Ludovic Morlot

Biography

The French conductor Ludovic Morlot has been Music Director of the Seattle Symphony since 2011. Amongst the many highlights of his tenure, the orchestra have won two Grammy Awards and gave an exhilarating performance at Carnegie Hall in 2014, as reported in the The New York Times: ‘The performance Mr. Morlot coaxed from his players was rich with shimmering colours and tremulous energy.’  
  
During the 2016/17 season Ludovic and the Seattle Symphony will continue to invite their audiences to ‘listen boldly’, presenting Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges, completing their cycle of Beethoven Symphonies and Piano Concertos and several world premieres including compositions by Agata Zubel and Gabriel Prokofiev. All of this will be complemented by the Seattle Symphony’s highly innovative series; Sonic Evolution and [untitled]. This season will also see the release of several more recordings on the orchestra’s label, Seattle Symphony Media.  A box set of music by Dutilleux was recently released to mark the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
   
This season, Ludovic will return to conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic and make his debut with the Minnesota Orchestra.  He has regular relationships with the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony and has also conducted the symphony orchestras in Cleveland and Philadelphia.  Ludovic has a particularly strong connection with the Boston Symphony Orchestra having been Seiji Ozawa Fellowship Conductor in 2001 and subsequently appointed assistant conductor for the orchestra and their Music Director James Levine (2004-07).  Since then he has conducted the orchestra in subscription concerts in Boston, at Tanglewood and on a tour to the west coast of America.
   
In Europe, Ludovic will this season make his debut with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, in the closing concert of the prestigious Wien Modern Festival. He will also make his debut with the Netherlands Radio and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras as well as returning to the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Last season’s engagements included the DSO Berlin and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.  He has also conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London and on tour in Germany.  Other recent notable performances have included the Royal Concertgebouw, Czech Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Tonhalle, Budapest Festival, Orchestre National de France, Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestras.   Ludovic served as conductor in residence with the Orchestre National de Lyon under David Robertson (2002-04).  
   
Ludovic Morlot was Chief Conductor of La Monnaie for three years (2012-2014). During this time he conducted several new productions including La Clemenza di Tito, Jenufa and Pelléas et Mélisande. Concert performances, both in Brussels and Aix-en-Provence, included repertoire by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Britten, Webern and Bruneau.
   
Trained as a violinist, Ludovic studied conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London and then at the Royal College of Music as recipient of the Norman del Mar Conducting Fellowship.  Ludovic was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 2014 in recognition of his significant contribution to music. He is Chair of Orchestral Conducting Studies at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle.
   
July 2016: This biography must not be edited without the permission of Askonas Holt Ltd

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  • Ludovic Morlot and Robert Spano at Aspen

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Schedule

Benaroya Hall, SEATTLE

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No.9 'Choral'

CONDUCTOR: LUDOVIC MORLOT

Soprano: Mary Elizabeth Williams
Mezzo-Soprano: Rinat Shaham
Tenor: Kenneth Tarver
BASS: JONATHAN LEMALU

Seattle Symphony
Seattle Symphony Chorale
Northwest Boychoir

Benaroya Hall, SEATTLE

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No.9 'Choral'

CONDUCTOR: LUDOVIC MORLOT

Soprano: Mary Elizabeth Williams
Mezzo-Soprano: Rinat Shaham
Tenor: Kenneth Tarver
BASS: JONATHAN LEMALU

Seattle Symphony
Seattle Symphony Chorale
Northwest Boychoir

Benaroya Hall, SEATTLE

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No.9 'Choral'

CONDUCTOR: LUDOVIC MORLOT

Soprano: Mary Elizabeth Williams
Mezzo-Soprano: Rinat Shaham
Tenor: Kenneth Tarver
BASS: JONATHAN LEMALU

Seattle Symphony
Seattle Symphony Chorale
Northwest Boychoir

Benaroya Hall, SEATTLE

CHARLES IVES: New England Holidays:
No. 1 Washington's Birthday
No. 2 Decoration Day
No. 3 4th of July
No. 4 Thanksgiving and Forefathers’ Day
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, Emperor”

Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Piano: EMMANUEL AX

Benaroya Hall, SEATTLE

CHARLES IVES: New England Holidays:
No. 1 Washington's Birthday
No. 2 Decoration Day
No. 3 4th of July
No. 4 Thanksgiving and Forefathers’ Day
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, Emperor”

Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Piano: EMMANUEL AX

Benaroya Hall, SEATTLE

SMETANA Dance of the Comedians from The Bartered Bride
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto
DVORAK Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88

Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Violin: Joshua Bell

Benaroya Hall, SEATTLE

SMETANA Dance of the Comedians from The Bartered Bride
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto
DVORAK Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88

Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Violin: Joshua Bell

Benaroya Hall, SEATTLE

SMETANA Dance of the Comedians from The Bartered Bride
TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto
DVORAK Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88

Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Violin: Joshua Bell

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Seattle Symphony

Ludovic Morlot is Music Director of Seattle Symphony.
   
