Seattle Symphony Launches a New Season of Core Symphonic Works Paired with Rarely Heard Repertoire, Two-year Beethoven Cycle, Four New Recordings, Nine Commissions, Cross-Genre Collaborations and a Commitment to Strengthening its Community
New York, NY – Inaugurating a season highlighted by the orchestra's commitment to empower and nurture aspiring young musicians and that continues the theme of innovation and exploration for which the orchestra has been celebrated in recent years, Music Director Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony will continue to explore diverse repertoire and engage with Seattle’s creative community through innovative concerts and in-depth community and education programs. The season begins on September 19 and runs through July 2016.
Performing Major Orchestral Repertoire Paired with Rarely Heard Symphonic Works
Ludovic Morlot leads the orchestra in 12 Masterworks programs this season with performances of core orchestral repertoire including Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4, Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 3, 4 and 7, and Fauré’s Requiem. In a programming philosophy that pairs standard repertoire with rarely heard orchestral works, the Orchestra’s Masterworks season also includes the U.S. premiere of Silvestrov’s Symphony No. 8, Berio’s Sinfonia featuring vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, Messiaen’s Poèmes pour Mi, Martinů’s Symphony No. 4 and Dutilleux’s Timbres, espace, mouvement.
Performing the Complete Beethoven Symphonies and Piano Concertos Over Two Seasons
Ludovic Morlot embarks on a two-year Beethoven Cycle starting this September, which will include all nine symphonies and all five piano concertos. This season Ludovic Morlot will conduct Symphonies Nos. 3, 4 and 7, and Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 3 and 4, featuring pianists Alexander Melnikov, Yefim Bronfman and Imogen Cooper, respectively.
Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet Appointed Artist in Residence
The Seattle Symphony names pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet as its Artist in Residence for the 2015–2016 season. Thibaudet's residency will bring him to Seattle for various performances with the orchestra including as guest soloist for the Opening Night and Masterworks season concerts, a Distinguished Artists Recital, and in collaboration with Seattle Symphony musicians on the Chamber series, as well as teaching opportunities throughout the season.
Launching First-Ever Seattle Symphony Piano Competition
Ludovic Morlot and the Orchestra held the Seattle Symphony Piano Competition this month, with the final three rounds taking place from September 15–18 in Seattle. The local community was invited to take part in the competition by attending all three rounds and casting its vote for the Audience Favorite Award. Through a unique competition featuring French-American repertoire, and the requirement of improvisation in a world-premiere, jazz-like solo piece by Northwest native and Young Concert Artist alumnus Kenji Bunch, the Symphony sought to promote and recognize distinctive up-and-coming pianists eager to embrace its vision for innovation, contemporary music and creative programming. The Symphony partnered with Young Concert Artists and Washington Performing Arts to offer winners a comprehensive overview and guidance on navigating the changing landscape of an international performance career. Pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet served as Chair of the jury, which also included Music Director Ludovic Morlot, Seattle Symphony Principal Cello and Young Concert Artist alumnus Efe Baltacıgil, Young Concert Artists Director of Artist Management Monica J. Felkel, Washington Performing Arts Director of Programming Samantha Pollack, First Chair Promotion Project Manager James Egelhofer, and Seattle Symphony President & CEO Simon Woods. The winning pianist received a $10,000 cash prize and an opportunity to perform with the Seattle Symphony during the 2016–2017 season.
Nine Commissions and Co-commissions
The Seattle Symphony will premiere nine commissions and co-commissions in the season. A new work (co-commission with the National Orchestra of Belgium) by Giya Kancheli, entitled Nu.Mu.Zu for Orchestra, will receive its U.S. premiere on the November 5–7 Masterworks program. Also on Masterworks from June 9-11 is the U.S. premiere of a new work by Anna Clyne, co-commissioned with the National Orchestre d'Ile de France. The season’s two Sonic Evolution concerts on October 26 and May 16 will highlight three commissions by American composers Wayne Horvitz, William Brittelle and Michael Gordon. The October concert will feature the world premiere of Those Who Remain by Horvitz, and the May concert will feature a new work by William Brittelle and the World Premiere of The Unchanging Sea for Piano and Orchestra by Michael Gordon. Three new works by University of Washington composers Richard Karpen, Joël-François Durand, and Huck Hodge will be premiered on the late-night [untitled] concert on October 23.
Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Dausgaard Returns for Three Masterworks Programs
Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Dausgaard, in his second season with the Orchestra, returns to conduct the Seattle Symphony's first-ever performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 (Cooke version), Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night and Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, which is performed in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Nielsen’s birth.
Seattle Symphony Media to Release Four New Recordings This Season
In a special collaboration, Seattle Symphony Media will release the live recording of sound sculptor Trimpin’s Above, Below, and In Between which premiered during the late-night [untitled] concert in May 2015. The piece was part of a site-specific sound installation commissioned by the Symphony and was installed in the Grand Lobby of Benaroya Hall. The release coincides with Trimpin’s exhibition at Seattle’s Winston Wächter Gallery (opening in January 2016) and will be released via vinyl and digital download only. In February the label will release the next volume of orchestral works by Charles Ives. This follows a recording of the composer’s Symphony No. 2 that was released in March of 2014. The upcoming release will include a live performance of Symphony No. 4 at Benaroya Hall from the 2014–2015 season, and studio recordings of Central Park in the Dark, The Unanswered Question and Symphony No. 3. The Orchestra will continue to survey and release Ives’ orchestral works in the current and coming seasons. In May the label will release live recordings of Stravinsky’s Petrushka from a sensational run on Masterworks in the 2014–2015 season, and Debussy’s La Boîte à Joujoux.
