The Seattle Symphony is an American orchestra based in Seattle, Washington. Since 1998, the orchestra is resident at Benaroya Hall. The orchestra also serves as the accompanying orchestra for most productions of the Seattle Opera, in addition to its own concerts.
Seattle Symphony on stage in Benaroya Hall in May 2009.
|Concert hall||Benaroya Hall|
|Principal conductor||Ludovic Morlot|
The orchestra gave its first performance on December 29, 1903, with Harry West conducting. Known from its founding as the Seattle Symphony, it was renamed in 1911 as the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1919, the orchestra was reorganized with new bylaws under the name Seattle Symphony Orchestra. The 1921–22 season was cancelled due to financial problems. The orchestra was revived in 1926 under the direction of Karl Krueger.
In 1947, the Seattle Symphony merged with the Tacoma Philharmonic to form the Pacific Northwest Symphony Orchestra. Performances were held in Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia, with conducting duties split between Carl Bricken and Eugene Linden. This arrangement ceased after one season, when the Seattle Symphony decided to withdraw from it. A feud between the musicians and the board surfaced in 1948, and a majority of the musicians divorced themselves from the board and created a new orchestra called the Seattle Orchestra, a partnership (collective) operated by the musicians themselves, who chose Linden as their conductor. The Seattle Symphony announced a separate orchestra season with eighteen concerts at the old Meany Hall for the Performing Arts on the University of Washington campus. The symphony was to be directed by Stanley Chapple, and a series of guest conductors: Artur Rodzinski, Jacques Singer, and Erich Leinsdorf. Personnel for the Seattle Symphony were announced in the press on October 24, 1948, and included a few musicians who had chosen not to defect to the Seattle Orchestra and some new faces as well. The Seattle Symphony season was then postponed and eventually cancelled. The Seattle Orchestra, meanwhile, gave its first performance on November 23, 1948. An accommodation was reached between the Seattle Symphony and the Seattle Orchestra, and the two organizations merged, and the name "Seattle Symphony Orchestra" was retained. The partnership system was also retained, and musicians gained access onto the board. The partnership system was eventually dissolved at the request of Milton Katims in 1955. Even so, for most of its 100-year history, and especially today, the ensemble is known by the two-word name "Seattle Symphony".
Gerard Schwarz became music advisor of the orchestra in 1983 and principal conductor in 1984, before being named music director in 1985. Under Schwarz's leadership, the orchestra became particularly known for performing works of twentieth-century composers, especially neglected American composers. Together, Schwarz and the orchestra have made more than 100 commercial recordings, including the major orchestral works of Howard Hanson and David Diamond as well as works by Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Walter Piston, Paul Creston, William Schuman, Alan Hovhaness, Morton Gould, David Diamond, and others, for Delos International and Naxos Records. The orchestra received its first Grammy nomination in January 1990 for a 1989 recording of music of Howard Hanson. The orchestra also recorded a musical score to the SeaWorld, Orlando, stage show A'lure, The Call of the Ocean plus the score for the motion picture Die Hard With a Vengeance.
Schwarz received praise for his championing of American composers and his skills in fund-raising. However, his tenure was also marked by controversies between him and several symphony musicians, which included several legal disputes. In September 2008, the orchestra announced the conclusion of Schwarz's music directorship after the 2010–2011 season, at which time Schwarz became the orchestra's conductor laureate.
Ludovic Morlot first guest-conducted the Seattle Symphony in October 2009. He returned in April 2010, as a substitute conductor in the wake of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruptions. Based on these appearance, in June 2010, the orchestra announced the appointment of Morlot as its 15th music director, effective with the 2011–2012 season, with an initial contract of six years. During Morlot's tenure, the orchestra initiated its own recording label, 'Seattle Symphony Media'. In July 2015, the orchestra announced the extension of Morlot's contract through the 2018-2019 season. Morlot has taken particular interest in fostering music from Seattle-based composers, including composers within the orchestra itself. His work with the orchestra has included the commissioning and premiere of John Luther Adams' Become Ocean, which went on to win the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music and the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition. The commercial recording of Become Ocean, for Cantaloupe Music, led to a donation by Taylor Swift to the Seattle Symphony of USD $50,000. Morlot and the orchestra have received additional Grammy Awards for their recordings of music of Henri Dutilleux. In April 2017, the orchestra announced that Morlot is to conclude his tenure as music director at the end of the 2018–2019 season.
