Ludovic Morlot Announces First Season as Seattle Symphony Music Director

Seattle Symphony Board Chair Leslie Jackson Chihuly and Music Director Designate Ludovic Morlot today announced the 2011–2012 Seattle Symphony Season, marking Morlot's first season as Music Director, and current Music Director Gerard Schwarz's first season as Conductor Laureate.

"I am inspired and thrilled to unveil the first season designed by our next Music Director, Ludovic Morlot," Chihuly stated. "It is a spectacular season full of exciting new repertoire along with treasured favorites. I know that everyone in our community will want to take part in what Seattle Symphony has to offer, from our free Day of Music community event this September, to any number of the magnificent concerts we will present."

"To use an Americanism, I'm champing at the bit," Morlot commented. "I can't wait to make music with my colleagues in this excellent orchestra, have these programs vividly come to life in Benaroya Hall and to share them with the city. My family and I couldn't be more excited about moving here and becoming Seattleites."

Simon Woods, who becomes Seattle Symphony Executive Director in May 2011, said, "Ludovic Morlot's eclectic embrace of an enormous range of musical styles is strongly in evidence in this wonderful season, and will bring something very special to the Seattle region and indeed to American musical life in general. This is a pivotal moment for this dynamic organization, and it is an enormous privilege to be able to work with Ludovic—and of course with Gerard Schwarz in his new role as Conductor Laureate—as  we march into an exciting future together!"

The Opening Night Concert & Gala honoring Morlot's Inaugural Season as Music Director will be held on Saturday, September 17, and will feature former Seattle Symphony Principal Cellist and local favorite Joshua Roman as soloist. Morlot will conduct Beethoven's Consecration of the House Overture, Gulda's Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra, Gershwin's An American in Paris and Ravel's Boléro.

The Masterworks Season is the core of Seattle Symphony's repertoire, and next season nine of its 21 weeks will be conducted by Ludovic Morlot. The series opens with September performances of Frank Zappa's Dupree's Paradise from The Perfect Stranger, Henri Dutilleux's The Tree of Dreams with violinist Renaud Capuçon, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," conducted by Morlot. The series concludes in July when Morlot leads performances of The Planets – An HD Odyssey, featuring state-of-the-art, high-definition images from NASA's exploration of the solar system, originally created by the Houston Symphony. Additional Masterworks Season highlights include Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring; Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust, featuring Seattle Symphony Chorale, Northwest Boychoir and distinguished soloists; Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 with soloist Stephen Hough; Ives' Symphony No. 2; Brahms' Violin Concerto with soloist Jennifer Koh; and Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Marc-André Hamelin.

Also featured next season are composers whose works are new to Seattle Symphony, including Henri Dutilleux, Oliver Knussen and Nico Muhly. Dutilleux's compositions, described by the Los Angeles Times as occupying "a sonic world of [their] own," feature prominently on the Masterworks Season with performances of: The Tree of Dreams with violinist Renaud Capuçon; Cello Concerto, A Whole Remote World, with cellist Xavier Phillips; and Symphony No. 1. His works for small ensemble will also be explored by a number of Seattle Symphony musicians performing on the Chamber Series next season. Oliver Knussen will conduct his own Violin Concerto on the Masterworks Season, with guest violinist Leila Josefowicz. Additionally, Knussen's works will be explored on the Chamber Series. A world premiere by 29-year-old Muhly will be performed during the Masterworks Season, conducted by Ludovic Morlot.

Following 26 years as Music Director, Gerard Schwarz will become Conductor Laureate in the 2011–2012 Season. Schwarz is widely known for leading Seattle Symphony to international prominence by raising the artistic quality of the Orchestra, advocating for the construction of the acoustically excellent Benaroya Hall, generating more than 140 recordings, and garnering 12 Grammy nominations.

