Michael Tilson Thomas Steps Down from New World Symphony Due to Medical Condition

By Francisco Salazar

Michael Tilson Thomas is stepping down as Artistic Director of the New World Symphony due to his current medical condition.

In a statement, he said, “I’m taking stock of my life and will be reducing my administrative responsibilities. I have decided that, after 34 years, I will be stepping down as the Artistic Director of the New World Symphony. This organization, which I co-founded with Lin and Ted Arison, has been and will continue to be a vital and ever-growing resource for musicians.”

He added, “I’m proud of what we have accomplished and very proud of our 1,200 alumni. I will soon assume the role of Artistic Director Laureate and will dedicate myself to working with the NWS Fellows and Alumni on adventurous projects that have long been close to my heart.”

In the same statement, the conductor spoke about his diagnosis noting, “I have not publicly discussed my medical diagnosis. I have Glioblastoma Multiforme, a type of aggressive brain cancer. I had an operation to remove what was visible and had radiation and chemotherapy. Currently, the cancer is in check. But the future is uncertain as Glioblastoma is a stealthy adversary. Its recurrence is, unfortunately, the rule rather than the exception.”

To close, the conductor said he intended to stick around and would continue making music.

Back in August, Tilson Thomas had surgery for a brain tumor which forced him to cancel many engagements. However, he returned to the stage in November and as he noted conducted 20 concerts.

Here is the entire statement.