French conductor Ludovic Morlot has been named the new music director for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra by the orchestra’s board of directors. Morlot replaces Gerard Schwarz, who will retain the post of Conductor Laureate, and begins his tenure with the orchestra in the 2011/2012 season.
“I am thrilled and grateful to be given this wonderful opportunity to lead the Seattle Symphony into a new era,” remarked Morlot. “I am eager to share many musical moments and emotions with the Orchestra and its faithful audience, and to meet new concertgoers in the beautiful Benaroya Hall. My family and I feel privileged that we will soon become part of the Seattle community.”
The 36-year-old Morlot made his debut with the Seattle Symphony in October 2009, when he was praised by Seattle Times critic Melinda Bargreen for his “quick, snappy gestures and mercurial intensity [that] seemed to energize the orchestra.” He was re-engaged later this season as substitute for Roberto Abbado, and his performance encouraged the orchestra’s music director search committee to recommend him.
Morlot has impressed critics at his performances with the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony, as well as other major orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Ensemble Intercontemporain. He and his family live in Lyon, France, and will move to Seattle in the future.
Schwarz, who has conducted the SSO for 26 years, will hand over the baton at the end of the upcoming season. “I wish Mr. Morlot tremendous success,” said Schwarz. “I hope that this wonderful Orchestra and community will bring him the joy that they have brought me.”