It's old home week for USC Thornton School alumnus Michael Tilson Thomas, who returns to his alma mater this week for a down-memory-lane tribute. Michael Tilson Thomas at USC features the world-renowned conductor/composer/pianist/music historian/TV host and just about everything else leading the USC Thornton Orchestra in Tchaikovsky's rousing Symphony No. 4 (for a preview, you can catch him on YouTube conducting the San Francisco Symphony in the heroic, ebullient fourth movement) and a multimedia presentation chronicling his happy days at the university and around L.A. with some of his mentors, among whom were Ingolf Dahl, Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Aaron Copland, to name a handful of minor personalities. The concert, part of the Thornton School's yearlong 125th anniversary celebration, also includes reminiscences by “MTT,” as he's affectionately known, about what it was like to be a student at USC during the radical ‘60s, embellished with musical selections he'll conduct with the orchestra. If you've ever watched MTT in action on, say, PBS's Keeping Score, you know you're in for a treat, ‘cause there's nobody quite as accomplished — with the possible exception of Robert Kapilow — at getting an audience fired up about music.

Mon., Oct. 5, 7 p.m., 2009

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