to high school, college and university music appreciation students and their teachers, and its interactive learning tools offer a unique and in-depth online learning experience. The redesigned site includes all of the groundbreaking and acclaimed interactives and content of the existing KeepingScore.org website, with the material on composers Beethoven, Stravinsky, Copland and Tchaikovsky integrated in a new and more user-friendly way. The revamped site also includes a new historical timeline that takes users deeper into the seven individual composers’ political, social, and cultural milieus as well as downloadable lesson plans created by teachers who’ve experienced the Keeping Score Education program. The new material on http://www.keepingscore.org/ will launch in June 2009.

Keeping Score’s new radio series debuts next winter with thirteen episodes revealing thirteen musical revolutions: composers, compositions or musical movements that changed the way people heard, or thought about, music. Each program will explore the historical backdrop and musical precursors to the revolutionary change, as well as examine the aftershock and the lasting influence of that moment in music history. Host Suzanne Vega returns to join Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, collaborators on the Peabody Award-winning The MTT Files and American Mavericks radio programs, some of the most listened-to classical music programs of all time.

Designed to help students learn through the arts, the Keeping Score Education program builds on the themes and concepts from the Keeping Score television series. The model program offers K-12 teachers training, materials, and support to integrate classical music into their classrooms, including core subjects such as science, math, English, history and social studies. Participating teachers from partner school districts receive training by San Francisco Symphony musicians, educational staff and a variety of arts educators. The Keeping Score Education program is expanding this season to include San Francisco Unified School District middle and high school teachers, in addition to existing partner sites in Fresno , Sonoma and Santa Clara counties; Flagstaff , Arizona ; and the Oklahoma A+ Network statewide program. An integral part of the program is the annual Keeping Score Summer Teacher Institute, this year scheduled for June 17-21, 2009, a multi-faceted professional development experience that builds teachers’ understanding of both music and integrated curriculum design. The Keeping Score community engagement program aims to further participation in, and exposure to, classical music through distribution of specially prepared Keeping Score materials and partnerships with schools, arts organizations and presentations in community and cultural centers. To learn more about the Keeping Score education and community programs, please visit http://www.keepingscore.org/education.

Keeping Score Season 2 will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray High Definition formats through SFS Media, the San Francisco Symphony’s own label. Each of the three DVDs features the documentary episode coupled with the concert performance of the work, with Michael Tilson Thomas leading the San Francisco Symphony. The concert performances are captured in full HD at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco , with outstanding production values. The San Francisco Symphony is the first orchestra to distribute its product on Blu-Ray disc. DVD sales begin this fall at the San Francisco Symphony’s online store at http://www.shopsfsymphony.org/ and retail outlets worldwide. After the fall 2009 broadcast, PBS will release Keeping Score Season 2 through its digital distribution channels, including iTunes, Zune, and others. Keeping Score Season 1 will be available on download-to-own channels in the fall shortly before Keeping Score Season 2 premieres on PBS in October.

Lead funding for Keeping Score is provided by the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund with generous support from Nan Tucker McEvoy, The James Irvine Foundation, Marcia and John Goldman, Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, William and Gretchen Kimball Fund, Lisa and John Pritzker, Mrs. Alfred S. Wilsey, Koret Foundation Funds, Lynn and Tom Kiley, Anita and Ronald Wornick, Roselyne Chroman Swig, the Acacia Foundation, Margaret Liu Collins and Edward B. Collins, The Bernard Osher Foundation, Mary C. Falvey, Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Jeffrey P. Hays, David and Janyce Hoyt, and others.

About The San Francisco Symphony
Founded in 1911, the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) has a long and distinguished history marked by artistic excellence, educational initiatives, acclaimed recordings and multimedia projects, and innovative programming. Beginning their fifteenth season together this fall, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS have formed a musical partnership hailed for its revitalization of the classical music experience. The first Orchestra to feature national symphonic radio broadcasts in 1926, the SFS remains a leader in the field of electronic media with endeavors such as the Grammy Award-winning Mahler recording cycle for the Orchestra’s own SFS Media label on SACD, Minnesota Public Radio’s Peabody Award-winning American Mavericks and The MTT Files radio series, and the Emmy Award-winning PBS/KQED Public Television production of the SFS' Sweeney Todd in Concert. The Orchestra’s commitment to education and its community, begun in 1919 with the development of Concerts for Kids, is today recognized nationally and internationally for programs including Adventures in Music, the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Music for Families, and www.sfskids.com. For additional information, please visit http://www.sfsymphony.org/.

About KQED
KQED is a service of Northern California Public Broadcasting, Inc. (NCPB). KQED Public Television, the nation’s most-watched public television station, is the producer of local and national series such as QUEST; Check, Please! Bay Area; Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way; and Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures. KQED’s digital television channels include 9HD, Life, World, Kids and V-me, and are available 24/7 on Comcast. KQED Public Radio (88.5 FM in San Francisco and 89.3 FM in Sacramento), home of Forum with Michael Krasny and The California Report, is the most-listened-to public radio station in the nation with an award-winning news and public affairs program service. KQED Education Network brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents and the general public through workshops, community screenings and multimedia resources. KQED Interactive offers video and audio podcasts and live radio stream at www.kqed.org, featuring unique content on one of the most-visited station sites in public broadcasting.


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