Thomas Dausgaard first guest-conducted the orchestra in 2013. In October 2013, the orchestra named Dausgaard its next principal guest conductor, effective with the 2014-2015 season, with an initial contract of 3 years. In March 2016, the orchestra announced the extension of Dausgaard's contract as principal guest conductor through the 2019-2020 season. In October 2017, the orchestra announced the appointment of Dausgaard as its next music director, effective with the 2018-2019 season, with an initial contract of 4 seasons.
The 57th Annual Grammy Awards were held on February 8, 2015, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The show was broadcast live by CBS at 5:00 p.m. PST (UTC−8). Rapper LL Cool J hosted the show for the fourth consecutive time.The Grammy nominations were open for recordings released between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014. Breaking from tradition of a prime-time concert approach, the Grammy nominees were announced during an all-day event on December 5, 2014, starting with initial announcements on the CBS This Morning telecast, followed by updates made through The Grammys' official Twitter account.Sam Smith won four awards, including Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year for "Stay with Me" and Best Pop Vocal Album for In the Lonely Hour. Beck's album Morning Phase was named Album of the Year. This prompted Kanye West, who later said he thought Beyoncé should have won, to jokingly leap onstage to interrupt Beck in a re-enactment of his 2009 MTV VMA scandal, but West left the stage without saying anything. Both Pharrell Williams and Beyoncé took three honors; with her wins, Beyoncé became the second-most-honored female musician in Grammy history following Alison Krauss. Lifetime Achievement awards were given to the Bee Gees, George Harrison, Pierre Boulez, Buddy Guy, and Flaco Jiménez.In all, 83 Grammy Awards were presented, one more than in 2014.The show aired simultaneously on Fox8 in Australia, Sky TV in New Zealand, and on Channel O in South Africa.Adam Stern (conductor)
Adam Stern (born 1955) is an American conductor. Born in Hollywood, Stern was trained at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. He received his MFA in conducting in 1977 at the age of twenty-one, the youngest music student in CalArts' history to receive a master's degree.
Following years as a freelance conductor, composer and pianist, Stern served as Assistant Conductor (1992–1996) and Associate Conductor (1996–2001) of the Seattle Symphony, as well as Music Director of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra (1993–2000). Stern has guest-conducted throughout the United States, including engagements with the Milwaukee Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Boulder Philharmonic, Symphonic Wind Ensemble at Michigan State University, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, the New York Chamber Symphony, Philharmonia Northwest and the Sacramento Symphony. From 2001 to 2005, Stern was the music director and conductor of the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra. From 2005 to 2014, Stern was the music director and conductor of the Port Angeles Symphony, during which tenure he introduced dozens of works to the orchestra's repertoire and was credited with raising its playing standards to unprecedented heights.
A devotee of unjustly neglected works, Stern is particularly noted for his frequent performances of English music, especially that of Ralph Vaughan Williams.
He led the first Seattle Symphony performance of Vaughan Williams' Pastoral Symphony in 1996; In January 2007, he and the Seattle Philharmonic presented the Northwest premiere of the same composer's final symphony, No. 9. Stern has also led Seattle, Northwest, West Coast and world premieres of works by Aaron Copland, Gustav Holst, Aurelio de la Vega, Gerard Schurmann, Richard Peaslee, Richard Danielpour, Rodion Shchedrin, James Tenney, Roque Cordero, Karl Nord, Paul Stanhope and Goffredo Petrassi.
He has composed incidental music for numerous dramatic production in Los Angeles and Seattle. He was a music copyist for Frank Zappa; he appeared in the Richard Dreyfuss film The Competition. Stern has also performed as a pianist in concertos by Bach, Mozart, Haydn and Gershwin, and in chamber music performances of repertoire from the Baroque era to the present day. In 2006, Stern was The Narrator in staged performances of Igor Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat at the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival. In 2015, Stern was The Reciter in the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival's performances of William Walton's "Façade".
Stern's compositions include The Fairy's Gift for narrator and chamber ensemble (available on the Delos label), Partita Concertante for bassoon and wind ensemble, and Fanfare Pastorale, written for the Seattle Philharmonic. His music for the theater includes incidental scores for productions of Richard III, The Winter's Tale, King Lear, The Pillowman, Art and A Christmas Carol. His setting of Hans Christian Andersen's tale The Snow Queen for narrator and string quartet, with text adapted by Marta Zekan, was premiered by the St. Helens String Quartet and Ms. Zekan at a concert of the Seattle Chamber Music Society in February 2014. "Spirits of the Dead", a "rhapsody for narrator and orchestra" based on the early poem of Edgar Allan Poe, was premiered in October 2014 with narrator Edmund Stone and the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra under Stern's direction. Stern's most recent work, "Crossroads" for string quartet, received its premiere by the Serendipity Quartet on December 18, 2016.
