MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Seattle Symphony’s New Season Announcement

The 2018-2019 season, just announced, will be the valedictory season for Ludovic Morlot as Seattle Symphony’s music director. And it bears the stamp of Morlot’s imaginative programming, which has been a signature of his tenure.

There’s a lot to be excited about here, especially on the new-music front: 25 contemporary composers on the program. There will be commissions from Chen Yi, Caroline Shaw (a piano concerto to feature Jonathan Biss), John Harbison, Kinan Azmeh (a clarinet concerto, with the composer as soloist), Joël-François Durand, “a new piece woven into Heiner Goebbels’ Surrogate Cities,” and Derek Bermel, who as composer in residence will supply two new works.

PLUS new pieces by George Walker (my profile of this amazing, far-too-neglected American treasure is here), Hannah Kendall (The Spark Catchers), and Pascal Dusapin (At Swim-Two-Birds). This is apart from the many goodies on the late-night [untitled] concert series.

For his eighth and final season, Maestro Morlot will bring a special focus to Claude Debussy to mark the centenary of his death: six works by Debussy throughout the season (Gigues from ImagesPetite suiteJeuxPrintemps, Suite from Pelléas et Mélisande, and Nocturnes). New French voices as well:  Marc-André Dalbavie’s Sonnets and La source d’un regard, and the above-mentioned Pascal Dusapin and the Joël-François Durand commission.

Here’s the full Seattle Symphony press release:

Seattle, WA – Seattle Symphony Music Director Ludovic Morlot and Board Chair Leslie Jackson Chihulyannounce the Grammy-winning orchestra’s 2018–2019 season, which culminates Ludovic Morlot’s multi-year exploration of French music past and present, as well as furthering the orchestra’s commitment to commissioning new works and in-depth community-related projects. Several programs with geographic, historical and social context will be presented, including Heiner Goebbels’ Surrogate Cities, the Silkroad Ensemble which embraces difference and cultural collaboration, Jordi Savall’s The Routes of Slavery, and the world premiere performances of George Walker’s Sinfonia No. 5, “Visions,” which was composed in response to the 2015 church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

“For my final season as Music Director, we’ve woven together the many programmatic threads we started seven years ago into a true culmination of ideas,” commented Morlot. “I’m thrilled to explore the music of Debussy in great depth, alongside repertoire that influenced his work, and together with those new French voices of Dusapin, Dalbavie and Durand. This season we will introduce so many new and diverse guest artists to Seattle, and I’m thrilled to embrace the voices of more women composers. When I think of my last season with this wonderful orchestra, it really feels like we’ve had a chance to work on all that we wanted and this beautiful season brings a sense of fulfillment to those dreams.”

Chihuly shared, “Our journey with Ludovic Morlot is coming to fruition next season in so many ways, from the symphonies we all know and love to the latest commissions and premieres, to powerful music that makes a statement about our world today, whether that’s Heiner Goebbels’ commentary on the effects of urbanism on humanity, or George Walker’s artistic response to one of the most painful events in recent history. Here in our community we remain committed to our Simple Gifts initiative which supports those who are experiencing homelessness, and we’re thrilled to welcome Derek Bermel as Composer in Residence, who will have an active role both on stage and in the community.”

Ludovic Morlot will build on his previous explorations of French repertoire with a special focus on the music of Claude Debussy for the centenary year of the composer’s passing. Morlot will conduct six works by Debussy over the course of five subscription weeks throughout the season including Gigues from ImagesPetite suite,JeuxPrintemps, Suite from Pelléas et Mélisande and Nocturnes. These works will be presented alongside repertoire that influenced the composer, including works by Mahler, Strauss, Wagner and Janáček, and Debussy contemporary, Ravel, together with new French voices. Morlot will conduct Marc-André Dalbavie’s Sonnets andLa source d’un regard, the U.S. premiere of Pascal Dusapin’s At Swim-Two-Birds, and the world premiere of Joël-François Durand’s Préludes. French-born Durand is Professor of Music at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Following critical acclaim for the 3-disc set of Henri Dutilleux’s orchestral works, upcoming recording plans will continue to capitalize on Morlot’s distinctive interpretations of French repertoire. Recordings featuring Ludovic Morlot and the orchestra performing the works of Berlioz and Dalbavie are planned for the 2018–2019 season. The orchestra will also continue to record its first-ever Nielsen cycle, which began last fall with the release of Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 conducted by Thomas Dausgaard.

