Charles Ives: The Alcotts (3rd movement) from Piano Sonata No.2 `Concord' arr. Henry Brant for orchestra
John Adams: Absolute Jest
Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique

Michael Tilson Thomas, one of the biggest personalities in American music today, conducts two concerts with the orchestra of which he is Music Director. Under Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony has won 11 Grammy Awards.

The concert opens with an atmospheric piece of Americana, complete with nostalgic hymn tunes and spiced with experimental rhythms and harmonies.

'The Alcotts', an orchestration of a movement from Charles Ives' 'Concord Sonata', was written in tribute to the 19th-century transcendentalist philosophers who lived in the picturesque town of Concord, Massachusetts.

Contemporary master John Adams' high-energy concerto for string quartet and orchestra was written especially for the San Francisco Symphony.

Berlioz's epic romantic symphony depicts a man's opium-inspired visions, including an idealised beloved, demonic dances and a terrifying march to the scaffold.

'One of the world's happy marriages between orchestra and conductor.' (The New York Times)

'Conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, [this concert] pinned one back by the ears. This was nothing to do with brute force; Tilson Thomas doesn't deal in that. It was the cleanness and clearness of everything, as if all the sounds were caught in bright sunlight.' (The Telegraph)

This concert is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 as part of BBC Radio 3 Live at Southbank Centre.

Explore Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique with a leading composer and music educator Fraser Trainer. This practical, fun and interactive session will focus on Berlioz's ode to obsession and help you to delve deeper into this masterpiece.


San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas conductor
St Lawrence String Quartet