Review: Jordi Savall Routes of Slavery

Exclusives: Jordi Savall Routes of Slavery

Tuesday, November 6 at 7:30pm
Benaroya Hall

Presented by the Seattle Symphony and Early Music Seattle

Beloved early music interpreter Jordi Savall and artists representing Europe, Africa, and the Americas explore the music through which enslaved peoples forged a sense of community, preserved their own humanity, and found a way to endure in the face of unspeakable bondage. Savall and his collaborators honor their journeys through the incredible music legacy they left in this special presentation.

Read more >


Earlier this week my wife Luz Marina and I attended this profoundly moving presentation by one of my favorite concert and recording artists, Jordi Savall, one of the great masters of the Early Music movement.

The program incorporated music from throughout the 444-year history of the African slave trade, and provided the entranced audience a view into the great contributions to musical art and dance that the noble and grievously oppressed peoples native to the African and American continents made in the midst of their enforced suffering.

Savall gathered his own ensembles, Hespèrion XXI and La Capella Reial de Catalunya, along with musicians from Mali, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Guadeloupe, and the United States. Some of these were existing groups who perform their own specialized styles from the various cultures. Many of the performances demonstrated the way that slaves or their descendents took and transformed the European musical styles of those times, while others were authentic to their countries of origin.

Effectively interspersed with these incredibly diverse musical selections were narrations of historical passages that were recorded during that period, most powerfully and movingly delivered by Stephen Michael Newby, a composer, gospel/jazz vocalist, pianist, and professor of music at Seattle Pacific University.

My wife and I chose our seats in the second row, which permitted us to see the facial expressions of the performers from up close, and from my standpoint as a violist accustomed to performing on the Benaroya Hall stage as a Seattle Symphony member, it felt nearer to my musical life of being seated in the midst of the music.

We are deeply impressed by this initiative of Savall in putting together this collaboration on such an important topic in the collective life of humanity, and we wish them the greatest success in this musical, cultural, and educational endeavor.

Posted in Early Music, Social Action, World Music | Leave a comment

Seattle Symphony Named Orchestra of the Year at the 2018 Gramophone Classical Music Awards

September 13, 2018


SEATTLE, WA – Today, Gramophone announced the Seattle Symphony has won the Orchestra of the Year Award, an award that recognizes the artistic excellence of an ensemble. The winner of the Orchestra of the Year Award was announced at the 2018 Gramophone Classical Music Awards ceremony in the Grand Connaught Rooms in London.

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, finalists were chosen from recordings made from June 2017 through May 2018 and the winner was voted on by the general public. 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 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. 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,” commented James Jolly, Editor in Chief for Gramophone.

“We are all absolutely thrilled. This award validates our record label, Seattle Symphony Media, as a key element in defining our international reputation,” shared Krishna Thiagarajan, President and CEO of the Seattle Symphony. “As we begin a new season of exciting concerts, this award also recognizes the extraordinary artistic accomplishments made under Music Director Ludovic Morlot. We are so honored to be named Orchestra of the Year by Gramophone. Thank you to all our supporters and congratulations to Ludovic Morlot, Music Director Designate Thomas Dausgaard, the musicians of the Seattle Symphony and recording engineer Dmitriy Lipay for recognition of your artistic achievements!”

“I am so proud of our orchestra for winning Gramophone’s Orchestra of the Year Award,” said Ludovic Morlot, Seattle Symphony Music Director. “We’ve had an incredible journey together over the past seven years and I’m looking forward to another season of inspiring concerts and exciting releases of music on the Seattle Symphony Media label, with a focus on French repertoire.”

The eight international 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 award was announced alongside other special awards such as Artist of the Year, Young Artist of the Year and the coveted Recording of the Year. The Orchestra of the Year Award was the only one decided by public vote.

