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Nu? Is This 2nd Ave.? No, It's Lincoln Center
By Anthony Tommasini
In everything he does, from conducting the San Francisco Symphony to spearheading that orchestra's multimedia educational project 'Keeping Score,' Michael Tilson Thomas brings thorough musicianship sparked with theatrical flair. On Tuesday night an audience that packed Avery Fisher Hall learned about the roots of Mr. Thomas's theatrical instincts when the New York Philharmonic presented 'The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater,' directed by Patricia Birch, in the first of two performances.
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Conductor's homage to his Yiddish forebears
By David Patrick Stearns
Few family scrapbooks cut as deep into the American consciousness as that of Michael Tilson Thomas, known to the world as the esteemed conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, but increasingly identified by his grandfather's surname thanks to The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater, performed Tuesday with film, photos, songs, and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center.
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New York Stage: The Thomashefsky Project
By Alicia Zuckerman
As the music director of the San Francisco Symphony for the past ten years, Michael Tilson Thomas hasn't done too badly for himself. His grandparents, though, Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky, they were really something. They had "hyperstardom."
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A Yiddish tribute. What's not to like?
By Kenneth Turan
To say that Michael Tilson Thomas, the celebrated conductor and music director of the San Francisco Symphony, comes from a Yiddish theater family is like saying Caroline Kennedy has a background in politics. That's not the half of it.
Though you wouldn't guess it from his patrician-sounding name, which obscures it as deftly as Joseph Conrad hid Jozef Korzeniowski, Tilson Thomas is the grandson of Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky, the patriarch and matriarch of American Yiddish theater, figures of towering talent and ambition with ego and temperament to match.
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A maestro revives an era, with his grandparents as his guide
By Steven Winn
The aim of the Yiddish theater, according to Michael Tilson Thomas, was "the entertainment, education and elevation" of its audience. The resourcefully churning engine that made those lofty goals possible was improvisation. If the music gave out before an actor made an entrance, Thomas confides early on in "The Thomashefskys," his delectable tribute to this bygone art form and way of life, the orchestra was expected to "fake something charming."