During the 2016/17 season Ludovic and the Seattle Symphony will continue to invite their audiences to ‘listen boldly’, presenting Ravel’s L'enfant et les sortilèges, completing their cycle of Beethoven Symphonies and Piano Concertos and several world premieres including compositions by Agata Zubel and Gabriel Prokofiev. All of this will be complemented by the Seattle Symphony’s highly innovative series; Sonic Evolution and [untitled].
 
The orchestra record for their own label, Seattle Symphony Media and have won two Grammy Awards. A box set of music by Dutilleux was recently released to mark the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
   
In May 2014, Seattle Symphony performed at Carnegie Hall in New York. Receiving rave reviews in the New York Times and the Financial Times.

In March 2016 Ludovic gave a TV interview for Kiro 7.

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Press

Concert 28 October 2016

With the Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall

“It’s been immensely rewarding to observe Morlot’s growing confidence and sense of authority with the Beethoven canon. The relatively neglected Second Symphony, which filled out the program’s second half, encompassed a flowing, Mozartian lyricism in its slow movement and outrageous humor in the finale — Beethoven out-Haydning Haydn. Inspiring some of Morlot’s most thrillingly risk-taking instincts in the outer movements, the sweep and energy of Beethoven’s invention remained at the center of this performance, making the Eroica seem less a gigantic leap forward than a continuation.”
Thomas May, The Seattle Times, 28th October 2016

DUTILLEUX (VOLUME 3)

CD RECORDING

With Seattle Symphony on their own label

"Here is the third instalment of Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra's Henri Dutilleux cycle, also available in a three-disc box with Vols 1 and 2. By now we know what to expect: impeccable orchestral playing under the stewardship of a conductor whose instinct for Dutilleux's harmonic and gestural sensibilities feels unerringly spot-on." Gramophone Magazine, October 2016

Concert 13 September 2016

With the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl

“Though the evening got colder as it went along, the opening movement of Ravel’s “Rapsodie Espagnole” still sounded suitably sun-drenched, and Morlot established the right thrust of the swaying rhythms in the subsequent movements, the delicate colors emerging clearly through the loudspeakers. The final movement, “Feria,” exploded splendidly, with no preciousness in the central section. It was a distinguished performance all around. Morlot also did a fine job with Ravel’s “La Valse” to close the evening. There wasn’t much in the way of nebulous dread in the opening measures, as Morlot emphasized French clarity instead of sonic fog. The fast waltz rhythm was clearly spelled out from the beginning and maintained throughout the piece, the beat kept firm and clear, with Morlot allowing himself only brief indulgences of rubato and a manically cranked-up tempo in the final seconds. I imagine that a complete recorded Ravel cycle by Morlot in Seattle would be quite competitive.” Richard S. Ginell, Los Angeles Times, 14 September 2016

Concert 09 June 2016

With the Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall

"The [Seattle] symphony has been active in its New Music WORKS project and one result was the premiere at this concert of Anna Clyne’s “The Midnight Hour,” commissioned by the SSO and l’Orchestre nationale d’Ile de France... It’s a gripping work with brilliant orchestration, as colorful in its way as the Gershwin, as bright, as rhythmic. May we hear more of this young composer’s output... Despite having played a full and very busy season, the orchestra musicians sounded as fresh and responsive to Morlot as though they were just starting out the year." Philippa Kiraly, The SunBreak, 10 June 2016

Concert 05 June 2016

With the Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall

"An orchestra’s music director makes many choices during the course of a season, but certainly one of Ludovic Morlot’s best decisions for 2015-16 was the appointment of Jean-Yves Thibaudet as artist in residence at the Seattle Symphony. … The soloist’s rapport with Morlot was evident throughout the performance, and the Symphony musicians — especially the principal winds — outdid themselves with beautiful solo responses to the soloist in the second Adagio assai movement. The fiery energy of the final movement drew sustained applause at the conclusion. "
Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times, 6 June 2016

Concert 02 June 2016

With the Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall

"The quality of the performance, the individual solo work from the musicians, and Morlot’s supercharged conducting, all made this program one of the landmarks of the season."
Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times, 3 June 2016

