Adventure Awaits: Ludovic Morlot on the 2017–2018 Season

What is Ludovic Morlot excited about? The Seattle Symphony's Music Director shares his personal highlights ahead of the 2017–2018 season.

By Andrew Stiefel

When I met with Seattle Symphony Music Director Ludovic Morlot to discuss the new season, one of the first things I wanted to know was: how does he do it?

“I have hundreds of ideas for programs, enough for ten seasons at least,” laughs Morlot. “The hard part is choosing which ones to present each year.” Morlot says he keeps a journal filled with ideas for concerts. When he’s traveling between engagements, he starts by writing down a piece and then listing all the possible pairings he could make with it.

“Every piece will bring out something different,” says Morlot.

The result is a season packed with great artists — Jeremy Denk, Renée Fleming, Gidon Kremer, Kenneth Tarver — and an enticing mix of repertoire. In many ways, the 2017–2018 season is the pinnacle of everything Morlot has been working towards since he joined the Seattle Symphony: broadening the repertoire, commissioning new music and promoting cross-genre collaborations.

“I trust our audience and I hope they trust me,” says Morlot. “That they know we’ll provide an element of familiarity and opportunities to hear their favorite music, but also that we’ll take them on a journey.

“I want to share my love for all this music with them.”

Read on as Morlot shares his personal highlights from the 2017–2018 season.

There is a special focus next season on Berlioz. What do you love about his music?

Berlioz was born not far from where I grew up, so I developed a special connection with his music when I was young. In his music I hear a completely unique and revolutionary voice. He was writing shortly after Beethoven and he had to completely find his own way. His parents were not musicians and he defied the musical establishment of his time. Out of this came his beautiful and innovative music. We’ll start the season with his cantata, The Death of Cleopatra, in September and we’ll play the RequiemLes nuits d'été and Symphonie fantastique in November.

Are there standout programs next season that people might overlook?

We will present a fully staged concert featuring Stravinsky’s Persephone in April. It will be an unforgettable evening — magnificent soloists, dancers, giant puppets and three choirs. Michael Curry is making the puppets and scenery for us. He has designed puppets for the Olympics, Disney, the Super Bowl, Cirque du Soleil and the Metropolitan Opera.

Of course I should mention the Prokofiev Concerto Festival, a celebration of Bernstein’s centenary, the Vivaldi Project

That sounds exciting! Could you share a little more about the Vivaldi Project?

Dmitry Sinkovsky will lead our Baroque and Wine series next season. He’s an amazing artist — conductor, countertenor and violinist — and an expert on Vivaldi. Each concert will explore a facet of Vivaldi’s music, including his Gloria and The Four Seasons.

You’ve said in the past that commissioning music creates your voice as a conductor. What premieres can we look forward to next season?

We have premieres by John Luther Adams, Alexandra Gardner, David Lang and Andrew Norman. I’m excited to welcome John back for another collaboration. We’ll premiere his latest orchestral work, Become Desert, in March. This is part of an orchestral cycle that began with Become River and Become Ocean.

Where can you find performances of Symphonie fantastique and Carmina burana, a John Luther Adams world premiere, plus guest artists like Lang Lang, John Williams and Renée Fleming all in one incredible season of music? The Seattle Symphony's 2017–2018 season! Subscribe today and get ready to listen boldly!

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Posted on March 3, 2017

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