Michael Tilson Thomas, the Los Angeles-born conductor who served as musical director of the San Francisco Symphony for 25 years, is recovering from a successful operation to remove a brain tumor, his representative said on Friday.
Tilson Thomas has had surgery on an undisclosed date and will be in therapy for several months. The conductor’s previously scheduled public appearances will be canceled until November, including performances with the National Symphony Orchestra for the Kennedy Center’s 50th anniversary and with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony in Miami Beach and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
“I deeply regret that I missed projects that I had high expectations for,” Tilson Thomas said in a statement. âI can’t wait to see everyone again in November.
Tilson Thomas, affectionately known as MTT, maintained a deep connection to the West Coast, serving seven times as Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival, while serving as Deputy Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and later in as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1981 to 1985, he was the Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Two years later, he founded the New World Symphony orchestral academy.
A gifted pianist known for his exuberant compositions and dynamic interpretations of Gustav Mahler, Tilson Thomas became the 11th Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony in 1995. He stepped down from that post after the 2019-2020 season and was named award-winning Music Director of the organization.