In August 2016, in commemoration of what would have been Henri Dutilleux’s 100th birthday, Ludovic Morlot and Seattle Symphony Media will release the third and final volume of a three-disc, multi-year recording project of a comprehensive survey of the composer’s orchestral works. Volume 1, which was released in 2014 and included Symphony No. 1, Tout un monde lointain with cellist Xavier Phillips, and The Shadows of Time for 3 Children's Voices and Orchestra, received three Grammy nominations earlier this year. Volume 2 featured the violin concerto L’arbre des songes (The Tree of Dreams) with violinist Augustin Hadelich, and electrifying live performances of Symphony No. 2 and Métaboles. The final volume will include studio recordings of Sur le même accord, Mystère de l’instant and Les Citations, as well as a live performance of Timbres, espace, mouvement which will take place on the Masterworks series April 28 and 30 in 2016.
Cross-Genre Sonic Evolution Expands to Two Concerts, Co-Presented with Two Local Arts Festivals
The Symphony's cross-genre Sonic Evolution is expanding into two concerts in the 2015–2016 season, in celebration of Seattle's rich musical and cultural heritage. The first, titled "Under the Influence," will be conducted by Ludovic Morlot and co-presented with the Earshot Jazz Festival on October 29. The performance features Derek Bermel's Migration Series, Concerto for Jazz Band and Orchestra, which was inspired by painter Jacob Lawrence's The Migration Series, depicting the migration of African Americans from the rural south to the urban north in the early 20th century. Joining the orchestra for this work is the award-winning Roosevelt High School Jazz Band. Additionally, Seattle-based guitarist Bill Frisell and the orchestra will give the world premiere of local composer Wayne Horvitz' Symphony No. 1. Seattle vocalist Shaprece closes the program with new orchestral arrangements of her music, a soulful blend of modern jazz, R&B and electronica.
The second Sonic Evolution concert, "This is Indie!" will be co-presented with the Seattle International Film Festival on May 13. The concert introduces two world premieres including Michael Gordon's The Unchanging Sea for Piano and Orchestra, featuring pianist and multimedia artist Tomoko Mukaiyama, which will be performed alongside a new film created by indie filmmaker Bill Morrison using historical footage of Seattle; and a world premiere by William Brittelle which blends classical and indie-pop. Additionally, composers William Brittelle, Ryan Brown and Elliot Cole will together create new compositions for Seattle's Fly Moon Royalty, known for their unique mix of blues, hip-hop and electronica.
Late-night [untitled] Series Includes John Luther Adams’ In the White Silence
The 2015–2016 season of [untitled], the late-night contemporary concerts in the relaxed atmosphere of the Samuel & Althea Stroum Grand Lobby, consists entirely of American music. The series opens on October 23 with three world premieres by University of Washington composers Richard Karpen, Juan Pampin and Huck Hodge. In February, the Seattle Symphony dedicates an [untitled] performance to renowned visual artist Robert Rauschenberg whose massive Echo hangs in the Grand Lobby, including works by his musical contemporaries John Cage and Earle Brown as well as Christian Wolff's For Bob and Morton Feldman's Rothko Chapel. The series closes on April 23 with John Luther Adams' In the White Silence, which evokes sub-Arctic winter over its hypnotic 70 minute duration.
Serving and Partnering with the Local Community Through Community Connections and Education Programs in Public Schools & Universities
The Seattle Symphony’s extensive education and community initiatives reach more than 65,000 people each year through a variety of programs tailored to meet the needs of various audiences, schools and communities. Its Community Connections program for nonprofit organizations allows diverse communities to attend Symphony performances for free, attend pre-concert workshops, and participate in in-depth creative projects. In the 2014–2015 season Community Connections gave away more than 1,800 concert tickets and in the coming season will collaborate with more than 50 organizations who serve the underserved in the Puget Sound region. Projects such as the Lullaby Project, a partnership with Mary’s Place, a day shelter for mothers and their children who are homeless or are in transition, provides a support network for the mothers as they each create a personal lullaby for their children. Other collaborations with organizations such as Path with Art, Mockingbird Society, Lighthouse for the Blind, Southeast Seattle Senior Center and Full Life Care have brought Symphony musicians and teaching artists to various communities throughout the city to engage an underserved demographic.
In the 2015–2016 season the Symphony’s school-day concerts will again follow the curriculum of Link Up, a national program of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. Serving 9,500 students grades 3 to 5 from over 100 schools in 25 districts, these performances give students the opportunity to sing and play their recorders along with the orchestra from their seats, In addition, Seattle Symphony’s Soundbridge, one of the few dedicated education spaces amongst American symphony orchestra halls, hosts workshops for preschools and elementary schools weekly, including Musical Storytime, Orchestra Families, Songwriting: State Songs and Science of Sound.
An avid advocate for music education in schools and mentoring young musicians, Ludovic Morlot participates in many different facets of the Orchestra’s education projects. Through initiatives such as the launch of the first-ever Seattle Symphony Piano Competition, five or six community and Side-by-Side concerts with local high school and youth orchestras which are free to the public, the annual Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop, the annual Young Artists Auditions where young musicians are chosen to perform with the orchestra, Morlot and the Orchestra have redoubled their commitment to mentor the next generation of young conductors and musicians within the region. Since 2013 Ludovic Morlot has served as Chair of Orchestral Conducting Studies in the University of Washington’s School of Music. In this capacity, he makes five to seven appearances at the University each year, leading classes and seminars in conducting. Students in the program also attend Seattle Symphony rehearsals throughout the season as part of their training under Morlot.