Alexander White, the Seattle Symphony & Opera Players’ Organization Chairperson and Assistant Principal Trumpet commented, “To be the first orchestra named Orchestra of the Year by Gramophone is an extraordinary honor for the musicians of the Seattle Symphony. The orchestra is thrilled to be nominated for this award amongst so many great orchestras and is proud to represent our city and supporters worldwide. We promise to continue giving phenomenal concerts and beautiful recordings of works both familiar and unfamiliar. On behalf of the musicians of the Seattle Symphony, thank you: we are Orchestra of the Year!”

Under Music Director Ludovic Morlot, the Seattle Symphony has seen thrilling performances, inventive programming, Grammy Award-winning recordings, touring to Carnegie Hall and the West Coast, and daring multimedia projects. The orchestra has embarked on an eight-year exploration of French music, spanning over a hundred years of music by Berlioz, Debussy, Dutilleux, Fauré, Messiaen, Ravel and others featured in concert and on Seattle Symphony Media, the orchestra’s in-house record label launched in 2014.

The 2018–2019 season includes the releases of three all-French albums on Seattle Symphony Media. On September 14, the orchestra will release Berlioz’s Requiem conducted by Ludovic Morlot, joined by tenor Kenneth Tarver. The digital release of this album also includes Tarver’s performance of La mort d’Orphée. In January 2019, an album featuring works of Berlioz, Ravel and Debussy with tenor Ian Bostridge will release including Debussy’s Le livre de Baudelaire orchestrated by John Adams and Berlioz’s Les nuits d’ete. Seattle Symphony Principal Oboe Mary Lynch and Principal Flute Demarre McGill as well as cellist Jay Campbell will be featured in an August release of concertos and orchestral works by Marc-André Dalbavie.

Music Director Designate Thomas Dausgaard assumes his role as Seattle Symphony’s Music Director in the 2019–2020 season, continuing recording projects with the orchestra that began following his appointment as Principal Guest Conductor in 2014. Dausgaard’s projects with the Seattle Symphony include the 2016 live recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 (performing version by Deryck Cooke), which was named Disc of the Year by Europadisc and nominated for a 2017 Gramophone Award with the review stating, “this exceptional issue from the Pacific Northwest ought to be a game-changer for all concerned.” During the 2018–2019 season, the orchestra will also continue to record its first-ever Nielsen cycle with Thomas Dausgaard, which began in November 2017 with the “thrilling” (Gramophone) release of Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4.



“The Seattle Symphony has a long tradition in the recording studios; under Gerard Schwarz, its Music Director from 1985 to 2011, it recorded extensively for Delos and Naxos leaving a priceless discography of largely American music. Now this 115-year-old ensemble is back making recordings (usually based on live performances) and is sounding superb. Ludovic Morlot (2011–19) has focused on French repertoire including Messiaen and Dutilleux — with a rewarding side-step towards Charles Ives — while the ensemble’s Music Director Designate Thomas Dausgaard has taken them into other underexplored areas of the repertoire. After last year’s Gramophone Award-shortlisted Mahler Ten, we’ve had a bracing and thrilling coupling of Nielsen’s Third and Fourth Symphonies.”

screenshot.15CHARLES IVES
Three Places in New England
Orchestral Set No. 2
New England Holidays
Ludovic Morlot, conductor
Seattle Symphony
Seattle Symphony Chorale


Poèmes pour Mi
Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine
Ludovic Morlot, conductor
Jane Archibald, soprano
Cynthia Millar, ondes Martenot
Michael Brown, piano
Northwest Boychoir
Seattle Symphony

screenshot.17CARL NIELSEN
Symphony No. 3, “Sinfonia espansiva”
Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable”
Thomas Dausgaard, conductor
Estelí Gomez, soprano
John Taylor Ward, baritone
Seattle Symphony

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Seattle Symphony Nominated for Orchestra of the Year Award by Gramophone

The Seattle Symphony is the only U.S. orchestra among eight international ensembles nominated for the 2018 Orchestra of the Year Award by Gramophone — vote now!