Music Director Designate Thomas Dausgaard, who will become Music Director in the 2019–2020 season and will also be in his fifth season with the orchestra as Principal Guest Conductor, will conduct three programs, each with a notable premiere. In October Dausgaard will conduct the U.S. premiere of the original first movement of Schumann’s “Zwickauer” Symphony created by Dausgaard from the composer’s manuscript, as well as Schumann’s Symphony No. 2. Two programs in April include the North American premiere of Langgaard’s Prelude to Antichrist, which shares a program with Nielsen’s Symphony No. 2, “The Four Temperaments,” followed in another program by Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” which will be performed alongside the premiere performances of George Walker’s Sinfonia No. 5, “Visions,” written in response to the devastating murder of nine African Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, at the hands of a white supremacist. Although Sinfonia No. 5 has been recorded, these are the first public performances.

NEW AND CONTEMPORARY MUSIC


The Seattle Symphony continues its dedication to commissioning new works, and for the coming season will perform the following commissioned world premieres: a new work by Chen YiCaroline Shaw’s Piano Concerto, which will be premiered with guest pianist Jonathan Biss; John Harbison’s What Do We Make of Bach? for Orchestra and Obbligato Organ, which will be premiered with guest organist Wayne Marshall; Kinan Azmeh’s Clarinet Concerto, to be performed by the composer as soloist; two new works by 2018–2019 Composer in Residence Derek BermelJoël-François Durand’s Préludes; and a new piece woven into Heiner GoebbelsSurrogate Cities.

Additional premieres include the first-ever public performances of George Walker’s Sinfonia No. 5, “Visions,” as described above. The orchestra will give the U.S. premieres of Hannah Kendall’s The Spark Catchers as well as Pascal Dusapin’s At Swim-Two-Birds and which will feature violinist Viktoria Mullova and cellist Matthew Barley. Receiving its North American premiere is Langgaard’s Prelude to Antichrist. Additionally, a new work will be unveiled at the Celebrate Asia concert, following the annual Celebrate Asia Composition Competition.

Originally premiered in 1994, Heiner Goebbels’ multi-sensory production Surrogate Cities is a full-length concert program reflecting on the impact of urbanism on society. With orchestral voices, sampled electronics, musical flashbacks and literary quotes, Goebbels creates a multifaceted concert experience. Jazz vocalistJocelyn B. Smith and narrator David Moss will join Ludovic Morlot and the orchestra for these performances, which will include the world premiere of a new piece the composer has created for the occasion.

The late-night [untitled] concert series returns with three programs, featuring boundary-pushing contemporary music performed by chamber ensembles in the Samuel & Althea Stroum Grand Lobby. At these performances, many of which sell out, audiences gather on all levels of the Grand Lobby, on chairs, stairs, bar stools, restaurant booths, bean bags and carpet squares, and the bar remains open throughout. The first, conducted by Thomas Dausgaard, features Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen’s hour-long Schnee, inspired by the music of Bach and Steve Reich. Conducted by Ludovic Morlot, the second program features Berio’s Circles and a Boulezmasterpiece, Sur incises, which is scored for three pianos, three harps and three percussionists. Lastly, Symphony Tacoma’s Music Director Sarah Ioannides will lead soprano Maria Männistö and Seattle Symphony musicians in a 1920s German cabaret-style “Im wunderschöenen Monat Mai,” the reimagined love songs of Schubert and Schumann by Dutch composer Reinbert de Leeuw.

