Famed Conductor, Citing Brain Tumor, Withdraws From Concerts

NYT Music

The renowned conductor Michael Tilson Thomas announced on Friday that he would withdraw from performances for the next several months as he recovers from surgery to treat a brain tumor.

Thomas, 76, the former music director of the San Francisco Symphony, said in a statement that he would take a hiatus through October as he undergoes treatment. He said doctors recently discovered the tumor and advised he have surgery immediately. He described the surgery, which took place at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, as successful.

“I deeply regret missing projects that I was greatly anticipating,” Thomas said in the statement. “I look forward to seeing everyone again in November.”

Thomas, an eminent figure in the music industry known by the nickname M.T.T., stepped down as the San Francisco Symphony’s music director last year. He had held the post since 1995 and was widely credited with transforming the ensemble into one of the best in the nation and championing works by modern American composers.

Thomas said in the statement that he was canceling a starry concert with the National Symphony Orchestra in September to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Center, as well as appearances with the New World Symphony, a training orchestra for young artists in Miami that he helped found; the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, where he was to lead his “Agnegram” alongside works by Beethoven and Copland; and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


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