By Shiva Shafii

The Seattle Symphony is one of eight international ensembles nominated for the Orchestra of the Year Award, a new award that recognizes the artistic excellence of an ensemble. Compiled by Gramophone’s editors and critics, finalists were chosen from recordings made from June 2017 through May 2018. The winner will be voted on by the general public.

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

“Since the launch of our record label in 2014, we have been able to share the excitement of Seattle Symphony performances through recordings that capture the incredible artistry and innovative spirit of the orchestra,” shared Elena Dubinets, Vice President of Artistic Planning & Creative Projects at the Seattle Symphony, and Co-Executive Producer for Seattle Symphony Media.

She added, “We are honored to be nominated for this prestigious new award from Gramophone. Congratulations to Music Director Ludovic Morlot, Principal Guest Conductor and Music Director Designate Thomas Dausgaard, the exceptional musicians of the Seattle Symphony and recording engineer Dmitriy Lipay for recognition of your artistic achievements!”

The eight ensembles nominated are:
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra
Il Pomo d’Oro
Seattle Symphony
Les Siècles
Vienna Symphony Orchestra

The ensembles will be supported by two or three recordings each, and voters can listen to specially curated playlists on SpotifyApple Music and Qobuz featuring these recordings, giving voters the opportunity to hear these incredible ensembles alongside one another.

Gramophone’s Editor in Chief, James Jolly, commented, “In an age when streaming services offer such a wealth of recorded music, people can listen to the world’s great ensembles at work at the touch of a screen. Our list turns the focus on eight ensembles who have enriched the record catalogue this past year, and we hope this new award will help celebrate their extraordinary work.”

Cast your vote for the Seattle Symphony before midnight on July 31, 2018!


If you have trouble completing the voting process, you can open a private or incognito window in your browser. For instructions, please visit the help pages from ChromeSafari or Firefox.

Posted on June 19, 2018


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Seattle Symphony Embarks on Tour of American West

The Seattle Symphony’s spring tour features performances in Palm Desert and Las Vegas as well as a two-day residency at the University of California, Berkeley.

Music Director Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony will embark on a three-city tour, April 4–8, with performances in California and Nevada. Morlot and the orchestra will be joined by pianist Jeremy Denk in Palm Desert and Las Vegas before heading to a residency at the University of California, Berkeley.

There, audiences will be the first to experience unique, back-to-back performances of John Luther Adams’ Become Desert and Become Ocean on consecutive days. Additional activities, such as artist discussions and masterclasses, will be held on campus at UC Berkeley.

The Seattle Symphony commissioned and premiered Become Ocean in 2013 and the piece went on to win Pulitzer and Grammy awards. Following on the success of Become Ocean, the orchestra presents the world premiere of John Luther Adams’ Become Desert on March 29 and 31 at Benaroya Hall in a program including Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor” with Jeremy Denk.

Tour Schedule

McCallum Theatre | Palm Desert, CA

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 2

Tickets — This concert is currently at capacity.
For wait list information, please contact Donor Relations at

Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall | Las Vegas, NV

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor”
SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 2

Tickets from $25 — Purchase Now

Zellerbach Hall | Berkeley, CA

SIBELIUS: Symphony No. 2

Tickets from $38 — Purchase Now

Become Desert was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony with the generous support of Dale and Leslie Chihuly.

Zellerbach Hall | Berkeley, CA

SIBELIUS: The Oceanides
BRITTEN: Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia from Peter Grimes

Tickets from $38 — Purchase Now

Become Ocean was commissioned by the Seattle Symphony with the generous support of the Lynn and Brian Grant Family.