In addition, Stern was a recording producer for the majority of recordings made by Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony. Stern won a 1990 Grammy Award for "Classical Producer of the Year".He is currently the Music Director of the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director of the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra. In July 2016 he led the "Pops" concert at the Oregon Coast Music Festival, and was named the Festival's Associate Conductor/"Pops" Conductor a few days later. He is also on the faculty at Cornish College of the Arts, where he teaches composition, conducting, orchestral repertoire studies and history of film music.
He has conducted the background scores to numerous films, including Runaway Jury, Heist, Thirteen Ghosts, Ghost Rider, Bee Season, Millions, Clifford's Really Big Movie, The Gift and Just Visiting.
Stern has resided in Seattle since 1992.Become Ocean
Become Ocean is an American orchestral composition by John Luther Adams. The Seattle Symphony Orchestra commissioned the work and premiered it at Benaroya Hall, Seattle, on 20 and 22 June 2013. The work won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music and the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.The work, in a single movement, was inspired by the oceans of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. The composer took his title from a phrase of John Cage in honour of Lou Harrison, and further explained his title with this note placed in his score:
"Life on this earth first emerged from the sea. As the polar ice melts and sea level rises, we humans find ourselves facing the prospect that once again we may quite literally become ocean."Benaroya Hall
Benaroya Hall is the home of the Seattle Symphony in Downtown Seattle, Washington, United States. It features two auditoria, the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, a 2500-seat performance venue, as well as the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, which seats 536. Opened in September 1998 at a cost of $120 million, Benaroya quickly became noted for its technology-infused acoustics, touches of luxury and prominent location in a complex thoroughly integrated into the downtown area. Benaroya occupies an entire city block in the center of the city and has helped double the Seattle Symphony's budget and number of performances. The lobby of the hall features a large contribution of glass art, such as one given the title Crystal Cascade, by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly.Benaroya Hall is named for noted philanthropist Jack Benaroya, whose $15.8 million donation was the first and largest of many for construction of the facility.The hall was designed by LMN Architects of Seattle, and was awarded the National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 2001. The structural engineer on the project was Magnusson Klemencic Associates.
The building sits directly above the Great Northern Tunnel, which carries the primary rail corridor through the city, and adjacent to the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, which has a station directly integrated into the building. The performance hall is insulated from the rumbles of the traffic in these tunnels and the streets outside the hall by floating on rubber pads which insulate it from the outer shell of the building. These same noise-insulation features would also serve to dampen the destructive effects of any prospective earthquakes.Cello Concerto (Bates)
The Cello Concerto of Mason Bates is an American concerto for cello and orchestra, dating from 2014. The work was a joint commission by the Seattle Symphony, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. It received its premiere on December 11, 2014 by the cellist Joshua Roman, former principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony and for whom Bates composed the concerto, and the Seattle Symphony, conducted by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.Eugene Linden (conductor)
Eugene Linden was an American conductor. He conducted the first public performance of the Tacoma Philharmonic Orchestra in March 1934 and directed the Seattle Symphony from 1948 to 1950. He is also credited as founder of the now defunct Northwest Grand Opera Company.Gerard Schwarz
Gerard Schwarz (born August 19, 1947) is an American conductor and trumpeter. He was the music director of the Seattle Symphony from 1985 to 2011.He served as Music Director of Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart festival between 1982 and 2001. From 2001 to 2006, Schwarz was music director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO). He also served as Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the New York Chamber Symphony and Music Advisor to Tokyo's Orchard Hall in conjunction with the Tokyo Philharmonic.