Concert 19 May 2016

With the CBSO at Birmingham Symphony Hall

"Water, water, everywhere. From the roiling seas of Sibelius’s The Tempest prelude to the vast glittering swathes of John Luther Adams’s Become Ocean, our planet’s waters inspired this superbly played CBSO concert. The guest conductor Ludovic Morlot plunged straight in to Sibelius’s elemental world, whipping up with nimble gestures a tempest of howling winds and stomach-churning waves; the strings rose and fell with such power that I felt slightly seasick." (Five stars)
Rebecca Franks, The Times, 23 May 2016
"Orchestral beauties swirl and build in an ever-changing score as the UK sees its premiere of John Luther Adams’ glorious Pulitzer-winning Become Ocean...First performed in Seattle in 2013, Become Ocean was the work that finally nailed John Luther Adams’ place among the front rank of living US composers. The 42-minute orchestral score won the Pulitzer prize for music the following year; it was released on CD, and has been widely performed across Europe. But it has only now reached these shores, in the City of Birmingham Orchestra’s concert with the same conductor who was responsible for its world premiere, Ludovic Morlot." (Five Stars) Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 20 May 2016
"Even finer overall was the Left-Hand Piano Concerto, its three-movements-in-one format seamlessly and cumulatively negotiated so that intensity never flagged. Nor was Osborne fazed by its conception, playing with a clarity and definition as did not preclude a searching eloquence in the limpid theme whose  heightened return in the coda crystallizes the expressive depth of this work overall. Morlot secured  orchestral playing of real impact, while Osborne returned for an ‘Oiseaux tristes’ (second piece from Miroirs) interpreted with ineffable poise." Richard Whitehouse, Classical Source, 19 May 2016
"The same composer's The Oceanides is a major work, though one seldom heard in the concert hall, so it was a pleasure to encounter a performance as auspicious as this. Beginning with a vivid impression of clearing mists, superbly played by violins and timpani, the piece progressed through other lifelike impressions of birdsong and the push of the sea to the central section, leading to the orchestral climax and the 'appearance' of the Oceanides – daughters of the sea god, Neptune. This was a wonderfully spotlit moment, before the piece settled back into the troubled stillness of the sea after a very different storm to the one that blew through The Tempest." Richard Ely, Bachtrack, 20 May 2016

Concert 21 April 2016

With the Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall

"Padmore negotiated the angular lines of this complex score with alacrity and finesse, with  conductor Ludovic Morlot providing well-balanced and supportive orchestral accompaniment.  The exquisitely lyrical music written for such lines as “She dreams of golden gardens” (Wilfred  Owen’s “The Kind Ghosts”), and the anguish of Wordsworth’s “Sleep no more!” (in “The  Prelude”) were vividly realized in Padmore’s performance. Several orchestral principal players  provided particularly beautiful solo work, with Stefan Farkas’ English horn among the most  memorable." Melinda Bargreen, The Seattle Times, 22 April 2016

Concert 01 February 2015

With The Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall

"Luciano Berio’s groundbreaking “Sinfonia,” which helped pave the way for the freewheeling compositional styles now in vogue, is too seldom heard. So Ludovic Morlot’s stirring rendition with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Monday evening was most welcome." James R. Oestreich, The New York Times, 02 February 2016

Concert 21 January 2016

With The Boston Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Hall

"A less diligent, less capable, or less conscientious maestro might easily have chosen to swap out the Martinu for a more familiar score requiring less intense preparation. Not Morlot... Morlot drew a forcefully articulated performance and brought out the richly layered qualities of the string writing in particular." Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe, 22 January 2016

IVES

CD Recording, Symphonies 3 and 4

With Seattle Symphony on their own label

"Once considered unperformable, the Symphony No. 4 with choirs and orchestras in various wild juxtapositions comes through with clarity and purpose in an often dreamy panorama of Americana." David Patrick Stearns, Philly.com 7 February 2016
"Ludovic Morlot and his Seattle musicians showed that they were on Ives' tricky wavelength last year with their recording of the composer's very different Second Symphony. Here Morlot surpasses himself with a programme that includes both the arch-strange Fourth Symphony and its predecessor, one of the composer's simplest and most straightforward works, in an equally fine performance." Ung-Aang Talay, Bangkok Post, 1 March 2016
"This live performance is overwhelming, and made me a believer. Ludovic Morlot's Seattle players realise that pin-sharp accuracy counts for nothing if the spirit isn't there." Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, 09 April 2016
"The second movement is especially fine, the ragtime rhythmic energy of the opening frogmarched towards thunderous burn-out as Morlot keeps subliminal details ticking over: the microtonal skid of a honky-tonk piano shyly peeks above the orchestral frame before dragging a solo violin into its orbit, all abruptly snuffed out by a loud-mouthed, raucous marching band." Philip Clark, Gramophone, 23 April 2016
"Conductor Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony seem comfortable with the work’s contradictions.  Ethereal high strings evoke night uncannily in the short Prelude yet orchestral interruptions are harsh;  meanwhile a hopeful chorus sings the hymn Watchman." Roger Knox, The Whole Note, March 2016
“…Morlot and the Seattle Symphony make music with this piece, surrendering themselves to the idea that Ives loved commotion and disorder in his works. The composer also wanted the humour to filter out of the chaos and Morlot does exceptionally well to heed those elements and bring them to life." John Corcelli, Critics At Large, 9 March 2016

Adams

Concert 13 November 2015

Disney Concert Hall with the LA Philharmonic

"Having experienced Become Ocean in the Seattle Symphony's home concert hall and at Carnegie Hall (where the orchestra played it last year), I found that this most recent realization elicited mesmerisingly complex and unpredictable emotions. While the first performances of Become Ocean reminded many including this listener) of the colours and shifting textures of Wagner's Rheingold Prelude – essentially, in other words, of a play with surfaces – this time the overlapping columns of harmonies seemed closer in spirit to the anguished awareness of Parsifal." Thomas May, Bachtrack, 15 November 2015

