Press release: Michael Tilson Thomas withdraws from all engagements from 17 June until 3 September

Michael Tilson Thomas and Music Academy of the West today released the news below.

We wish MTT well in his recovery and look forward to seeing him back in London in November when we wil celebrate 50 years of making music together. A big thank you to Daniel Harding for stepping into our concerts at Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara this summer.


Michael Tilson Thomas announced today that he is withdrawing from all engagements beginning June 17 until September 3 in order to undergo a cardiac procedure. The operation, which will take place in Cleveland, is scheduled to follow his performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 with the San Francisco Symphony on June 13, 14, 15, and 16.

“I deeply regret missing concerts and projects that I have been greatly anticipating,” said Tilson Thomas. “On the advice of my doctors, I need to undergo this procedure at this time in continuation of treatment for a heart condition I have managed for many years. I expect to make a full recovery in time to return to the San Francisco Symphony for the opening of my 25th season as Music Director.”

Previously scheduled engagements from which Tilson Thomas is withdrawing are performances with the San Francisco Symphony and appearances at the Music Academy of the West, including concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra.

At Music Academy of the West, performances with the London Symphony Orchestra will instead be conducted by Daniel Harding, Music Director of Orchestre de Paris and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the LSO from 2007–2017. Programs will remain as originally scheduled:

Saturday, July 13
Granada Theatre
London Symphony Orchestra / Daniel Harding
Michael Tilson Thomas: Agnegram
Beethoven: Violin Concerto (with James Ehnes, violin)
Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra

Sunday, July 14
Santa Barbara Bowl
London Symphony Orchestra and Academy Festival Orchestra / Daniel Harding
Berlioz: Roman Carnival Overture
Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4

The Academy Chamber Orchestra concert on July 20 will be conducted by Thomas Adès, a regular visitor to Music Academy of the West, where he is a former Mosher Guest Artist. A creative partner of the LSO, Adès has appeared with the orchestra regularly since 2006. His orchestral work Asyla was one of those conducted by Sir Simon Rattle in the latter’s inaugural concert as Music Director of the LSO in September 2017.

Saturday, July 20
Lobero Theatre
Academy Chamber Orchestra / Thomas Adès
Thomas Adès: The Origin of the Harp
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G (with Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano)
Stravinsky: Pulcinella (with Music Academy of the West 2019 vocal fellows: Sun-Ly Pierce, mezzo-soprano; Ryan Hurley, tenor; Samuel Kidd, baritone)

Music Academy of the West sends warmest wishes to Michael Tilson Thomas for a complete recovery, and looks forward to welcoming him back to Santa Barbara in 2020 and 2021.