FEATURED ARTISTS


The In Recital series (formerly called Distinguished Artists) will expand from three concerts to four concerts in the 2018–2019 season. The four-concert series will include solo recitals by pianists Inon Barnatan and Sir András Schiff, a duo recital with violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Enrico Pace and a recital featuring tenor Lawrence Brownlee and bass-baritone Eric Owens.

Among those making their Seattle Symphony debuts this season are guest conductors Gustavo Gimeno,Jonathon HeywardSarah IoannidesKirill KarabitsVasily PetrenkoShiyeon Sung and Dima Slobodeniouk; violinists Nicola Benedetti and Viktoria Mullova; pianist Steven Osborne; cellists Matthew Barley and Sheku Kanneh-Mason; organist Katelyn Emerson; harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani; mandolin player Avi Avital; sopranos Yasko Sato and Yulia Van Doren; mezzo-soprano Roxana Constantinescu; altoAvery Amereau; tenors Colin BalzerĽudovít Ludha and Sean Panikkar; baritones Michael KellyDavóne Tines and Andreas Wolf.

SPECIAL PERFORMANCES*


The Silkroad Ensemble returns to Seattle in February to join Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony for a one-night-only performance. The Seattle Symphony will perform two works it has commissioned, a new work byChen Yi, a former Music Alive Composer in Residence with the orchestra, and a new clarinet concerto by Kinan Azmeh, a Syrian clarinetist and composer featured in the documentary The Music of Strangers who created a sensation with his emotional performance at the Seattle Symphony’s Music Beyond Borders: Voices of the Seven, which was a free, livestreamed concert given in response to the travel ban that was issued in January 2017. Azmeh’s Clarinet Concerto was commissioned by Classical Movements for the Seattle Symphony as part of the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program. In addition to these world premieres performed by the orchestra, the Silkroad Ensemble will perform Azmeh’s The Wedding, Vijay Iyer’s City of Sand and Edward Perez’s Latina 6/8 Suite featuring bagpipe player Christina Pato.

The Seattle Symphony will again collaborate with the Asian community to present the 11th annual Celebrate Asia concert in January with this year’s program conducted by Shiyeon Sung. The program, which prominently features Korean composers and artists, includes Unsuk Chin’s snagS&Snarls featuring guest soprano Kathleen Kim, Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini featuring guest pianist Seong-Jin Cho, and two traditional works, “Missing Mt. Keumkang” and “Arirang.” The program will open with John Adams’ The Chairman Dances from Nixon in China and will also include Pubbanimitta for suona and orchestra. Pubbanimittawas written in 2011 by rising Thai composer Narong Prangcharoen who received the 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship. The winning piece from the Celebrate Asia Composition Competition, dedicated to finding and nurturing young composers who are inspired by the music of Asia, will also receive its world premiere at this concert. Pre- and post-concert festivities showcase performers from Seattle’s many vibrant communities, from Lion Dance to Taiko and from traditional performances to Bollywood.

Composer, clarinetist and conductor Derek Bermel will serve as the Seattle Symphony’s Composer in Residence in the 2018–2019 season. While in Seattle, Bermel will help lead the orchestra’s spring Simple Gifts Community Composition project co-created with residents of Compass Housing Alliance, a leading provider of housing services for veterans experiencing homelessness. The resulting composition will be performed jointly by veterans and members of the Seattle Symphony. Simple Gifts projects represent an opportunity for community members experiencing homelessness — who often feel invisible — to be seen and heard, with their voices amplified by the art they are creating together with the Seattle Symphony (more info below). Bermel will also serve as the workshop director for the annual Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop, where he will guide 10 pre-college-age students through a 12-week workshop to create new chamber pieces that will be performed by Seattle Symphony musicians at a culminating performance. One of Bermel’s works will be introduced to 10,000 school children through the Seattle Symphony’s Link Up program which he will conduct in March.