In 2007, Schwarz was named music director of the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, having served as principal conductor since 2005. There he has expanded the festival's audiences to the largest in its history, enhanced education and programming (to include a composer in residence and three new concert series), and increased collaboration with An Appalachian Summer Festival, where he is artistic partner for symphonic music programming.Karen Kresge
Karen Kresge (born 1957) is a British choreographer. She has choreographed many West End productions as well as "Seattle Symphony on Ice" in 1991. In 2006, Kresge was a judge on the ITV show Dancing on Ice. For unknown reasons, she did not return for the second series in 2007 and was replaced by Natalia Bestemianova. She went on to appear as a choreographer on Holiday on Ice in 2007 and 2009 with former Dancing on Ice colleague Robin Cousins.Live at Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony
Live at Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony is the fourth album by American singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, released on May 3, 2011, through Columbia Records. Recorded during two sold-out shows in November 2010 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Washington, the album features Washington-native Carlile and her long-time band (including brothers Phil and Tim Hanseroth) performing alongside the Seattle Symphony. Seattle-based producer and audio engineer Martin Feveyear recorded the concerts, which contained orchestral arrangements by Paul Buckmaster and Sean O'Loughlin. Carlile had previously performed with the Seattle Symphony in 2008 at the same venue.
The album contains three songs from Carlile's second studio album, The Story (2007), five from Give Up the Ghost (2009), and three covers, including Elton John's "Sixty Years On", Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence", and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (which also features Alphaville's "Forever Young"). Critical reception of Live at Benaroya Hall was positive overall. In the United States, the album reached peak positions of number sixty-three on the Billboard 200, number five on the Top Folk Albums chart, and number fourteen on the Top Rock Albums chart.Ludovic Morlot
Ludovic Morlot (born 11 December 1973) is a French conductor. He has been Music Director of the Seattle Symphony since autumn 2011.Milton Katims
Milton Katims (June 24, 1909 – February 27, 2006) was an American violist and conductor. He was music director of the Seattle Symphony for 22 years (1954–76). In that time he added more than 75 works, made recordings, premiered new pieces and led the orchestra on several tours. He expanded the orchestra's series of family and suburban outreach concerts. He is also known for his numerous transcriptions and arrangements for viola.Nikolai Sokoloff
Nikolai Grigoryevich Sokoloff (28 May 1886 – 25 September 1965) was a Russian-American conductor and violinist. He was born in Kiev, and studied music at Yale. From 1916 to 1917 he was musical director of the San Francisco People's Philharmonic Orchestra, where he insisted on including women in his orchestra and paying them the same as men. Sokoloff was the founding conductor and music director of the Cleveland Orchestra in 1918 where he remained until 1932. Between 1935 and 1938 he directed the Federal Music Project, a New Deal program that employed musicians to perform and educate the public about music. From 1938 to 1941 he directed the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. When he was a conductor he gave a violin to then nine-year-old violin prodigy Yehudi Menuhin.
Sokoloff was the uncle of the pianist Vladimir Sokoloff.Northwest Sinfonia
The Northwest Sinfonia is a symphonic orchestra based in Seattle, mostly renowned for recording soundtracks to motion pictures and computer games. It was founded in 1995 and is credited with over 100 recordings.
It draws its members mostly from the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, and Pacific Northwest Ballet orchestras. An additional chorus is added if required. (as the Northwest Sinfonia and Chorale)Sean Osborn
Sean Osborn (b. 1966) is a former clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and a regular substitute in the clarinet section of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. He has been a student of Stanley Hasty, Frank Kowalsky, and Eric Mandat.Seattle Civic Symphony Orchestra
Seattle Civic Symphony Orchestra was an amateur and, for one season, a professional orchestra which held its first concert on April 24, 1921, and held its last concert on May 4, 1924. It was founded and directed by Mary Davenport Engberg.
