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Interview: Michael Tilson Thomas on Ives, Adams and Berlioz

A piece of music that ardently and honestly expresses the very best of what not only American music but the American spirit itself can be
– Michael Tilson-Thomas on Ives’ A Concord Symphony

This March, theSan Francisco Symphonyreturn to Symphony Hall for the first time in 19 years, with their Music DirectorMichael Tilson Thomas. In our exclusive interview below, he talks to THSH’s Lyndon Jenkins about the repertoire that the orchestra will be playing in this rare UK performance.

As well as Berlioz’s spectacular Symphonie Fantastique the concert will feature works by two great American composers – John Adams and Charles Ives. Written especially for the San Francisco Symphony, Adams’ Absolute Jest for Orchestra and String Quartet is crafted from fragments of Beethoven works, including his Ninth Symphony, lending this new work an air of familiarity. The Alcotts, a movement from Ives’ A Concord Symphony orchestrated by fellow American Henry Brant, will open the performance on Friday 14 March.

San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas will be performing at Symphony Hall on Friday 14 March, 7.30pm. For more information, and to book tickets, visit the event page here

UPDATE Listen to a short extract from John Adams’ Absolute Jest, performed by the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas and the St Lawrence String Quartet, below…

This concert is part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14