DVORAK & VARESE

CD Recording

With Seattle Symphony on their own label

“… what does come across is Morlot’s coltish excitement, particularly in a high-energy Allegro molto. An over-stately approach here is death to this masterpiece: here we have something nearing wild abandon, particularly in the final Allegro con fuoco, which zips unselfconsciously along, even if passagework is occasionally congested, and Morlot’s all-guns-blazing approach favours volume over subtlety. The Largo receives a tender, flowing reading, even if the cor anglais solo is rather raw, while the scherzo has a fine elasticity and sense of dance, making Rafael Kubelík’s Berlin Philharmonic recording sound positively arthritic in comparison.”


Helen Wallace, BBC Music Magazine, October 2015

Concert 25 October 2015

With the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Benaroya Hall

"Morlot's sensitivity to dynamics and timbral blends paid rich dividends. He underscored the aggressive trumpet-and-drums sonorities of the first and last movements – with positively Jovian thunder  contributed by timpanist Michael Crusoe. At the end of Mozart's grand contrapuntal peroration – another 'modernist' glance back at the past, anticipating Stravinsky's Symphony in C by 150 years – the 'thunderbolts' that set the whole symphony in motion returned thrillingly transformed into a full-scale storm of jubilation." Thomas May, Bachtrack, 26 October 2015

Concert 8th October 2015

At The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC

“Morlot, the music director of the Seattle Symphony, has a particular affinity for French music, and he showed it here with detailed conducting and attention to the richness of the scores.” Washington Post, 8th October 2015

DUTILLEUX (volume 2)

CD RECORDING

With Seattle Symphony on their own label

“…the performances and recording are superior, making this one of the best classical CDs of the year." Audiophile Audition, September 2015
"With Morlot, veins of orchestral perspective are opened up. The introductory section, 'Incantatoire', gives notice of what to expect: intricately balanced woodwind projecting with a dynamic sense of shift between background and foreground, rapid clarinet figurations bubbling over the top like an unexpected swell of laughter. When the brass enter with sustained fanfares, the orchestral topography turns on its axis again as the woodwind are discreetly faded to the peripheries... Morlot evokes the thrill of ears discovering orchestral vistas and architecture in the moment." Philip Clark, Gramophone, October 2015
"The art of timbre, precise rhythms without being pushed, a mastery of sound sound levels - essential for the syntax of this music; Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony have everything you need here." Jean-Charles Hoffelé, Artalinna, 19 Novembber 2015
"The second release in Morlot's cycle of the complete orchestral works by the late, great French composer Henri Dutilleux contains three 20th-century classics. Meticulously crafted music that delights the ear as it engages the mind, it is brilliantly played by the Seattle orchestra and the probing violinist Augustin Hadelich (in the violin concerto "L'Arbre des songes")." John von Rhein, The best classical recordings of 2015, Chicago Tribune 4 Dec 2015
"Ludovic Morlot, had  a long, close artistic relationship with the French composer Henri Dutilleux, whose centennial is in 2016. And his orchestra is in its element with this colorful, rhythmically complex music."
Barney Sherman, Iowa Public Radio, 21 January 2016
"...recorded by Ludovic Morlot, with the Seattle Symphony, is notable for its excellent mastering, which enhances the work’s already galactic compass." Elliot Wright, The Whole Note, 25 January 2016

Concert 26 July 2015

With the Aspen Festival Orchestra

Morlot led a compelling performance of Stravinsky's complete Petrushka ballet score, lavishing special attention on instrumental colors...Morlot sketched a leisurely and sonically soothing 'Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun' (Debussy).

Aspen Times 27 July 2015

Concert 13 July 2015

Tanglewood Music Centre Orchestra

"In the close confines of Ozawa Hall, Morlot went for a full, richly detailed sound...in the Debussy suite, Morlot and the players went beyond sensuous surfaces to bring out the colors, swirl, depth and, finally, ecstasy of the evocations of dance and festival."

Berkshire Eagle, 14 July 2015

Concert 12 July 2015

At Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Here [Dvorak's 7th Symphony] the interplay of strings, brass and woodwind sections was highlighted with carefully worked out dynamics to produce vivid colours so characteristic of the composer...the poignant moment, especially in the slow movement, were deeply expressive." Boston Musical Intelliger

"Morlot, a former BSO assistant conductor coaxed some impressively heated, muscular playing that was utterly persuasive...Most striking of all on Sunday was the opening account of John Luther Adams’s “The Light That Fills the World.” Inspired by the light that arrives at the end of the long Alaskan winters, the work presents a wash of sonic color, densely layered and slowly shifting. Morlot managed the flow artfully, and the entire Shed seemed to vibrate with these sounds of the north."