Mary Davenport Engberg intended the orchestra to be a vehicle for "the schooling of instrumentalists in orchestral routine" for "developing orchestra players for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra from the ranks of local students" and modeled on the relationship of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a training orchestra for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. The Seattle Civic Symphony Orchestra made its debut two months after the professional Seattle Symphony Orchestra's final concert of the 1920-21 season on February 15, 1921. The Seattle Symphony Orchestra subsequently suffered financial problems. Over five months after the Seattle Civic Symphony Orchestra's first concert, the Seattle Symphony board announced that the Seattle Symphony's 1921-2 season was cancelled. The Seattle Civic Symphony Orchestra continued as a separate artistic venue, and its personnel initially contained only one musician belonging to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra listed with his first and last name reversed and no longer listed the following year. Unlike the professional Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the personnel of the Seattle Civic Symphony Orchestra received no compensation.After three successful seasons, Mary Davenport Engberg announced her intention to transform the Seattle Civic Symphony Orchestra into a union orchestra in which the players were compensated. Compensation was apparently $8.00 per session. The orchestra thereafter boasted "21 musicians who played formerly in the Seattle Symphony Orchestra during its existence" out of a total of 62. Despite such a large representation of players, this statement implies that the Seattle Symphony Orchestra was still defunct. The Seattle Civic Symphony Orchestra was nevertheless able to attract violinist Efrem Zimbalist, Sr. to solo with the orchestra for its concert on November 25, 1923, and pianist Ossip Gabrilowitsch for its concert on May 4, 1924, both at the Metropolitan Theater. Despite these artistic successes, the May 4, 1924 concert marked the final appearance of the Seattle Civic Symphony Orchestra, apparently due to financial problems. The Seattle Symphony Orchestra was revived in 1926 under the direction of Karl Krueger after a five-year hiatus.Despite subsequent embellishments that Mary Davenport Engberg was the Seattle Symphony Orchestra's first female conductor, she in fact was never the director of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.Sir Mix-a-Lot
Anthony Ray (born August 12, 1963), better known by his stage name Sir Mix-a-Lot, is an American rapper and recording producer. He is best known for his hit song "Baby Got Back". Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, he grew up in Seattle's Central District and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1981. Early on, Sir Mix-A-Lot had an ear and a passion for music. Soon after high school he began DJing parties at local community centers. By 1983 Mix-A-Lot had begun playing weekends regularly at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club in South Seattle. Soon he moved locations and started throwing his parties at the Rotary Boys and Girls Club in the Central District. It was there that he met ‘Nasty’ Nes Rodriguez, a local radio DJ and host of Fresh Tracks, the West Coast's first rap radio show on Seattle station KKFX (KFOX).Symphony No. 4 (Hanson)
Symphony No. 4 Op. 34, "Requiem" (1943) by Howard Hanson (1896–1981) is Hanson's fourth symphony. It was inspired by the death of his father, taking its movement titles from sections of the Requiem Mass. He was awarded the 1944 Pulitzer Prize for Music, unanimously selected by the jury, for the piece. Hanson regarded it as his finest work.
Andante inquieto (Kyrie)
Elegy: Largo (Requiescat)
Presto (Dies irae)
Largo pastorale (Lux aeterna)It was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on December 3, 1943, conducted by the composer and the radio premiere was January 2, 1944 by the NBC Symphony Orchestra with Leopold Stokowski. One of his least heard symphonies, "this work represents American Romanticism at its best."Symphony No. 4 (Harbison)
The Symphony No. 4 is an orchestral composition by the American composer John Harbison. The work was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony with contributions from the philanthropists Richard and Constance Albrecht. It was given its world premiere in Seattle on June 17, 2004 by the Seattle Symphony under the direction of Gerard Schwarz.Thomas Dausgaard
Thomas Dausgaard (Danish: [tʌmas ˈdɑwˀsɡɒːˀ]; born 4 July 1963 in Copenhagen) is a Danish conductor.
In Scandinavia, Dausgaard has been principal conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra since 1997. From 2001 to 2004, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (DNSO), and became principal conductor in 2004, the first Danish conductor to hold the post. He concluded his principal conductorship of the DNSO at the close of the 2010-2011 season, and subsequently became the orchestra's æresdirigent (honorary conductor). In May 2017, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra announced that Dausgaard is to conclude his tenure as principal conductor after the 2018-2019 season, and subsequently to take the title of conductor laureate with the orchestra.Outside of Scandinavia, Dausgaard first guest-conducted the Seattle Symphony in March 2013. In October 2013, the Seattle Symphony named Dausgaard its next principal guest conductor, effective with the 2014-2015 season, with an initial contract of 3 years. In March 2016, the Seattle Symphony announced the extension of Dausgaard's contract as principal guest through the 2019-2020 season. In October 2017, the Seattle Symphony announced the appointment of Dausgaard as its next music director, effective with the 2019-2020 season, with an initial contract of 4 seasons.In March 2015, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (BBC SSO) announced the appointment of Dausgaard as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2016-2017 season. In January 2018, the BBC SSO announced the extension of Dausgaard's contract as chief conductor through the 2021-2022 season.Dausgaard has been a regular conductor of the music of Per Nørgård, and is the dedicatee of Nørgård's composition Terrains Vagues. For the Chandos and DaCapo labels, Dausgaard has conducted several recordings of Danish and other Scandinavian music, including works by Per Nørgård, Johan Svendsen, Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann, Rued Langgaard, Dag Wirén, Franz Berwald, August Enna and Asger Hamerik. He has also embarked on a series of recordings for SIMAX of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, as well as two CDs for BIS of the symphonies of Robert Schumann.Dausgaard and his wife Helle Hentzer have three sons.