Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francico Symphony Release Mahler's Symphony No. 8 on CD

Includes Adagio from Symphony No. 10 Available August 25, 2009

iTunes to offer exclusive pre-release digital download beginning August 11

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 29, 2009 – Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will release their recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and the Adagio from Mahler’s unfinished Symphony No. 10 on hybrid SACD August 25, 2009. This recording is the final album of symphonies to be released as part of the SFS’s Grammy-winning Mahler recording project for its own label, SFS Media. A future album of Mahler’s works for voice and orchestra will complete the project in 2010. Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in E flat major, Symphony of a Thousand, was recorded live in Davies Symphony Hall November 19, 21, 22 and 23, 2008 and features performances by sopranos Erin Wall, Elza van den Heever, and Laura Claycomb; mezzo-sopranos Katarina Karnéus and Yvonne Naef; tenor Anthony Dean Griffey; baritone Quinn Kelsey; and bass-baritone James Morris. The San Francisco Symphony Chorus under the direction of Ragnar Bohlin is featured on the recording as well as the San Francisco Girls Chorus and the Pacific Boychoir. The Adagio from Symphony No. 10 which opens this two-disc set was recorded April 6-8, 2006.

Beginning on August 11 Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and Adagio from Symphony No. 10 will be available as an exclusive pre-release download from the Apple iTunes Music Store worldwide. iTunes purchases of the album in North America will include a bonus video, “A Universe of Sound: Recording Mahler's Symphony No. 8” with behind the scenes footage and insights. The San Francisco Symphony’s e-store is currently accepting pre-sale orders for the 2-disc set at shopsfsymphony.org and on August 25 the recording will become available at the Symphony Store in Davies Symphony Hall, with new expanded daily hours from 11-4 Monday through Friday, and from all other retailers.

The release of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and the Adagio from Symphony No. 10 coincides with MTT and the San Francisco Symphony’s three-week Mahler Festival at Davies Symphony Hall from September 16-October 3, 2009. During the festival the Orchestra will perform Mahler’s Rückert Lieder with mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and Songs of a Wayfarer (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen) performed by baritone Thomas Hampson both to be recorded for future release on SFS Media. Other works to be performed during the festival will be Mahler’s Symphonies No. 1 and 5, Scelsi’s Hymnos, selections from Symphonies 3, 5 and 9, and the Scherzo from Hans Rott’s Symphony in E major.

Portions of the 2009 Mahler Festival performances will be filmed for the third season of the San Francisco Symphony’s PBS television series Keeping Score™. 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. 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. To date, nearly five million people in the U.S. have seen the Keeping Score television series, with international broadcasts across Europe and Asia.

Michael Tilson Thomas has distinguished himself as one of the world’s foremost Mahler interpreters, and through his signature performances, as one of the composer’s most compelling advocates. In 1974, at the age of 29, he made his SFS debut conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 9. Now entering his fifteenth season as Music Director, he and the SFS have formed an orchestral partnership acclaimed for their interpretations of the music of Mahler as well as for innovation and artistic excellence.

Since the Mahler recording project began in 2001, the San Francisco Symphony has recorded all of the Mahler symphonies, the Adagio from the unfinished Tenth Symphony, Kindertotenlieder and Das Lied von der Erde and released a re-mastered recording of Das klagende Lied. Additional works still to be released include Mahler’s Rückert Lieder, Songs Of A Wayfarer (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen) and Des Knaben Wunderhorn.

The SFS’s Mahler recording series has sold over 130,000 albums to date and has been recognized with four Grammy Awards: Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance for Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 in 2006, Best Classical Album for Symphony No. 3 and Kindertotenlieder in 2003, and Best Orchestral Performance for Symphony No. 6 in 2002. The MTT/SFS recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with soprano Laura Claycomb received a Best Surround Sound Album Grammy nomination in 2004. All of the new Mahler recordings on SFS Media have entered the top ten of the Billboard Classical Chart.

The MTT/SFS partnership has also been recognized with numerous international recording honors over the years. Their exploration of the visionary American composer Charles Ives, captured on a recording entitled Charles Ives, An American Journey won an ECHO Klassik (formerly known as the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis) award in Germany . Michael Tilson Thomas was named Gramophone Artist of the Year for 2005, partly in recognition of the SFS Media Mahler recording series. The Gramophone Award, considered by many to be the most important in the classical music industry, is given each year to the musician who has made the greatest contribution to classical music.

SFS Media 821936-0021-2
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
San Francisco Symphony
Symphony No. 8
Recorded live in concert November 19, 21, 22 and 23, 2008 in Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, California
Adagio from Symphony No. recorded live in concert April 6-8, 2006 in Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco , California

Release Dates: August 25, 2009 in stores and from digital retailers, August 11, 2009 available for pre-release by download exclusively from Apple’s iTunes Music Store.


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