The Boston Globe, 13 July 2015

Stravinsky & Raskatov

CD Recording

With Seattle Symphony on their own label

Ludovic Morlot directs a vividly coloured performance [Rite of Spring], so much so that the opening 'Adoration of the Earth' sounds almost more like Ravel than Stravinsky...the playing is undeniably brilliant, and expertly controlled by Morlot. Gramophone Magazine, June 2015

'Sonic Evolution' Concert

With the Seattle Symphony and rock bands 'Mad Season' and 'Temple of the Dog'

"Coming into the evening, it was almost inconceivable that this show could live up to the amazing hype. But the magical evening was all it was cracked up to be and so much more. The audience for this incredible spectacle owes a debt of gratitude to symphony music director, Ludovic Morlot, for having the vision to bring together on one stage the Seattle Symphony and rock musicians for all to see and hear."
Seattle Symphony's 'Sonic Evolution' concert, bringing together pop/rock/classical music in new symphonic compositions.

Seattle Refined

John Luther Adams

CD Recording

With Seattle Symphony on their own label

Morlot fully realizes the subtleties of the undulating score, which builds into surging, wavelike peaks of sound at three key intervals. The Seattle Symphony — the same orchestra featured on the Seattle Opera “Ring” set — does a heroic job here as well. Seattle Times 9 November 2014
His two obsessions combine in Become Ocean, an enormous seascape that won him this year’s Pulitzer Prize for music and is performed with sensational swimminess by the Seattle Symphony under Ludovic Morlot. It’s partly a warning about global warming, but that makes this intricately constructed 42-minute immersion sound worthy, when listening to it is all about just giving in to the flow. 
(4 star review) The Times

Concert 6 November

With the Seattle Symphony

Morlot drew out the absorbing emotions, the angst and the calm in Tchaikovsky’s familiar Fourth Symphony, with fine playing from the musicians. It was easy to sense the composer’s alternating misery and moments of hope in this performance.

Seattle Times 7 November 2014

BBC Music Magazine CD Review

Review of the first four discs on the Seattle Symphony's own Label

The technical standard of the playing is extremely high. The orchestra negotiates the perils of Dutilleux's 'Scherzo' with apparent sangfroid, and at the speed indicated...Ludovic Morlot and the engineers make sure we hear all the counterpoint in the more complex scores such as the Ives Symphony and the Rapsodie espagnole, and overall the more energetic passages receive the treatment they deserve...The American disc is a must for the recording of the premiere of Carter's 'Instances', his last orchestral work, dedicated 'to Ludovic Morlot, who has performed many of my works so beautifully'. A marvellous piece, superbly played. BBC Music Magazine

Gramophone Magazine CD review

Seattle Symphony

The Seattle Symphony's performance [Ives Symphony No 2]...is an interpretation of terrific integrity, bold but based on sound architectural foundtions and with a sure sense of shape, momentum and, as in the Saint-Saens Symphony [No 3], an acute ear for the nitty-gritty of the orchestral fabric. Gramophone Magazine, Awards Edition 2014

RAVEL/SAINT-SAENS

CD Recording

Seattle Symphony

"One of the attractive features of this Seattle disc, however, is that it has a true ensemble quality...The hall's acoustics, too, foster a good clear, well-balanced sound, of which Morlot is able to take full advantage in refined instrumental detail and colouring of the exuberance and sultriness in Ravel's Alborada del gracioso and Rapsodie espagnole with a limpid mellowness and warmth in the Pavane pour une enfante défunte. In the Saint-Saens Symphony, these same traits of lucid definition are coupled with a natural feel for the music's pulse and expressive flux. Contracts of energy and restraint are eloquently moulded here into a cohesive dramatic shape." The Daily Telegraph , 12 July 2014

Dutilleux & Ravel

Concert: 5 June 2014

Seattle Symphony

Dutilleux’s Second Symphony is incisive yet wildly colorful, and Mr. Morlot and the Seattle players did it justice on all counts. The orchestra and chorus (vocalizing textless swoons and moans) also gave an excellent account of Daphnis et Chloé. New York Times, 8 June 2014

Barbican Debut

BBC Symphony Orchestra, 24 May 2014

Morlot was absolutely sure-footed, conjuring a wonderful palette of colour from the BBC orchestra in a score that dazzles with echoes of composers from Offenbach to Stravinsky and yet manages to be unmistakably and idiomatically Poulenc from start to finish. The Guardian, 27 May 2014
Morlot covered himself in liturgical glory with a carefully-considered reading that held many incidental beauties [Faure Requiem]. He used Fauré's full orchestration less to upholster the Requiem than to refine it: for most of its duration he kept such a tight leash on his players that their sound appeared to emerge from within the choral texture itself, like light from a stained glass window. The Arts Desk 25 May 2014
The orchestra brought out the multitude of colours that makes up Poulenc's wind-heavy orchestration. Morlot's tempi were on the fast side, fitting for this very fast-paced opera. Bachtrack, 26 May 2014

Concert 15 May 2014

Seattle Symphony

No. 70 begins “Vivace con brio.” In Morlot’s hands it was certainly fast, and had a lightness and clear articulation in the strings which gave it plenty of “brio,” even ebullience. Vibrato was only used as an ornament. There was serenity in the second movement, robustness in the third and the forward-looking fourth sounded exciting and urgent...Morlot gave this Haydn symphony and Mozart’s Symphony No 36, (the “Linz”), which ended the program, an infinite variety of colors and shadings which in turn produced subtle changes of mood and expectation.

Seattle Times 17 May 2014

Carnegie Hall debut

Seattle Symphony Orchestra, May 2014


The performance Mr. Morlot coaxed from his players was rich with shimmering colors and tremulous energy. The engagement of the musicians with this work, and with Mr. Morlot, came through in every moment. [John Luther Adams' Become Ocean]
 
If Become Ocean tries to lull you into a reflective state, Desérts [Varèse] tries to rile you up with gritty blasts of dissonance, spare motifs and sputtering rhythmic figures. But it was the suspenseful, restrained stretches of the piece that stood out in this compelling performance.

After Become Ocean, the expanses of Debussy’s La Mer seemed by comparison animated, eventful and wild. This had also to do with the unusually bright, vibrant and muscular performance Mr. Morlot drew from the orchestra, a bold approach to a familiar score.
New York Times
..it was a wonderful concert, imaginatively planned and brilliantly executed.  The central attraction involved the New York premiere of John Luther Adams' Become Ocean.. the score casts a fine abstract spell, predicated on constantly evolving textures and surprising dynamic structures. After the interval, Morlot reinforced the modernist sparkle of Edgard Varèse's Déserts and mastered a propulsive exploration of Debussy's La Mer. Without fuss, he matched technical bravura with expressive bravado.
Financial Times (5 stars)
Seattle Symphony caused a sensation last night. 
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Lucid textures and thoughtful playing suggested that this is an orchestra as at home in the old as the new. Nothing more could be asked. Bachtrack.com
"...A meditation on climate extremes, prompting thoughts of one coast drenched in floods and the other parched by drought, the program was that rarest of classical happenings: an intellectual event. Just as significant was the twentieth and twenty-first-century chamber concert that the orchestra had mounted the previous night at (Le) Poisson Rouge. This was representative of an auxiliary Seattle Symphony series called '[untitled]', and it suggested a new, more flexible kind of ensemble." Alex Ross, New Yorker, 26 May 2014

Dutilleux

CD recording

Seattle Symphony

This beautifully recorded disc is a knockout...Dutilleux’s Symphony No. 1 is a gorgeous, eerie, shape-shifting dynamo of a piece. Morlot’s handling of the piece’s protean timbres and melodies is seamless and seductive. He makes a mesmerizing case that this is one of the great 20th-century symphonic classics. Recorded live in Benaroya Hall, they serve both as keepsakes for those lucky enough to have attended the concerts and as eloquent indications of where the Symphony is headed, both sonically and in terms of repertoire, under Morlot’s direction. Seattle Times
Morlot shows himself a master of Dutilleux’s idiom. New York Times, June 2014
Light, flux and precision are key components in the ultra-refined aesthetic of Henri Dutilleux... They are unmistakable in this attractive conspectus of the French composer's symphonic work, which explores abstract musical ideas in a traditional but highly personal - to engaging effect in the Debussyan First Symphony.  Financial Times (4 stars)

DEBUSSY

La Mer

Seattle Symphony March 2014

'La Mer' found Morlot and the orchestra at their best, producing urgent, lyrical washes of colors that positively shimmered throughout every section. Warm, well balanced and full of life, this is an orchestral sound of remarkable beauty.

The Seattle Times

DEBUSSY

Images

RSO Berlin, March 2014

Le matin d’un jour de fête captured the playful atmosphere of a fair as the violinists strummed their instruments in dialogue with the winds...Morlot maintained a high energy among the players that captured the fresh splendour of spring.
Musical America

Bruneau Requiem, CD recording

La Monnaie Orchestra

Imagine the flamboyant influence of Berlioz leavened by Fauré's soft lyricism, and you get Bruneau's Requiem. It makes a more than passing impression in this strongly committed performance. BBC Music Magazine, April 2014

The performance in general rises to the occasion, and the orchestra alone is mellifluously shaped and hauntingly shaded for Marius Constant's distillation of Debussy's Pelléas and Mélisande.

Gramophone Magazine, April 2014

Orchestre National de France

Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

The technical precision of the conductor was certainly needed for this piece and he brought out all the textures of the music and the beauty of the orchestration Res Musica

Jenůfa - February/March 2014

La Monnaie

"In the pit Ludovic Morlot, now in his second season as La Monnaie’s chief conductor (he is also music director of the Seattle Symphony), is alert to the score’s churning musical motifs and dramatic tension..." New York Times 30 January 2014
The conductor Ludovic Morlot seemed unperturbed by his first encounter with a Janàcek opera, handling the tricky orchestration without apparent difficulty, and there was no weakness in the cast. Opera Magazine May

Recording Bruneau Requiem

La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra

"There are passages of great serenity that pre-empt Fauré's famous setting, which might not have seemed so groundbreaking in its day if Bruneau's version had been premiered first. Ludovic Morlot and his Belgian forces sound classy in it." The Guardian 9 January 2014

Mahler

Symphony No. 6

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

"The virtues of Morlot’s interpretation began with the lean and incisive sonorities he etched from the start. Every shade of color was extracted from the huge orchestral forces, and it was not just the loud passages that came off so well. There were warmly poetic horn solos by Jeffrey Fair, suitably grinding ensembles in the trombone section. The slow movement seemed more complex in texture than it usually sounds. We were treated throughout to singing woodwinds, remarkably delicate snare-drum playing by Michael Werner, great radiant, soaring lines from the high violins, and in the finale, clouds of urgent polyphony that spread enthrallingly through the whole string choir."
Seattle Times, 8 November 2013

MOZART

Clemenza di Tito

La Monnaie

"At the head of the orchestra on good form was Ludovic Morlot who conducted vigorously from the pit, giving freedom to the more sensitive parts and allowing soloists to showcase themselves." Luxemburger Wort

Concert 16 September 2013

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

"The Slavic-accented, dance-centric bonbons (two of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances, Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances, three of Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, and Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances, plus the Toccata of Bulgarian composer Pancho Vladigerov) demonstrated the orchestra is opening the season in a state of fairly robust health. Morlot and his players demonstrated rapport and spirit in these colorful works, with associate conductor Stilian Kirov taking over for the Vladigerov. The chorale, prepared by Joseph Crnko, sounded overpowering and occasionally a bit unsteady in the Borodin." Seattle 16 November 2013 - Melinda Bargreen

Concert 27 June 2013

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

[For Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde]
"It was a remarkable performance. A listener didn’t have to know the story to feel the moods portrayed — the yearning, the emotions, the hopes and the sadness in Morlot’s expansive, rich interpretation." Seattle Times 28 June 2013

Britten's War Requiem

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

"The work itself is an artistic statement of a scope so ambitious and a character so profound that, as the London Times critic William Mann remarked after its premiere in 1962, "every performance it is given ought to be a momentous occasion." Such, indeed, this performance conducted by Ludovic Morlot certainly was. Indeed, it was an interpretation of such triumphant splendor as to take me right back to the overwhelming impact the work had on me when I listened on the radio to its world premiere at the consecration of the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral all of 51 years ago." Seattle Times 14 Jun 2013

MOZART

Cosi fan Tutte

La Monnaie

"he knew instinctively how to bring out the rhythm, energy and spirit needed for this light and captivating Cosi fan Tutte" Le Vif

Messiaen Turangalila Symphony

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

"With so much going on in the piece, the trick is to keep the multiple layers and rhythms intelligible. Morlot made intricate, crystalline sense of it all."

Seattle Times 1 Feb 2013

Concert 3 January 2013

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

"The Rachmaninov Second can sound muddy and cluttered when the pianist and the orchestra battle for supremacy in this dense, passionate score. Morlot and the orchestra concentrated instead on transparency as well as power, letting Grosvenor’s solo part shine through, and making his dialogues with various orchestral soloists much more effective." Seattle Times 4 January 2013

Concert 8 November 2012

La Monnaie Orchestra

"It was all smiles from 'his' orchestra on Thursday evening, with Ludovic Morlot, new Chief Conductor of La Monnaie. Calm baton, energetic but precise, simple gestures creating an ultimate opening sound."

Le Soir, 10 November 2012

Concert 21 September 2012

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

That effect, happily, was to be felt throughout an enterprising and well-balanced program. The Sixth Symphony is quite possibly the Bohemian composer’s [Martinu's] greatest work. For listeners encountering it for the first time, Ludovic Morlot’s impeccably paced and warmly expressive performance must have made an ideal introduction... However much Pines may indulge Respighi’s—and our—taste for the colorful and the picturesque, its deeper strength lies in its refusal to evade sterner matters. Here, by and large, is a stirring rather than merely pretty or anecdotal vision of an empire’s grandeur, and it was realized with thrilling immediacy by Morlot and the orchestra. Seen and Heard International 27 September 2012
Morlot conducted with exuberance and obvious enjoyment, managing even in this score [Respighi's Pines of Rome] to create some subtlety in the shaping of the dynamics, and reining in the players for some passages of hushed, tranquil beauty. Seattle Times September 21 2012

Concert 15 September 2012

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

"Both here and in the Symphonic Dances from Bernstein’s West Side Story at the end of the program, Ludovic Morlot, inaugurating his second season as the Seattle Symphony’s music director, crafted a very convincing impression of an American conductor, facilitating his players’ realization of the music’s often teasing rhythms as if he had them in his very bones." Seen and Heard International 20 September 2012

