American Masters – Michael Tilson Thomas: Where Now Is

American Masters – Michael Tilson Thomas: Where Now Is

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm

Pictured: Micahel with Leonard Bernstein.

Credit: Courtesy of Heinz Weissenstein/Whitestone Photo

American Masters raises the curtain on the extraordinary life and career of the renowned conductor and classical music innovator.

Michael Tilson Thomas was considered the great young hope of American classical music, becoming a star overnight and gaining international recognition in 1969 when he stepped in mid-concert for ailing Boston Symphony conductor William Steinberg. The young conductor was well-poised to follow in the footsteps of his orchestral forebears. Instead, the freespirited Tilson Thomas—also a composer and pianist—forged his own path to become an 11-time Grammy-winning artist, National Medal of Arts recipient and Kennedy Center Honoree. Throughout his illustrious career, he has stretched the boundaries of classical music and championed the works of American composers with orchestras in the U.S. and around the world. American Masters – Michael Tilson Thomas: Where Now Is premieres Friday, October 23 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV. The 2020–21 concert season marks his first year as Music Director Laureate of the San Francisco Symphony, with which he concluded his 25-year tenure as Music Director in June 2020.

The documentary follows Tilson Thomas from his childhood in California to the world stage and his leadership roles with the San Francisco Symphony and New World Symphony. The film features original interviews with Tilson Thomas and classical music luminaries, including composer Steve Reich; Los Angeles Philharmonic CEO Chad Smith; pianist Ralph Grierson; Boston Symphony Orchestra CEO Mark Volpe; San Francisco Chronicle music critic Joshua Kosman; the BBC’s former head of music and arts Humphrey Burton; and Clive Gillinson, executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, as well as commentary from architect Frank Gehry, who babysat Tilson Thomas when he was a boy and built the New World Center, and Joshua Robison, Tilson Thomas’s husband and manager. American Masters – Michael Tilson Thomas: Where Now Is also incorporates concert footage from his youth through the present, performing with the San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra, among others.