Follow the Orchestra

If you have family and friends in these areas, let them know the Seattle Symphony is coming to town! You can follow the orchestra’s travels on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

For information about patron activities around the orchestra’s Palm Desert and Berkeley concerts, contact Donor Relations at 206.215.4832 or


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Wes Dyring with Mark Stone and Friends

Wes Dyring with Mark Stone and Friends

Saturday, July 8 at 7:30pm
Bahá’í Center of Washtenaw County
5550 Morgan Road, Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197
Violist/violinist/arranger Wes Dyring, violist with the multi Grammy-winning Seattle Symphony, returns to the Ann Arbor area and his home state of Michigan with a fascinatingly diverse program, including Schumann’s delightful Fairy Tales, Ravel’s indolent Habanera and the inspiring Meditation from Thaïs by Massenet. Leading world multi-percussionist and composer Mark Stone will also join in with a set of his own compositions—a unique synthesis of multiple world traditions—as well as on Wes’ innovative and captivating arrangements of authentic Latin music for his Seattle group Wesito & Friends.
Assisting Wes and Mark are guest artists Bob Schneeweis, piano; Marcia Hilden Anderson, clarinet; Matt Dufresne, saxes; Miles Brown, bass; and Dan Piccolo and Alex Dyring, percussion.
Hear music of Wes Dyring at and Mark Stone at
Join us for this special, not-to-be-missed event! Admission is FREE. Refreshments will be served after the program.
Venue Information >
Posted in Arrangements, Performances, Viola, Violin, World Music | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Link for viewing Music Beyond Borders video

If you missed seeing our Music Without Borders: Voices from the Seven concert live simulcast, go to, and you can watch it there on the Seattle Symphony’s website. It was incredible – definitely one of the most important concerts we have played. This program was initiated by musicians in the orchestra and we also volunteered our time to do this!


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Seattle Symphony Presents Music Beyond Borders: Voices from the Seven


For Immediate Release: February 4, 2017


 FREE Concert on February 8 with Program Drawn from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen


Seattle–The Seattle Symphony will present Music Beyond Borders: Voices From the Seven on February 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium in Benaroya Hall. This FREE concert for the community will feature music drawn from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The community is invited to experience the rich and diverse musical heritage of these countries. The program is still being developed and will include as many of these seven countries as possible including works by Syrian-born Kinan Azmeh, Iraqi-born Rahim AlHaj and two Iranian-born composers, Gity Razaz and Alireza Motevaseli. These composers reside in the United States except for Motevaseli who lives in Iran.

“Our musicians and I are passionate about using our art form to create connections with others and celebrate the diversity of our community,” shared Music Director Ludovic Morlot. “Many of our musicians are immigrants themselves, so when they suggested we create a concert like this, we enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to bring the universal power of music to speak across boundaries and borders.”

President & CEO Simon Woods remarked, “During the past week, I’ve seen the arts community around the U.S. coming together in meaningful ways following the recent executive order restricting travel and immigration from certain countries. At the Seattle Symphony, inclusivity is a core value. We feel inspired to add our voice, with the hope that we can bring our community together to celebrate the freedom of expression and open exchange of ideas which the arts have always stood for, especially in times of division and conflict.”

Additional programming information will be posted on the event page on the Seattle Symphony website as it becomes available. The performance will be streamed live on the Seattle Symphony’s Facebook page.

Approximately one quarter of the Seattle Symphony’s musicians are immigrants.

The Seattle Symphony is a member of the League of American Orchestras, which has issued this statement on the executive order.



The Seattle Symphony is one of America’s leading symphony orchestras and is internationally acclaimed for its innovative programming and extensive recording history. Under the leadership of Music Director Ludovic Morlot since September 2011, the Symphony is heard from September through July by more than 500,000 people through live performances and radio broadcasts. It performs in one of the finest modern concert halls in the world — the acoustically superb Benaroya Hall — in downtown Seattle. Its extensive education and community engagement programs reach over 65,000 children and adults each year. The Seattle Symphony has a deep commitment to new music, commissioning many works by living composers each season. The orchestra has made nearly 150 recordings and has received two Grammy Awards, 23 Grammy nominations, two Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades. In 2014 the Symphony launched its in-house recording label, Seattle Symphony Media.


Rosalie Contreras, Seattle Symphony Vice President of Communications, (206) 215-4782
Jennifer Rice, Interim Publicist, (206) 450-7054
Posted in Community, Media, Social Action, Symphony, World Music | 2 Comments