Michael Tilson Thomas is operated for a brain tumour

Michael Tilson Thomas is operated for a brain tumour


norman lebrecht

August 06, 2021

The former San Francisco and London Symphony conductor has undergone surgery to remove a brain tumor, it was disclosed today.

He will require prolonged and extensive therapy.

MTT, 76, said: ‘I deeply regret missing projects that I was greatly anticipating. I look forward to seeing everyone again in November.’

We wish him a full and swift recovery.


Message from Michael:
Dear friends and music lovers,
I recently returned home from the UCSF Medical Center. After a series of tests, it was diagnosed that I had a brain tumor and that an immediate operation was necessary. The operation was successful. I’m embarking on a course of therapy for the next several months. This means that I must curtail my public appearances through the end of October. I plan to return to the stage in November. I am very fortunate to be cared for by the excellent team at UCSF and their national and international collaborators.
Thank you for your love and prayers. See you soon!


  • olivia nordstadt says:

    may he make a complete recovery and continue to make his splendid contributions to the musical world

  • Corno di Caccia says:

    I’m very saddened to read this. I’ve always been an admirer of MTT and his conducting and ability as a music educator and demonstrator; a lost art among today’s conductors, it would appear. I would also wish him a full and swift recovery.

  • Rob says:

    Swift recovery MTT.

    His M6 with the WDR is one of the greats!


  • RobK says:

    Get better soon. A marvellous musician.

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    Wishing him a speedy recovery.

  • Karl says:

    He recovered from the heart surgery pretty quickly. I’m sure he will be fine by November. Get well MTT!

  • Rallentando says:

    Optimism is essential here, but with such an operation, expectations for recovery should be held in check: The brain doesn’t like to be tampered with, and can be quite fickle about recovery, in addition to heavy anti-seizure medications which inhibit overall performance.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Not all brain tumors are created equal. Fingers crossed that it will not be an aggressive one, and that Maestro Thomas will have many golden years ahead. He already showed with his early 1970s Tchaikovsky 1st Symphony how good he can be.

  • J Barcelo says:

    Hoping for a full recovery. Brain surgery is no walk in the park as my partner can testify. Hopefully it’s benign. MTT is a treasure too often overlooked. I was just listening to his thrilling Swan Lake yesterday.

  • Jimbo says:

    What is wrong with people doing a as a response to well wishing MTT ?!? Honestly! The utter meanness and lack of humanity on the face of such life threatening treatment.

  • Una says:

    Wish him a complete recovery.

    Here is an interesting interview musicologist, Bruce Duffie, did with him some years ago.


  • Dave says:

    Wishing MTT back to full health soon.

    As for the sad people down-voting on this thread, words fail me.

  • Laird says:

    Speedy Recovery to you!

  • Paul Sekhri says:

    Wishing dear MTT a speedy and full recovery.

  • October!

    It would take me at least until November to get put back together.

    Here’s hoping he makes that goal.

  • TimmyVc says:

    As a musician who has had a brain tumor, I can say depending on the location/size of the tumor, recovery can vary greatly. He seems to be in good health overall, so that gives him a leg up against this tumor. Hope his recovery is swift!

  • Rudiger says:

    Aaand the trolls can’t resist down-voting well-wishers…real bad karma, dipsh*ts…

  • Alexander says:

    Could be a karma? 😉 just my opinion, of course 😉

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    Terrible news. Recovery will take time, I am sure. Wish him all the best. I believe Otto Klemperer also suffered a brain tumor.