Michael Tilson Thomas will step down as music director of the San Francisco Symphony at the end of the 2019-20 season, marking the end of the longest and arguably most significant chapter in the orchestra’s 106-year history.

Since taking up the position of music director in 1995, Thomas has overseen a remarkable transformation that has vaulted the San Francisco Symphony to a central position among the top orchestras of the United States and given it a distinctive profile on the international stage.

The move, announced to the orchestra on Tuesday, Oct. 31, is scheduled to coincide with both the end of Thomas’ 25th season at the organization’s helm and his 75th birthday in December 2019. He will remain with the Symphony in the newly created post of music director laureate, conducting at least four weeks each year and undertaking a variety of special programming projects.

“I guess part of my decision was just a matter of thinking in round numbers,” Thomas said in a phone interview. “I’ve been very pleased to see the development of the music making in the orchestra, and particularly the amazing quality of the new members coming in. So I’m taking this step with a lot of confidence in my colleagues, and a sense of satisfaction at the direction of this journey we’ve taken together.

“But in the big picture of my personal life, I’m looking forward to having less responsibility, and more time to devote to other projects — even ones not necessarily having to do with music.”

RTWT

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *