Seattle Symphony 2014/15 Season Preview


  • Three-Week Sibelius Festival under newly-appointed Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Dausgaard celebrating the 150th Birthday of Jean Sibelius.
  • Music Director Ludovic Morlot conducts Dvořák's final three Symphonies plus three epic symphonies: Mahler's Third, Charles Ives Fourth, and Berlioz's dramatic symphony Roméo et Juliette.
  • Opening night gala with celebrated violinist Gil Shaham.
  • Visits from the London Symphony Orchestra (under conductor Michael Tilson-Thomas) and the Seoul Philharmonic (under conductor Myung Whun Chung)
  • World Premieres of  works by American composers Mason Bates and Sebastian Currier, a commission from Seattle-Based “Sound Sculptor”, Trimpin, plus three world premieres commissioned for Sonic Evolution 2015.  U.S. Premieres of works co-commissioned from major British composers, Julian Anderson and Colin Matthews, and Japanese Composer Jugo Kanno.

Music Director Ludovic Morlot extends his previous years’ themes of eclectic and diverse repertoire, accessibility and exploration, and interactions with contemporary culture in the 2014–2015 concert season.  The season also features a list of guest artists that is the most distinguished that Seattle has seen in years.

“I’m thrilled that next season will be my fourth with this wonderful orchestra,” Morlot said. “We have planned a musical and emotional journey through an incredibly exciting repertoire, and I can’t wait to share it with our audiences. So many of the works on our season have great meaning and explore feelings and ideas that we can all relate to, from the romantic love in Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette to Charles Ives’ search for the meaning of life in his Fourth Symphony. I’m also very happy to introduce our new Principal Guest Conductor, Thomas Dausgaard, next season. He will lead our Sibelius Festival, which features all seven of the composer’s symphonies. It will be a season to remember!”

The Sibelius Festival under Thomas Dausgaard takes place in March.  As a Scandinavian, Dausgaard will provide fascinating insights into this composer.  The first week includes the first two symphonies and Finlandia; the second continues with the Third and Fourth symphonies (and the young Pekka Kuusisto in the Violin Concerto), concluding in the final week with the last three symphonies. For this event, the Seattle Symphony has formed a partnership with Seattle’s Nordic Heritage Museum, with additional festival activities to be announced.

Two international orchestras will visit Benaroya Hall during the season: first, the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by 2010 National Medal of Arts recipient Michael Tilson-Thomas and featuring the dazzling young pianist Yuja Wang; second, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Myung Whun Chung and featuring pianist Sunwook Kim. The Opening Night Concert & Gala, with Maestro Morlot, takes place on Saturday, September 13 and will feature a Paris-inspired program with renowned violinist Gil Shaham.  Special Performances will also feature cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman. The Seattle Symphony signature event, ‘Celebrate Asia’, will be led by former Associate Conductor Carolyn Kuan. 

The orchestra has co-commissioned six new works for the coming season. Two commissions by American composers, including a new Cello Concerto from Mason Bates -- written for former Seattle Symphony Principal Cello Joshua Roman -- and a new work by Sebastian Currier receive their world premieres. A Violin Concerto by Julian Anderson, performed by violinist Carolin Widmann, and a large-scale children’s work by Colin Matthews, The Pied Piper, receive their U.S. premieres. In addition, there will be a project involving local ‘sound-sculptor’, Trimpin. Internationally known for his innovation, Trimpin will create a site-specific sound installation in Benaroya Hall’s Samuel & Althea Stroum Grand Lobby and premiere a new work during the Symphony’s late-night contemporary music series.  

Music Director Morlot opens the Masterworks Season’s 21-program schedule in September with concerts that feature Dvorak’s last three symphonies. Dvořák’s 7th is paired with Tchaikovsky’s popular Piano Concerto No. 1, with Daniil Trifonov making his Seattle Symphony debut. Then, Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony will be performed alongside Dutilleux’s Métaboles and Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with rising pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, also in her Seattle debut. The final week moves to the famous New World Symphony, John Adams’ Lollapalooza, and Korngold’s Violin Concerto played by the engaging Hilary Hahn.

October sees Morlot conduct the orchestra and Seattle Symphony Chorale in the Mozart Requiem with soprano Hélène Guilmette, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, tenor Zach Finkelstein and baritone Alexander Hajek.  In November, the conductor turns to Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony in a program that also includes Samuel Barber’s Second Essay for Orchestra, and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Grammy-nominated Violin Concerto (with violinist Leila Josefowicz).

In January, Maestro Morlot is joined by pianist Denis Kozhukhin for Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3.  Kozhukhin returns to Seattle Symphony after his sensational debut in 2013’s Rachmaninoff Festival.  A highlight of this program is Charles Ives’ complex and rarely performed Symphony No. 4. The following month features the Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Christian Tetzlaff, followed by Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette, with mezzo-soprano Sylvie Brunet Grupposo, tenor Kenneth Tarver and baritone Patrick Bolleire, all making their Seattle Symphony debuts.

April sees the world premiere of Sebastian Currier’s work, followed by Grieg’s Piano Concerto with the celebrated Marc-André Hamelin.  Maestro Morlot then conducts an all-Beethoven concert that includes the composer’s Symphony No. 7 and Piano Concerto No. 4 with venerable Yefim Bronfman.  June features the U.S. premiere of Julian Anderson’s Violin Concerto, coupled with Brahms’ First Symphony, and a big event: Mahler’s Third Symphony, with mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotjin, the Seattle Symphony Chorale and the Northwest Boy’s Choir.

The Seattle Symphony welcomes six guest conductors to the Benaroya Hall stage in 2014–2015. In November, Carlo Montanaro, a frequent guest conductor at Seattle Opera, conducts Beethoven’s Fifth and Respighi’s Church Windows.  Miguel Harth-Bedoya then returns to conduct Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, alongside Esteban Benzecry’s Colors of the Southern Cross and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with brilliant young Augustin Hadelich.  The next month, the dynamic Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla will make her Seattle Symphony debut, conducting the world premiere of the Mason Bates Cello Concerto with former Seattle Symphony Principal Cello Joshua Roman. The program also includes Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky.  Thomas Søndergård, lauded for his “piercing intelligence and intense passion” (The Guardian), returns to Seattle in April to conduct Prokofiev, Szymanowski and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Ingrid Fliter). Beloved maestro Neeme Järvi follows with an all-Russian concert of Glinka, Borodin and Prokofiev in May.

Additional subscription offerings include a three concert ‘Distinguished Artists’ series, this year featuring young piano sensation, Yuja Wang, elegant Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski, with violinist Pinchas Zukerman returning in May, with pianist Angela Chen, to conclude the series. The ‘Baroque & Wine’ series, with performances on Friday and Saturday evenings, pairs music of the Baroque era with pre-concert wine tastings. In October, distinguished conductor Nicholas McGegan presents music by Bach, Handel and Telemann, including two Bach keyboard concertos with fortepianist Robert Levin. February sees enterprising conductor and harpsichordist Richard Egarr lead all four of J.S. Bach’s orchestral suites from the keyboard. The series concludes in May when Stephen Layton conducts a concert featuring works by Bach, Handel, Purcell and Vivaldi with soprano Amanda Forsythe, alto Deanne Meek and Seattle Symphony Principal Trumpet David Gordon.

The popular Mozart ‘Great Concertos’ series opens in January with conductors Stilian Kirov and Jonathan Cohen, featuring six of the composer’s last great  piano concertos. Appearing are soloists Jan Lisiecki (Gramophone’s Young Artist of the Year); exceptional fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout, and, for piano connoisseurs, one of the most sensitive and penetrating artists now before us, Imogen Cooper.  Cooper will also be conducting.  In addition, we will hear the Clarinet Concerto, two Violin Concertos (with Ukrainian violinist Valeriy Sokolov), and a Mozart Flute Concerto performed by the London Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Flute, Adam Walker.


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The SEATTLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA is recognized as one of the major symphony orchestras in the United States, internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history. Founded in 1903, the orchestra has been under the leadership of Music Director Ludovic Morlot since September 2011, succeeding Gerald Schwartz (1985-2011), now Conductor Laureate.  The symphony is heard live from September through July by more than 315,000 people. Its education and community engagement programs reach over 100,000 children and adults each year. The orchestra has completed more than 140 recordings, received 12 Grammy nominations, and two Emmy Awards. The orchestra’s recorded legacy in the area of American music is unequalled.  In 2014 the Symphony launched its in-house recording label, Seattle Symphony Media.

BENAROYA HALL is the home of the Seattle Symphony, and occupies an entire city block in downtown Seattle.  The Hall has two performance venues, the 2,500-seat S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium and the 540-seat Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. Benaroya Hall has received numerous awards, including a 2001 American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Honor Award for outstanding architecture. It is well known for its stellar acoustics.  Visit

Support for the Seattle Symphony’s 2014–2015 season is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts WA, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, ArtsFund and 4Culture. Major corporate support for the Seattle Symphony’s 2014–2015 season is provided by The Boeing Company and MCM.