As a new century dawns, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony continue charting the bold new course on which they had set out five years prior. Having established their position as a leader in innovation through enterprises such as the wildly successful American Mavericks festival, MTT and the Symphony still have plenty to say about our country’s musical guideposts. Case in point: the beautiful recording Aaron Copland: The Populist (2000), a portrait of MTT’s friend and mentor, Aaron Copland.
MTT’s friendship with Aaron Copland—the “Dean of American Composers”—was the catalyst for many MTT–San Francisco Symphony projects over the years, beginning with a pair of splendid recordings: Aaron Copland: The Modernist (1996) and The Populist (2000), later released as the comprehensive set, Aaron Copland—The Essence of America (2000). Copland’s confident balance of seemingly opposing sensibilities had a great effect on MTT’s own mode of communication: “[Copland] wanted the music to evoke the actual experience of life. I think that’s why, after all the styles have come and gone, his music still has its essential quality.”
The SFS tours Europe with pianists Martha Argerich and Hélène Grimaud, August–September 2000.
London, England, Royal Albert Hall
Baden-Baden, Germany, Festspielhaus
Lucerne, Switzerland, Kultur und Kongresszentrum
Turin, Italy, Il Ling Otto
Cologne, Germany, Philharmonie
Düsseldorf, Germany, Tonhalle
Hannover, Germany, Kuppelsaal
Braunschweig, Germany, Stadthalle
Luxembourg, Conservatoire de Luxembourg
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Concertgebouw
Frankfurt, Germany, Alte Oper
The Proms, London’s annual summer festival at the Royal Albert Hall, is surely one of the most distinctive spectacles the classical circuit has to offer, a wondrous blend of extreme connoisseurship and unabashed populism. And Wednesday’s concert—which marked both the Symphony’s Proms debut and the opening night of the orchestra’s 13-concert, 11-city European tour—was a thrilling occasion in every way. It was also broadcast live on the BBC.
It gave British audiences, already accustomed to the point of satiety to hearing the world’s finest orchestras, a savory taste of the sort of magic that Thomas and the Symphony have been working together in Davies Symphony Hall these past few years.”
The February 2001 National Tour was sponsored by Charles Schwab.
New York, NY, Carnegie Hall
Greenvale, NY, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts
Washington DC, Kennedy Center Concert Hall