SF Personality: Michael Tilson Thomas
Founded as an orchestra for the people just five years after the 1906 earthquake, the San Francisco Symphony has remained one of the city’s cultural treasures for more than a century. Its conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas, has resided in San Francisco for almost two decades. He shares a few thoughts on this magical place in this recent Q&A.
What do you enjoy about living in San Francisco?
I am truly a bicoastal American dividing my time between San Francisco and Miami, not the usual NY and LA. I find it extremely restorative to be near green space, open skies and water. Both of my houses look out over bays.
What person, place or thing captures the essence of San Francisco?
The fog. When I get up in the morning, I always hope it will be a foggy morning. I love the way the fog rolls away, leaving the radiant clarity of a beautiful, sunny day in its wake. I relish the constantly changing weather here in the Bay Area.
What's something every visitor should do?
Definitely visit the Saturday morning farmers market at the Ferry Building. The quality of our local produce is outstanding and the stallholders run out of things fast, so it is best to get there first thing in the morning. Some of my favorite vendors are Farmer Al at Frog Hollow Farm for amazing seasonal fruit; Dirty Girl Produce, purveyors of such an astonishing array of vegetables that I don't know the names of half of them; the Cowgirl Creamery, which has fabulous cheese; and June Taylor, who makes wonderful tangy jams, marmalades and butters using interesting combinations such as rhubarb with lavender.
What's one of your favorite areas in San Francisco?
I like to take my dogs Sheyna and Banda, a standard and a miniature poodle, to the Presidio, a former military post that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The dogs can run around off the leash at Crissy Field, an airfield that has been very successfully restored to a beautiful green area by volunteers. We also enjoy the Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Mason, which dates back to the Civil War.