Seattle, WA – The Seattle Symphony announced today that Ludovic Morlot’s contract as the Harriet Overton Stimson Music Director has been extended for two additional years, through August 2019. Morlot’s original six-year agreement was from September 2011 through August 2017.
President & CEO Simon Woods commented, “Under Ludovic Morlot’s leadership, this organization has experienced an extraordinary transformation. The music making on stage has been electrifying and inspirational, but what has further distinguished the Morlot era to date is a commitment to expanding the repertoire, challenging traditional programming boundaries and opening up Benaroya Hall to our community. We are proud to have a music director who so deeply and personally embraces the forward-looking values for which the Seattle region is known.”
“This orchestra and Seattle itself have become an integral part of my life,” Morlot said. “I feel privileged to work with such an inspired and dynamic group of musicians; together we've made tremendous strides. I look forward to deepening my relationship with them further, building on our successes, and to working in tandem with the Symphony's fine leadership and administrative team to welcome one and all to Benaroya Hall."
French conductor Ludovic Morlot is in his fifth season as Music Director of the Seattle Symphony. There have been many highlights during his first four seasons in this position, including an exhilarating performance at Carnegie Hall in May 2014, as reported in The New York Times: “The performance Mr. Morlot coaxed from his players was rich with shimmering colors and tremulous energy.”
During the 2015–2016 season he leads the Seattle Symphony in a wide variety of works including the launch of a two-year cycle of Beethoven symphonies and piano concertos; Berio's Sinfonia featuring vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth; Messiaen’s Poèmes pour Mi; Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4; Mahler’s Symphony No. 1; and Fauré’s Requiem. Complemented by the Seattle Symphony’s highly innovative series, Symphony Untuxed and [untitled], this season will also see the release of several more recordings on the orchestra’s new label, Seattle Symphony Media.
Morlot was also Chief Conductor of La Monnaie, one of Europe’s most prestigious opera houses, for three years (2012–2014). During this time he conducted several new productions including La Clemenza di Tito, Jenůfa and Pelléas et Mélisande. Concert performances, both in Brussels and Aix-en-Provence, included repertoire by Beethoven, Britten, Bruneau, Stravinsky and Webern.
Morlot’s orchestral engagements this season include returns to the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras as well as the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. He also has a strong connection with the Boston Symphony Orchestra whom he has conducted in Boston, Tanglewood and on a tour to the west coast of North America. This relationship started in 2001 when he was the Seiji Ozawa Fellowship Conductor at the Tanglewood Music Center and subsequently appointed Assistant Conductor for the orchestra and their Music Director James Levine (2004–2007). Morlot has also conducted the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
In Europe, Morlot will this season make his debut with the Geneva Camerata conducting a Homage to Ligeti and will also return to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Morlot has conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London and on tour in Germany. Other recent notable performances have included the Budapest Festival, Czech Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Orchestre National de France, Royal Concertgebouw, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. Morlot served as conductor in residence with the Orchestre National de Lyon under David Robertson (2002–2004).
Trained as a violinist, Morlot studied conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London and then at the Royal College of Music as recipient of the Norman del Mar Conducting Fellowship. Morlot was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 2014 in recognition of his significant contribution to music. He is Chair of Orchestral Conducting Studies at the University of Washington School of Music and lives in Seattle with his wife, Ghizlane, and their two children.
Founded in 1903, the Seattle Symphony is one of America’s leading symphony orchestras and is internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history. Under the leadership of Music Director Ludovic Morlot since September 2011, the Symphony is heard live from September through July by more than 300,000 people. It performs in one of the finest modern concert halls in the world — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall — in downtown Seattle. Its extensive education and community-engagement programs reach over 100,000 children and adults each year. The Seattle Symphony has a deep commitment to new music, commissioning many works by living composers each season, including John Luther Adams’ recent Become Ocean, which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music and a 2015 Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. The orchestra has made nearly 150 recordings and has received 18 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades. In 2014 the Symphony launched its in-house recording label, Seattle Symphony Media.
Photo credit: Brandon Patoc Photography