Ludovic Morlot

Music Director, Seattle Symphony

© Lisa-Marie Mazzucco


Ludovic Morlot has been Music Director of the Seattle Symphony since 2011. During the 2018/19 season they will focusing particularly on the music of Debussy, and works by composers he influenced or that influenced him. Amongst others, newly commissioned works this season are Caroline Shaw’s Piano Concerto and the US premiere of Pascal Dusapin’s At Swim-Two-Birds. The orchestra have many successful recordings, which have won two Grammy Awards.

This season, Ludovic’s guest engagements include the Houston, Detroit, Melbourne and Bamberg Symphony Orchestras, and the Netherlands Radio, BBC and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestras. In 2018 his summer festival appearances included the BBC Proms and Edinburgh Festival (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra), the Caramoor Festival (Orchestra of St Luke’s), the Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra) and the Aspen Music Festival.

He also has a particularly strong connection with the Boston Symphony Orchestra having been the Seiji Ozawa Fellowship Conductor in 2001 at Tanglewood and subsequently appointed assistant conductor for the orchestra (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.

Guest engagements have included the Berliner Philharmoniker, New York Philharmonic, National Youth Orchestra of China, Royal Concertgebouw, Czech Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Budapest Festival, Helsinki Philharmonic, and Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestras. Ludovic served as conductor in residence with the Orchestre National de Lyon under David Robertson (2002-04) and was Chief Conductor of La Monnaie (2012-2014).

Ludovic is Chair of Orchestral Conducting Studies at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle.


Video & Audio

Performance Schedule

From The Green Room

Online Performances



Interview with Mike McCready

Interview for Tutti Magazine

Interview with Nouveau Monde Magazine

Interview about Morlot and Dutilleux; three-disc box set out in August 2016


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    03 Aug 18 Sydney Symphony Orchestra
    Sydney Opera House

    “The SSO were in wonderful form under the energetic and engaging Morlot.”

    Steve Moffatt, The Daily Telegraph, August 2018

    “Ludovic Morlot and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra produced iridescent colours and biting flamenco-inspired rhythms. [de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain]”

    Murray Black, The Australian, August 2018

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    30 Jun 18 Caramoor Festival Orchestra of St. Luke's

    “The conductor Ludovic Morlot, departing next year as the music director of the thriving Seattle Symphony, began with a bracing account of Smetana’s “Dance of the Comedians.”… an exciting performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.”

    Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, July 2018

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    06 Jun 18 George Perle: Orchestral Music CD Bridge Records

    “American cellist Jay Campbell is expressive and assured, conductor Ludovic Morlot balances all wonderfully, and the Seattle Symphony shines. The clever Dance Fantasy (1986) rounds off this remarkable disc.”

    Roger Knox, The Whole Note, June 2018

    “Listen, for instance, to the way in which he [Morlot] gives the fifth of the Six Bagatelles (composed in 1965) ample time to breathe; to find and make its own way as it develops… for Morlot and the Orchestra to bring out what is distinctive to Perle yet reflect his homage is a triumph.”

    Mark Sealey, Musicweb International, June 2018

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    24 May 18 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    Symphony Hall

    “Prokofiev’s irresistible Fifth Symphony made a spectacular conclusion. Morlot built its long reflective passages patiently, and released the music’s balletic subtext colourfully.”

    Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post, 24 May 2018

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    09 Apr 18 John Luther Adams Become Desert Seattle Symphony
    Zellerbach Hall

    “Morlot controlled his huge performing forces with subdued fervour, here and in a follow-up reading of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2, notable for its granitic pacing and attention to instrumental detail. The low strings in particular wanted nothing in expressive eloquence. Morlot completes his eight-year contract in Seattle in mid-2019. He will not be easily replaced.”

    Allan Ulrich, Financial Times, 9 April 2018

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    30 Mar 18 John Luther Adams Become Desert Seattle Symphony
    Benaroya Hall

    “Mr. Morlot’s affection for the work’s expressive richness came through clearly. Though the piece doesn’t advertise its complexity, it’s easy to imagine a performance of such airily arranged music seeming scattered or listless. The Seattle Symphony never sounded at a loss, though. The audience allowed the piece’s concluding return toward spareness to ring out fully before charging in with enthusiastic applause.”

    Seth Colter Walls, The New York Times, 30 March 2018

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    22 Mar 18 Seattle Symphony
    Benaroya Hall

    “Crammed with beautiful melodies, picturesque episodes and grand statements, the Second Symphony challenges every section of the orchestra to excel individually and collectively…In the last few bars of the Sibelius symphony, when the minor key transforms into the major and it sounds as if the sun has come out, the orchestra played exultantly enough to remind even the most jaded audience member: This is why we go to concerts and don’t just sit at home in front of the stereo speakers.”
    Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times, 23 March 2018

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    19 Oct 17 Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    Atlanta Symphony Hall

    “Morlot and the ASO rounded out the program with a sure-fire winner, Maurice Ravel’s “La Valse,” giving the composer’s rambunctious, off-center take on the ballroom dance a particularly exhilarating, exuberant rendering that deservedly brought the house to its feet.”
    Mark Gresham, ArtsATL, 20 October 2017

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    23 Jul 17 National Youth Orchestra of China
    Carnegie Hall

    “… Mr. Morlot drew a vibrant account of Dvorak’s New World Symphony from the well-prepared players, with full-bodied string tone, folkloric charm and lots of brio.”
    Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, 23 July 2017

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    25 Jun 17 RAVEL & DE FALLA CD release

    BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Steven Osborne (piano), Hyperion Records

    “The French conductor brings stylistic flair to Ravel’s bluesy melodies, and the orchestra and Osborne revel in the cascading chords and cakewalky rhythmic piquancy of the D major’s central section.”
    The Sunday Times, Album of the week, 25 June 2017

    “I would go so far as to suggest that this is the finest modern recording of both concertos… Osborne and Morlot catch a much more vivid and nicely drawn Iberian feel to the music. This is the one to have.”
    ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆ International Piano, September – October 2017

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    05 Jan 17 Seattle Symphony
    Benaroya Hall

    “Morlot made its themes of a divine cosmic resonance spellbinding [MESSIAEN Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine]. He drew out Messiaen’s potent contrasts of meter-defying melody and hectic rhythmic activity, of wild wonder and blissful contemplation. A very different cosmos might have come into view with a more old-fashioned reading of Beethoven’s Ninth. But … Morlot elicited a revelatory transparency of texture in the first movement. It illuminated many a fresh angle in Beethoven’s transformation of his material.”
    Thomas May, The Seattle Times, 6th January 2017

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    13 Sep 16 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

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    28 Oct 16 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

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    07 Oct 16 DUTILLEUX (Vol. 3) CD Release Seattle Symphony

    “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

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    09 Jun 16 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

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    02 Jun 16 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

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    05 Jun 16 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

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    19 May 16 CBSO
    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

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    21 Apr 16 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

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    01 Feb 16 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, 2 February 2016

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    08 Jan 16 IVES Symphony No. 3 & No. 4 CD Release Seattle Symphony

    “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, 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, 9 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

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    21 Jan 16 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

Seattle Symphony

Ludovic Morlot is Music Director of Seattle Symphony, a position he has held since 2011.

During the 2017/18 season they will particularly focus on the music of Berlioz, Stravinsky and Bernstein. In addition, they will be presenting some exciting new works by John Luther Adams, Alexandra Gardner, David Lang and Andrew Norman.

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.