Concert 17 July 2012

Hollywood Bowl, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra

"Each half of the program opened with the Weber overtures ("Der Freischütz" and "Oberon"), and Morlot made them brilliantly electric. The conductor, unusually for the Bowl, divided the violins and put the basses on his left...The result was
transparency and a tactile sound" LA Times 18 July 2012

Arpeghis

Shot in the Dark

International Contemporary Ensemble

"Guest conductor Ludovic Morlot, music director of the Seattle Symphony, led the ICE instrumentalists in a score that changed direction, color and tone relentlessly..."Shot in the Dark" settled on no particular musical vocabulary for very long. Conductor Morlot kept vocalist and instrumentalists in sync, no small feat." Chicago Tribune, 27 May 2012

Seattle Symphony

New York Times

"The ranks of West Coast music directors now include Ludovic Morlot, who in his first season at the Seattle Symphony has galvanized the orchestra and the city with his charismatic leadership and inventive programming." New York Times, March 2012

Concert: January 2012

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin

"37-year-old Frenchman dominated the whole evening with finesse and elegance, along with warmth and depth of sound." Der Tagesspiegel Berlin, 20 January 2012

Concert: January 2012

Seattle Symphony

"Music director Ludovic Morlot's interpretation of "Der Freischütz" was more classical and poetic...In the Bruch, Morlot was an exemplary conductor, keeping the orchestra closely with the soloist"

Seattle Times, 11 January 2012

RAVEL

Daphnis and Chloe

Boston Symphony Orchestra

"Morlot conducted a crack performance...The “Daphnis” suite dazzled. The winds, chirping like birds and providing the splashing sounds of nymphs in frolic, were extraordinary. The suave strings were more French than the French. The Boston brass presented a magical power of boldness in containment." Los Angeles Times, 11 December 2011

Concert: November 2011

Boston Symphony Orchestra

"Morlot put his own stamp on the music, bringing brisk, sharp-edged energy...the “Danse générale’’ [Daphnis et Chloe] was especially tight, razor-sharp accents, a dazzlingly precise laser show. The Mahler, too, excelled in extroversion, the klezmer accents in the third movement volubly rich, the finale barreling toward major-key triumph with assertive hedonism." The Boston Globe, 25 November 2011

Berlioz

Roman Carnival Overture

Boston Symphony Orchestra

"The night began with Berlioz’s 'Roman Carnival' Overture, which Morlot brought vigorously charging out of the gate, drawing plenty of sparkling playing from the orchestra, precise yet never fussy."

The Boston Globe, 18 November 2011

Stravinsky

Rite of Spring

Seattle Symphony

"the conductor either gets it right or he doesn't, and Morlot, on Thursday, got it triumphantly right. This was a reading of the lithe, refreshingly unpompous variety!" Seattle Times, 30 September 2011

Beethoven

Symphony No 3

Seattle Symphony

"Morlot led a high-energy reading of the "Eroica," full of big dynamic contrasts, beautiful phrasing and carefully characterized musical gestures. The orchestra gave him a big-hearted performance, with playing at a level that augurs for a thrilling season to come.""Morlot led a high-energy reading of the "Eroica," full of big dynamic contrasts, beautiful phrasing and carefully characterized musical gestures. The orchestra gave him a big-hearted performance, with playing at a level that augurs for a thrilling season to come." Seattle Times, 23 September 2011

DUTILLEUX

Symphony No 2

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

"Morlot was well inside this fascinating score, coordinating the two groups seamlessly while bringing out its jazzy syncopations, astringent, Stravinskyan harmonies and coloristic subtleties of scoring." The Chicago Tribune, 20 May 2011

Concert: April 2011

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

"The Frenchman swept the orchestra to great heights. Morlot wasn't intimidated by the fact that he was working with a top orchestra, indeed he challenged them. The orchestra played with greater flexibility, adventure and boldness than usual. The strings flourished especially." De Volkskrant, 9 April 2011

Poulenc

Les Mamelles de Tirésias

Opera de Lyon

"With such lavish scenery and video projections on stage one might worry that the music would be eclipsed. This however did not happen thanks to the direction of Ludovic Morlot who guided the spirited orchestra." Opera, 7th December 2010

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Recordings

FAURE

Masques et bergamasques
Fantaisie for Flute / orch. Talmi
Pelléas et Mélisande Suite 
Berceuse for Violin and Orchestra
Élégie for Cello and Orchestra
Dolly / orch. Rabaud
Pavane 
  
Demarre McGill, flute
Alexander Velinzon, violin
Efe Baltacıgil, cello
Seattle Symphony Chorale
Seattle Symphony Media (SSM1004)

BRUNEAU Requiem

La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra
Vlaams Radio Koor 
Children Chorus of La Monnaie / De Munt 
Mireille Delunsch, soprano
Nora Gubisch, mezzo-soprano
Edgaras Montvidas, tenor
Jérôme Varnier, bass 
Cypres Records