Seattle Symphony Wins Orchestra of the Year!

The Seattle Symphony was named Orchestra of the Year at the 2018 Gramophone Classical Music Awards for its “exceptional contribution” to recorded music in the past year.

By Andrew Stiefel

Congratulations to Music Director Ludovic Morlot, Music Director Designate Thomas Dausgaard, the musicians of the Seattle Symphony and Chorale, and recording engineer Dmitry Lipay for winning Gramophone’s Orchestra of the Year Award!

The award, which recognizes the artistic excellence of an ensemble, was announced today at the 2018 Gramophone Classical Music Awards in London. The ceremony was broadcast live on

“The Seattle Symphony has a long and highly distinguished tradition of making recordings, and that tradition has continued under the musical directorship of Ludovic Morlot and his successor Thomas Dausgaard,” commented James Jolly, Editor in Chief for Gramophone.

He continued, “The orchestra’s dynamic work in concert and the resulting recordings have clearly captured the public’s imagination who delivered an astounding 47 percent of votes to make the Seattle Symphony our inaugural Orchestra of the Year, an Award sponsored for the first time by Apple Music.”

In an essay in honor of the award, music critic Thomas May writes that the Seattle Symphony “has transformed itself into a cherished, integral component of the cultural life of its rapidly growing home city through imaginative programming, collaborations with artists from a diversity of genres, and initiatives that mirror the progressive vision of its audience.”

The Seattle Symphony was among seven other international ensembles nominated for the award, and the only nominee outside of Europe. Selected by Gramophone’s editors and critics, the finalists were chosen from recordings made from June 2017 through May 2018 and the winner was voted on by the general public.

The eight ensembles nominated for the award were the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Il Pomo d’Oro, Seattle Symphony, Les Siècles and Vienna Symphony Orchestra.

The Gramophone Classical Music Awards celebrate the most outstanding recordings of the past year, and this new award gave listeners the opportunity to vote for an orchestra they believe has made an exceptional contribution to recorded music.

The orchestra was nominated for three recent releases from its in-house record label, Seattle Symphony Media, featuring music by Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen and Carl Nielsen.

Since the nomination last June, Morlot and the Seattle Symphony have released live recordings of Berio’s Sinfonia with Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth and Berlioz’s Requiem and La mort d’Orphée with tenor Kenneth Tarver.

Thank you to everyone who voted for the Seattle Symphony!

Seattle Symphony Media CDs are supported by Joan Watjen in memory of her husband, Craig. Live recordings were presented as part of the Delta Air Lines Masterworks Season and some programs were made possible in part by the Judith A. Fong Music Director’s Fund.

Posted on September 13, 2018