Keeping Score: Mahler on WXXI-TV

Keeping Score: Mahler on WXXI-TV

Sun, 07/03/2011 - 12:00pm

Pictured: Michael Tilson Thomas, music director, conducts a performance that includes the San Francisco Chorus and San Francisco Symphony.

Credit: Courtesy of San Francisco Symphony

WXXI is pleased to bring audiences Keeping Score: Mahler, a multi-media project focuses on the life and music of Gustav Mahler presented by the San Francisco Symphony and music director Michael Tilson Thomas.

This year marks the centenary of both the death of Mahler and the birth of the San Francisco Symphony, and the Keeping Score project focuses on the enigmatic composer with two one-hour, documentary-style episodes, two live-performance programs, a 13-part national radio series, and new online Mahler-related content at

The project kicks off with Mahler: Origins, airing Sunday, July 3 at 12 p.m.on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11). Michael Tilson Thomas journeys to rural Bohemia to rediscover the inspirations of Gustav Mahler’s music, and traces Mahler’s life through the premiere of his first symphony in 1888. Immediately following at at 1 p.m. WXXI-TV/HD presents the live-performance program Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in Concert. Taped as part of the Mahler Festival in Davies Symphony Hall in 2009, Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony perform Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1, Titan.

The second episode, Mahler: Legacy, airing Sunday, July 10 at 12 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD, examines Mahler's creative growth, from the 1890s to his death at the age of 51 on May 18, 1911, including his symphonies, the Rückert songs and Das Lied von der Erde. Immediately following at at 1 p.m. WXXI-TV/HD presents the live-performance program, Keeping Score: A Mahler Journey. World-renowned baritone Thomas Hampson, a noted interpreter of Mahler’s songs, is featured performing Songs of a Wayfarer. The program also includes Mahler’s famous and poignant love song, Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, the Scherzo from Symphony No. 7 in E minor and the Rondo Burleske from Symphony No. 9 in D major.    The program was taped as part of the SFS’s Mahler Festival in Davies Symphony Hall in September and October of 2009.

The documentaries, and live-performance programs are followed by a 13-part radio series, Keeping Score: 13 Days When Music Changed Forever, beginning Sunday, July 17 at 1 p.m. on Classical 91.5/FM-HD 91.5-1. The series explores the historical backdrop and the musical precursors to the revolutionary change, as well as examines the aftershock and the lasting influence of that moment in music history. Hosted by Suzanne Vega, the programs feature interviews by Tilson Thomas, as well as composers, musicologists, writers, and musicians.

“Gustav Mahler was a visionary musician,” said Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony.  “In his compositions he made reference to many styles, building his huge symphonies from materials abstracted from songs, dances and marches from many cultures. His symphonies, or worlds, as he called them – represent the many ways that people make music and why they make music.  In Keeping Score: Mahler, we walk in his footsteps, visit the places and sounds that influenced his life.”
Unlike any other orchestra initiative in scope or complexity, the national Keeping Score program provides innovative, thought-provoking classical music content via integrated multimedia including public television, public radio, and interactive web content at, and materials, training, and lesson plans for teachers using Keeping Score content and media.