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Michael Tilson Thomas

Conductors are performers.

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Being an American musician means being adventurous.

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Extreme volume in music very often disguises a lack of actually important content.

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I can't do pieces I only admire technically. I have to feel some direct contact with them.

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Being a conductor is kind of a hybrid profession because most fundamentally, it is being someone who is a coach, a trainer, an editor, a director.

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But still as compared to many, many orchestras in the world, I think you find a lot more new music and living composers on our programs than many other places.

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But those musics do not address the larger kind of architecture in time that classical music does, whatever each one of us knows that classical music must mean.

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They are representations of many shared hours of collaboration between us all. That's the real nature of the relationship the orchestra and I are trying to build.

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When I first was conducting as guest conductor in Europe 25 years ago, I would propose doing American pieces and grudgingly it would be accepted from time to time.

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I think music needs to be presented in a way so that kids can grasp songs, dances, simple music that's associated with some particular defining moment in human experience.

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