2009 National Medal of Arts recipient and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas receives his medal from President Barack Obama at an East Room ceremony at the White House on February 25, 2010. The National Medal of Arts is a presidential initiative managed by the National Endowment for the Arts and is the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence. Photo by Richard Frasier

Michael Tilson Thomas

Conductor

Bio

Michael Tilson Thomas is a conductor, pianist, and composer. He is currently music director of the San Francisco Symphony and founder and artistic director of the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy. Over his career, Tilson Thomas enlivened the classical music field by performing works by such avant-garde artists as John Cage and Lou Harrison alongside the classics of Beethoven and Brahms. He is well known as a passionate advocate of music education and the use of new technologies. He has won ten Grammys Awards for his recordings including two in 2010.

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