It was supposed to be a big June blowout celebration in honor of the acclaimed 25-year tenure of Michael Tilson Thomas as musical director of the San Francisco Symphony. But as with everything else this season, plans have been curtailed and moved online.
Thomas, better known to fans as MTT, announced his retirement way back in 2017, intending for the 2019-20 season to be his last at the helm of the orchestra. (He pledged to continue on conducting, four weeks a year, in the role of "music director laureate.") He then was out on medical leave all last summer after undergoing heart surgery in June, and in December, he was properly feted at the Kennedy Center as one its five annual honorees — alongside fellow San Franciscan Linda Ronstadt.
Now, as KQED explains, the planned MTT25 festivities have become an "online tribute," which will culminate in a live celebration on the symphony's YouTube channel on June 28, hosted by famed singers Audra McDonald (a six-time Tony winner) and Susan Graham. Other online events appear to be TBA.
Starting today, June 4, local classical station KDFC will be celebrating MTT's career every weekday at 3 p.m. with recordings of his concerts.
"For 25 years, he led the San Francisco Symphony to international renown," KDFC says on its website. "He has left an everlasting stamp on American Classical music."