Michael Tilson Thomas takes home another Grammy for his vocal works


Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphonys music director laureate, won a Grammy on Sunday, March 14, in the best classical compendium category for an album containing two of his vocal compositions. From the Diary of Anne Frank, and Meditations on Rilke. . The works, released on the SFS Media label, feature vocal contributions from mezzo-sopranos Isabel Leonard and Sasha Cooke, and bass-baritone Ryan McKinny. The Anne Frank piece, one of Thomas earliest published compositions, features a speaking narrator and was originally written for actress Audrey Hepburn. . . It was supposed to have its local premiere in 1993, after Thomas had been named as music director but before hed begun his tenure. Those programs were canceled because of a strike by the orchestra musicians, and the piece wasnt heard until 2018. . . Meditations had its world premiere in Davies Symphony Hall in January 2020. . . This marks the orchestras 16th Grammy, and the ninth since the in-house label SFS Media was started in 2001. . . Thomas and the Symphonys recording of Coplands Third Symphony was also nominated for best orchestral performance, but lost out to Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonics release of the complete Ives symphonies. . The Grammy for best classical vocal solo album went to the world premiere recording of Dame Ethel Smyths 1930 symphonic oratorio The Prison, the latest stage in the rediscovery of that underrated composers work. That album, conducted by James Blachly, features soprano Sarah Brailey and bass-baritone Dashon Burton with the Experiential Orchestra and Chorus. . .

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