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For Michael Tilson Thomas, the grandeur of music answers a grim diagnosis

 In Conductors

Nobody knows the now like Michael Tilson Thomas. The acclaimed conductor and composer, 12-time Grammy winner and Kennedy Center honoree, 77, also has an aptitude for the idiomatic. “Being a conductor,” he’s noted, “means you’re trying to get a lot of people to agree where ‘now’ is.”

As conductors go, MTT — as he’s commonly known — has an expanded sense of the now: as a conductor who has led orchestras around the globe and through storied posts in San Francisco, London and Miami; as a composer with a wide-ranging appetite for American musical traditions; as an advocate for new music and mentor to thousands of young orchestral players; and as an artist able to pair a panoramic understanding of music with a microscopic delight in the details.

Over the past year, Thomas’s close relationship with the now intensified even further. Last week, the conductor issued a statement providing additional details about his ongoing treatment for the “stealthy adversary” of glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive type of brain cancer.

In August, Thomas withdrew from a slate of scheduled performances, revealing in a statement that he’d undergone emergency surgery and chemotherapy treatment. In his most recent statement, Thomas noted that “recurrence is, unfortunately, the rule rather than the exception.” —Michael Andor Brodeur

Click here to read complete article in The Washington Post

Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Composer, conductor and multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey leads a rehearsal of his Monochromatic Light (Afterlife) at the Rothko Chapel in Houston on Feb. 18. Scott Dalton/DACAMERAA tape library at KPFA
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