About the Performers

Joe Sinnott-Thirteen/WNET New York

Joe Sinnott-Thirteen/WNET New York

Michael Tilson Thomas

MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS made his conducting debut with the San Francisco Symphony in 1974 and was appointed its Music Director in September 1995. A Los Angeles native, he studied piano with John Crown and composition and conducting with Ingolf Dahl at the University of Southern California and has worked with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, and Copland on premieres of their compositions. In 1969, at the age of 24, he won the Koussevitzky Prize and was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Ten days later he came to international recognition, replacing Music Director William Steinberg in mid-concert at Lincoln Center. Until 2000, he was co-Artistic Director of the Pacific Music Festival, which he and Leonard Bernstein inaugurated in Sapporo, Japan, in 1990, and he continues to serve as Artistic Director of the New World Symphony, which he founded in 1987. On television, he has been featured with the San Francisco Symphony on GREAT PERFORMANCES, in a series with the London Symphony Orchestra for the BBC, and in PBS documentaries with the New World Symphony, among others. In June 2004, he and the San Francisco Symphony launched Keeping Score: MTT on Music on PBS. Carnegie Hall presented Michael Tilson Thomas in its Perspectives series for two consecutive seasons in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

Dawn Upshaw

DAWN UPSHAW – whose first performance in Carnegie Hall was as a chorus member under Bernstein’s baton in Mahler’s Second Symphony when she was in graduate school – has achieved worldwide renown as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. At Carnegie Hall this season, she will co-lead a workshop for young singers and composers with Osvaldo Golijov, perform with Ensemble ACJW in Zankel Hall, and reprise her role as Margarita Xirgu in a concert performance of Golijov’s opera Ainadamar with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She has championed numerous new works created for her, including The Great Gatsby by John Harbison, L’amour de loin by Kaija Saariaho, John Adams’s nativity oratorio El Niño, and Golijov’s Ainadamar and song cycle Ayre. A four-time Grammy Award winner, she has recorded several of Bernstein’s music theater songs for Nonesuch Records, as well as “What a Movie!” on her American opera aria collection “The World So Wide”. The Artistic Partner of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, she is a member of the faculty at the Tanglewood Music Center and is Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts Program at Bard College Conservatory of Music. In 2007 she received a MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as a “genius grant.”

Christine Ebersole

CHRISTINE EBERSOLE won a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Obie Award, special citation from the New York Drama Critics Circle, and the Drama League’s 2006 Distinguished Performance of the Year Award for her dual performance in Grey Gardens. Her other Broadway credits include Steel Magnolias, Dinner at Eight (Tony and Outer Critics Circle nominations), 42nd Street (Tony and Outer Critics Circle awards), The Best Man, Getting Away With Murder, Harrigan ‘n’ Hart, Camelot (with Richard Burton), Oklahoma!, On the Twentieth Century, I Love My Wife, and Angel Street. Off Broadway credits include Talking Heads (Obie and Outer Critics Circle awards) and four productions for New York City Center’s Encores! Her many film and television appearances include Tootsie, Amadeus, Saturday Night Live, and Will & Grace.

Thomas Hampson

American baritone THOMAS HAMPSON enjoys a wide-ranging career as a singer of lieder, operas, oratorios, and works for voice and orchestra. His first performance in Carnegie Hall’s main auditorium was singing Mahler’s “Songs of a Wayfarer” and Rückert-Lieder in a 1990 concert with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein – one of a trio of programs that were to be Bernstein’s last at the Hall. His encounter with Bernstein had a strong impact on his life and career and led the way to his becoming one of today’s leading interpreters of the music of Mahler. He recently recorded Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, released in September as part of the orchestra’s Mahler recording project on its SFS Media Label. As an active proponent of the study of American song, he collaborates on song projects with academic and cultural partners through his foundation, Hampsong.org, to promote the art of song in intercultural understanding. His “Song of America” tour, first presented with the Library of Congress in 2006-06, will be expanded during the 2009-10 season. In 2007 he was named Special Advisor to the Library of Congress for Education and the Legacy of the Performing Arts.

Yo-Yo Ma

The many-faceted career of cellist YO-YO MA is testament to both his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences and his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. Whether performing a new concerto, revisiting a familiar work from the cello repertoire, coming together with colleagues for chamber music, or exploring musical forms outside of the Western classical tradition, he strives to find connections that stimulate the imagination. One of his goals is the exploration of music as a means of communication, and as a vehicle for the migrations of ideas across a range of cultures throughout the world. Expanding upon this interest, he established the Silk Road Project to promote the study of the cultural, artistic, and intellectual traditions along the ancient Silk Road trade route that stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Pacific Ocean.

San Francisco Symphony

The SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY is considered to be a leading presence among American orchestras and maintains an active touring program, with award winning recordings and innovative broadcast and education projects. The orchestra appears regularly in Europe, Asia, and cities in the US, including annual performances at Carnegie Hall. Its commitment to music education has resulted in the groundbreaking television, radio, and multimedia project Keeping Score; a nationally syndicated radio series on avant-garde American composers entitled American Mavericks; an award-winning children’s website, sfskids.com; and Adventures in Music, a nationally acclaimed in-school music education program for San Francisco schools.