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Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff
John J. Puccio, Editor, Publisher, Reviewer

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on the Big Jon and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.
Karl W. Nehring, Contributing Reviewer

For more than 20 years I was the editor of The $ensible Sound magazine and a regular contributor to its classical review pages. I would not presume to present myself as some sort of expert on music, but I have a deep love for and appreciation of many types of music, "classical" especially, and have listened to thousands of recordings over the years, many of which still line the walls of my listening room (and occasionally spill onto the furniture and floor, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering wife). I have always taken the approach as a reviewer that what I am trying to do is simply to point out to readers that I have come across a recording that I have found of interest, a recording that I think they might appreciate my having pointed out to them. I suppose that sounds a bit simpleminded, but I know I appreciate reading reviews by others that do the same for me -- point out recordings that I think I might enjoy.

For readers who might be wondering about what kind of system I am using to do my listening, I should probably point out that I do a LOT of music listening and employ a variety of means to do so in a variety of environments, as I would imagine many music lovers also do. Starting at the more grandiose end of the scale, the system in which I do my most serious listening comprises an Arcam CDS50 CSD/SACD CD player, Goldpoint SA4 Passive Preamp, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE loudspeakers. I also do a lot of listening while driving in my 2016 Acura RDX with its nice-sounding ELS Studio sound system through which I play CDs (the ones I especially like I rip to the Acura's hard drive so that I can listen to them whenever I want) or stream music through the system using my cell phone. For more casual listening at home when I am not in my listening room, I often stream music through the phone into a Vizio soundbar system that has remarkably nice sound for such a diminutive physical presence. And finally, at the least grandiose end of the scale, I have an Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker for those occasions where I am somewhere by myself without a sound system but in desperate need of a musical fix. I just can't imagine life without music and I am humbly grateful for the technology that enables us to enjoy it in so many wonderful ways.
Bryan Geyer, Technical Analyst

I initially embraced classical music in 1954 when I mistuned my car radio and heard the Heifetz recording of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. That inspired me to board the new "hi-fi" DIY bandwagon. In 1957 I joined one of the pioneer semiconductor makers and spent the next 32 years marketing transistors and microcircuits to military contractors. Home audio DIY projects remained a personal passion until 1989 when we created our own new photography equipment company. I later (2012) revived my interest in two channel audio when we "downsized" our life and determined that mini-monitors + paired subwoofers were a great way to mate fine music with the space constraints of condo living.

Visitors that view my technical papers on this site may wonder why they appear here, rather than on a site that features audio equipment reviews. My reason is that I tried the latter, and prefer to publish for people who actually want to listen to music; not to equipment. My focus is in describing what's technically beneficial to assure that the sound of the system will accurately replicate the source input signal (i. e. exhibit high accuracy) without inordinate cost and complexity. Conversely, most of the audiophiles of today strive to achieve sound that's euphonic, i.e. be personally satisfying. In essence, audiophiles seek sound that's consistent with their desire; the music is simply a test signal.

William (Bill) Heck, Contributing Reviewer

Among my early childhood memories are those of listening to my mother playing records (some even 78 rpm ones!) of both classical music and jazz tunes. I suppose that her love of music was transmitted genetically, and my interest was sustained by years of playing in rock bands – until I realized that this was no way to make a living. The interest in classical music was rekindled in grad school when the university FM station serving as background music for studying happened to play the Brahms First Symphony. As the work came to an end, it struck me forcibly that this was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard, and from that point on, I never looked back. This revelation was to the detriment of my studies, as I subsequently spent way too much time simply listening, but music has remained a significant part of my life. These days, although I still can tell a trumpet from a bassoon and a quarter note from a treble clef, I have to admit that I remain a nonexpert. But I do love music in general and classical music in particular, and I enjoy sharing both information and opinions about it.

The audiophile bug bit about the same time that I returned to that classical music. I’ve gone through plenty of equipment, brands from Audio Research to Yamaha, and the best of it has opened new audio insights. Along the way, I reviewed components, and occasionally recordings, for The $ensible Sound magazine. Recently I’ve rebuilt--I prefer to say reinvigorated--my audio system, with a Sangean FM HD tuner and (for the moment) an ancient Toshiba multi-format disk player serving as a transport, both feeding a NAD C 658 streaming preamp/DAC, which in turn connects to a Legacy Powerbloc2 amplifier driving my trusty Waveform Mach Solo speakers, supplemented by a Hsu Research ULS 15 Mk II subwoofer.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job. --John J. Puccio

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa