Michael Tilson Thomas featured in two PBS Great Performances on March 29 & 30

CONDUCTOR MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS FEATURED IN TWO
PBS GREAT PERFORMANCES BROADCASTS TO AIR NATIONALLY ON MARCH 29 & 30

Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT), Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony and Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, will be featured in two new Great Performances presentations in March to be broadcast nationally on PBS. Both programs are productions of THIRTEEN for WNET , one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.

On Thursday, March 29 Great Performances will present The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater at 8:00PM (check local listings). Recorded in April 2011 at the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center in Miami Beach , the performance of The Thomashefskys is written and hosted by Michael Tilson Thomas and stars Judy Blazer as Bessie Thomashefsky and Shuler Hensley as Boris Thomashefsky. It also features Ronit Widmann-Levy and Eugene Brancoveanu and the New World Symphony, and is directed for television by Gary Halvorson.

Following the national broadcast on PBS Great Performances on March 29, The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater will be released on DVD by New Video (newvideo.com) on April 24 with extras including additional music performances, an interview with MTT about the Thomashefskys and a feature on the New World Symphony, America's Orchestra Academy. The New World Symphony was founded in 1987 by Michael Tilson Thomas and Ted Arison, and has launched the careers of over 800 musicians. Pre-orders for the DVD are currently being accepted at Amazon.com and at the San Francisco Symphony e-store at sfsymphony.org/store and will be shipped immediately following the April 24 release date. The program will also be available for digital download from iTunes, and for sale on the New World Symphony website at nws.edu/shop.

In September, the San Francisco Symphony and MTT launched the Orchestra’s milestone Centennial Season with a celebratory gala concert dubbed “Fanfare for a New Century” at Davies Symphony Hall. The gala concert will be presented as a two-hour special, San Francisco Symphony at 100, by Great Performances on PBS on Friday, March 30 at 9PM (check local listings). The broadcast is hosted by Bay Area author Amy Tan and directed for television by Gary Halvorson and features MTT conducting the Orchestra and two of the leading artists of our time, violinist Itzhak Perlman performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor and pianist Lang Lang performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major. The concert opens with Aaron Copland’s vivid portrayal of American prairie life, the Billy the Kid Ballet Suite and concludes with Britten’s orchestral showpiece The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra of which the San Francisco Chronicle said: “…as Thomas led his colleagues, section by section and soloist by soloist… the listener could only marvel at the level of individual excellence and communal artistry on display.” Capping off the concert is an encore of Bay Area composer John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine featuring moving images of San Francisco projected throughout Davies Symphony Hall. (An audio recording of this performance of Short Ride in a Fast Machine, a work commissioned by MTT in 1986, will also be available on an upcoming all-John Adams recording on the Orchestra’s own SFS Media label along with their 2010 performance of Adams’ Harmonielehre, a work SFS commissioned and premiered in 1985. The recording will be available on March 13, with a special pre-release on iTunes and in the San Francisco Symphony store in Davies Symphony Hall beginning on February 15, the composer’s birthday.)

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