In November, the Seattle Symphony and Early Music Seattle will co-present Jordi Savall: The Routes of Slavery. In this monumental project spanning centuries and featuring musicians from Africa, Europe and the Americas, early music expert Jordi Savall leads a singular experience of music, dance and spoken word tracing the story of the African diaspora in the Old and New Worlds. The Routes of Slavery draws together markedly distinct musical stories from West and North Africa, Baroque Europe and the Americas to create a musical illustration of one of humanity’s darkest chapters, weaving together traditional African griot music with Baroque song, spirituals and rich Afro-Latin traditions from the Caribbean, Mexico, Peru, Brazil and beyond.

Additional special concert events include the Opening Night Concert & Gala conducted by Ludovic Morlotfeaturing renowned French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet on Saturday, September 15; a performance by the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, including Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 performed by Christian TetzlaffItzhak Perlman performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto; the two-night Brahms Concerto Festival conducted by Pablo Rus Broseta and featuring rising star artists; a live-to-picture screening of the film Amadeus; and a full line-up of Holiday events.

*Special concert events are not included in the subscription series and are currently only available to subscribers.

EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY INITIATIVES


The Seattle Symphony will present a robust season of programming for families. Families will enjoy pre-concert activities with crafts and an instrument zoo. The youngest listeners (ages 0–5) will be treated to a five-concertTiny Tots series. Each concert features a different section of Seattle Symphony musicians. The Classical KING FM Family Concert series (designed for ages 6–12) features the full orchestra. Seattle Symphony Associate Conductor Pablo Rus Broseta will conduct three of the four concerts, with guest conductor Farkhad Khudyevleading the third concert with guest artists Magic Circle Mime Co.

In addition to presenting a full schedule of performances, the Seattle Symphony is deeply committed to creating meaningful community partnerships and education programs. The orchestra’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 including families, young artists and schools. Link Up, a national program of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, is a highly participatory multi-year music curriculum for 3rd to 5th graders. In the 2018–2019 season, it will serve more than 10,000 students in grades 3 to 5 from over 100 schools in 30 districts. Over the course of each year’s program, students learn to sing and play orchestral repertoire while focusing on specific concepts, including rhythm, melody, tempo, orchestration and composition. In addition, the Symphony continues its commitment to mentoring young musicians in the community and presents numerous Side-by-Side Concerts with local high school, college and community orchestras.

The Symphony’s Community Connections program aims to provide nonprofit organizations across the Puget Sound region with equitable access to high-quality cultural experiences. We build bridges with diverse communities throughout the region through access to free tickets to concerts, music-making and special projects. This program serves more than 70 local nonprofits that work with youth, active military and veterans, seniors, cultural organizations, health services and social service organizations. Examples of our work include theLullaby Project for parents experiencing homelessness, and prison visits by Symphony musicians. In June 2016 Seattle Symphony launched the Simple Gifts initiative which partners with social service providers to empower individuals experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity to connect with their creativity; develop deeper roots in the community through service, advocacy and collaboration; spark joy and inspire hope in individuals and communities that face disproportionate amounts of hardship; and raise awareness of the homelessness crisis that is occurring in King County. Of the Seattle Symphony’s 70 community partners, 22 specifically work with homelessness.

The Masterworks Season encompasses the Symphony’s core programming of symphonic repertoire. Additionalsubscription series include Seattle PopsIn RecitalBaroque & WineUntuxed[untitled]Fluke/Gabelein Organ RecitalChamberClassical KING FM Family Concerts and Tiny TotsNon-subscription performances may be added to subscription orders now and will go on sale to the general public on August 4, 2018.

Filed under: Ludovic Morlot, Seattle Symphony

2 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. linda@willenbergs.com says:

    Thank you for all of the wonderful information.

    Have you seen Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin at Seattle Rep? Hershey Felder is totally amazing as a writer, actor and musician.

    Linda Willenberg

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